The Challenge: A recent study shows that children living closer to recreational programs and parkland had much lower rates of obesity than children who lived further away. The findings also indicate that children living in lower-income neighborhoods or communities of color in the Los Angeles region have less access to parks and recreational resources than children from more affluent and White neighborhoods.
Make an impact: There are several strategies that policy makers, advocates, and planners can take to increase access to parks and recreation resources in underserved communities, such as acquiring and transforming small parcels of land in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color.
What the findings are about: This policy brief highlights research findings showing that low-income neighborhoods and communities of color have far fewer parks and recreational facilities than more affluent, White communities. The brief also provides policy recommendations for increasing park equity.
Key Findings and Recommendations:
Latinos, African Americans, and lower-income people are more likely to live in areas that offer fewer park acres per person. Areas with a higher density of children are also likelier to have fewer park acres per person.
Strategies that can ensure the equitable distribution of parks and recreation resources include promoting funding opportunities for park-poor communities; supporting parks, trails, recreation facilities and programs in disadvantaged neighborhoods; and establishing collaborations between public-sector organizations and the academic community to translate promising new research into practice.
University of California, Berkeley. Disparities in Park Space by Race and Income Policy Brief. July 2011. University of California Regents.