Public parks are valuable community assets. They provide a place for people to exercise and meet their neighbors. And they offer environmental benefits, such as cooling shade.
But Taj Schottland of the Trust for Public Land says not everyone has equal access to a park.
“One hundred million people … do not have a park within a 10-minute walk of home,” he says.
And data shows that parks in communities of color are about half the size of those in predominantly white areas, even though they serve more people on average.
So the Trust for Public Land created a website with maps of roughly 14,000 cities and towns.
Called ParkServe, it shows the location of existing parks, along with demographic data, and information about which areas suffer most from extreme heat. And it pinpoints where new parks could be created to address inequities and urban heat.
Cities can use the tool for planning, and residents can use it for advocacy.
“You can go into your parks and rec department or to your mayor or to city governance and be able to show … these are the hot spots in my community,” Schottland says. “These are the neighborhoods that lack adequate park space, and here are a couple locations where a new park is needed to provide all of these multiple benefits.”
Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media