What Can Your Park Be?

Everyone deserves to live close to a great park — do you have one? When you go to your neighborhood park, does it feel safe, clean, and vibrant? For many Americans, there is an inequitable need, not just for more park space, but for a park that benefits their neighborhood’s health, resilience, and identity. Parks departments and other local organizations across the country can help you get the park your community deserves. This article offers some ideas for park amenities your community deserves. 

Paul Habans Charter Green Schoolyard

Climate solutions

Parks can be part of the climate solution. They protect people from climate hazards like extreme heat and flooding and they can even absorb carbon from the atmosphere. Learn more from our partners.
Park story: Paul Habans Charter Green Schoolyard

Ask for:
  • Green infrastructure: Water-smart landscaping features and permeable surfaces can capture stormwater, improving water quality and minimizing flooding risk.
  • Tree canopy: Trees clean the air, absorb carbon from the atmosphere, and reduce urban heat islands by acting as a cooling oasis.
  • Trails: Connecting neighborhoods through trails and greenways provides alternative transportation uses like running and biking which reduces greenhouse gas emissions

Boeddeker Park. A bird's eye view of the park, complete with blue basketball court, green space and playground, surrounded by city buildings.

Health & wellness:

Neighborhoods play a key role in our health status. Access to high quality parks provides the opportunity for healthier, safer, happier neighborhoods. Learn more from our partners.
Park Story: Boeddeker Park

Ask for:
  • Walking path with trees: More than any other natural feature, access to trees has a remarkable impact on reduced stress levels.
  • Active recreation zones: Include designs that encourage people to explore active living at all ages, such as fitness equipment, walking paths, or even a rock wall!
  • Community garden: Increase access to healthy produce, agricultural awareness, and economic resilience with a community garden.
  • Programming and events: Parks departments can be wonderful partners for hosting programs and events that will get neighbors out and active in parks.

08/20/2016 World photo/Mike Bonnicksen.Danzas Multiculturales entertain the crowd at the community wellness festival held Saturday at at Kiwanis Methow Park, in Wenatchee. The Trust for Public Land hosted the event and invited community members to share t

Image credit Mike Bonnicksen

Equitable development:

Well-resourced neighborhoods tend to have more parks and greenspace, and it takes intentionality to meet park needs equitably. Learn more from our partners.
Park story: Kiwanis Methow Park

Ask for:
  • Community engagement: Who knows what the community needs better than the community? Build a coalition of neighbors for meaningful involvement in the park system.
  • Local arts and culture: Park features like murals, pavilions, and sculptures that celebrate local identity and neighborhood history can foster a sense of ownership and belonging.
  • Park needs assessment: Identifying where parks are most needed can help you to  advocate for additional park investment.