December 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 19

RESEARCH
Combating Park Access Inequity
By Melissa May and Michele White
P
arks and public open spaces promote physical activity, improve
mental well-being and foster social connections. Parks provide
access to low-cost or no-cost physical activities, like walking, hiking
and biking, which help prevent increasingly common health
conditions, such as obesity, anxiety, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Unfortunately, not every person lives within walking or rolling distance of
a park. The access gap not only prevents community members from enjoying
all that parks offer, but also may lead to inequitable health disparities.
In prior Research columns, we celebrated
the work NRPA has supported
with the Urban Institute, which
has been developing resources that
help professionals and advocates use
economics to make a health-based
case for parks. The initiative included
collaboration with an advisory committee
of park and recreation professionals
and health and equity experts
to create an adaptable and practical
tool that will provide an economic
value of the health impacts of parks.
NRPA-funded efforts with the Urban
Institute resulted in the first two resources
(tinyurl.com/yrar8s43):
* The Health Benefits of Parks and
Their Economic Impacts: A Review
of the Literature, which examines
academic and nongovernmental
organization research findings that
show the benefits of parks and
open spaces across four dimensions
of health - physical, mental, social
and environmental - and the
economic impacts.
* A Framework for Assessing Equitable
Health Outcomes of Parks,
which lays out how parks promote
greater well-being, focusing
on demonstrating the economic
value of these benefits. The
framework
follows five
20 Parks & Recreation | DECEMBER 2 0 2 3
steps:
(1) identify park characteristics,
(2) examine who has access, (3)
select and measure health outcomes,
(4) estimate economic
benefits, and (5) drive equity
through action steps.
The latest resource informed by
resources with the Urban Institute
funded by NRPA is The Economic
Value of Parks' Health & Wellness
Benefits: Narrowing Park Access Inequity
(tinyurl.com/5n8uac9b). Released
earlier this fall, this online
tool provides park and recreation
professionals and advocates with
an easy-to-understand method for
communicating the economic benefits
that can result from eliminating
inequitable park access and the associated
improved health outcomes.
The tool combines publicly available
data (including that from the Trust
for Public Land's ParkServe) with a
straightforward methodology.
As a result, you can estimate the annual
health benefits in dollars should
a city or town ensure every community
member lives within walking or
rolling distance of a park or other
public open space. These data are
part of the robust case for greater and
more sustainable park and recreation
funding. The tool has data from more
than 11,000 communities across the
United States.
| PARK S ANDRECRE AT ION . OR G
The resource is easy to use. Simply
enter your city or town name
into the tool to learn:
* The total percentage of residents
residing within a 10-minute walk
of a park
* The percentage of residents residing
within a 10-minute walk
of a park, broken down by race
and ethnicity
* The number of residents who do
not have access to a park within
a 10-minute walk
* The reduced annual healthcare
expenses should the city or town
ensure that every resident has
walkable access to a park
You can turn the findings into an
infographic that you can include in
a presentation or post on your agency's
website. In addition, NRPA
developed a communication guide
to help you craft your community's
park and recreation story.
The new online tool, combined
with the reports, provides data from
a health and wellness perspective,
demonstrating that parks and recreation
is essential. Combined with
NRPA's The Economic Value of Parks
reports and Bureau of Economic
Analysis national studies on the outdoor
recreation economy, park and
recreation professionals and advocates
have a wealth of data that make
the case for greater and more sustainable
funding. Share with us how you
are using these resources to support
parks and recreation.
Melissa May is Senior Research Manager
at NRPA (mmay@nrpa.org). Michele
White is Senior Program Manager of
Conservation at NRPA (mwhite@nrpa.org).
http://tinyurl.com/5n8uac9b http://tinyurl.com/yrar8s43

December 2023 - Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of December 2023 - Parks & Recreation

December 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 1
December 2023 - Parks & Recreation - Intro
December 2023 - Parks & Recreation - Cover1
December 2023 - Parks & Recreation - Cover2
December 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 1
December 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 2
December 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 3
December 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 4
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December 2023 - Parks & Recreation - Cover3
December 2023 - Parks & Recreation - Cover4
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2021
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