PARKS AND RECREATION

Community parks and places of recreation account for community well being in three major ways:

Personal Health Benefits:

  • Increase rates of physical activity.
    • Leads to reductions in stress, lower blood pressure, lower body mass index, and increase in overall health. 1City structure, obesity, and environmental justice: An integrated analysis of physical and social barriers to walkable streets and park access2National Recreation and Park Association
  • Environmental Benefits
    • Green spaces provide ecological services like pollution abetment, urban cooling, and storm water runoff mitigation.
  • Social Benefits3The Trust for Public Land
    • Research indicates that green spaces can strengthen social ties by providing spaces for art, athletics, and events.
    • Decrease crime rates.

What It Means

Fewer resources translate to fewer green spaces and parks. National studies show that higher socio economic status communities had more likelihood of having parks and recreation facilities than lower socio economic neighborhoods.1Environmental Justice: A Framework for Collaboration Between the Public Health and Parks and Recreation Fields to Study Disparities in Physical Activity Even if some minority areas have access to parks, the quality, size, and safety of these parks play major roles in their usage rates. Consequently, with limited access to quality parks and recreation, many minority and low socioeconomic communities achieve poorer health outcomes than other communities.

Why It Matters

Parks help establish social and built infrastructure that reinforce the ability to recover from shocks to the community. Attachment to parks and green places plays a critical role in motivating communities to adapt to disaster, or unforeseen challenges in the city. 2Federal Emergency Management Agency Similarly, parks and spaces that are designed to mitigate the effects of natural disasters strengthen the resiliency of communities when faced with the challenge of extreme weather conditions. Ultimately, parks and recreation spaces increase community health while simultaneously increasing community resilience.

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National Resources: The Big Picture

Look here for statistics, analysis strategies, resources and best practices from across the country.

  • City Parks Alliance

  • National League of Cities – Community & Economic Development Federal Advocacy Committee

  • National Park Service

  • National Recreation and Park Association

  • Trust for Public Land

Arizona Resources: Local Spotlight

Looking to start, or engage in a conversation about Parks and Recreation and how you can contribute? Here are connectors, conveners, advocates and actors to bring to the table.

  • Arizona Parks and Recreation Association

  • Arizona State Parks and Trails

  • Environment Arizona

  • Grand Canyon National Park


#THISISHAPPENINGHERE:

KEY PROJECTS

Connect with Parks and Recreation efforts-in-progress, and the partners who are helping to make them happen:

Goodyear Community Health Park: A 129-acre project developed in collaboration between the City of Goodyear, Abrazo West Campus, Adelante Healthcare, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, John D. Kuhn Ventures and Hickman Farms. The park will be a hub that encourages active and healthy living, and will include a wellness center, wellness garden, multi-use trails, and an education center.

Maricopa County Shared Use Initiative: While many equate shared use with playgrounds, shared includes the creative reuse of vacant land, school classrooms or multipurpose rooms, gymnasiums, tracks and many other underutilized facilities.

Maricopa County Paved/Unpaved Bike Paths: An interactive bikepath map to assist bicyclists in safe travel.

FitPHX: An initiative led by Mayor Greg Stanton, Councilman Daniel Valenzuela and Olympic Gold Medalist Misty Hyman, with the goal of improving health and wellness in the region.

#THISNEEDSTOHAPPENHERE:

Signature Projects

Get a bird’s eye view of efforts from around the country that can be an inspiration and reference point for Arizona-based work:

Udall Foundation Parks in Focus: Program connecting middle school youth to nature through photography, environmental education, outdoor recreation, and creative expression.

Year of Healthy Communities Event Submission

Add your event to the Year of Healthy Communities calendar.

If you have questions, please contact Emily Kepner (ekepner@vitalysthealth.org or 602-774-3446).
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Year of Healthy Communities Event Submission

Add your event to the Year of Healthy Communities calendar.

If you have questions, please contact Emily Kepner (ekepner@vitalysthealth.org or 602-774-3446).
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