Investing in Equitable Urban Park Systems: Case Studies & Recommendations

Report | Equity
Investing in Equitable Urban Park Systems: Case Studies & Recommendations

City Parks Alliance is leading a national initiative to research, curate, and disseminate innovative strategies and models for funding parks and green infrastructure in low-income communities.

The seven case studies included in this document showcase cities that are leading the way in using data-driven approaches to ensure more equitable distribution of funding.

As a foundation to this work on funding and equity, City Parks Alliance commissioned Urban Institute to lead research about funding models and their equity considerations in U.S. cities of various sizes. The resulting report, Investing in Equitable Urban Park Systems: Emerging Strategies and Tools, was published in July 2019. It explores twenty funding models and their equity considerations in cities of various sizes across the country. Beyond new sources of funding, the research turned up a number of strategies that utilize an equity lens to shape funding decisions. City Parks Alliance has also partnered with Groundwork USA to identify a framework to help communities use these strategies successfully, to be released in 2020.

This work is made possible with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Equitable Funding Case Studies

City of Detroit Parks and Recreation

Detroit: Parks & Rec Improvement Plan

CASE STUDY

Learn about Detroit’s equity-focused park planning team, which used equity data to create an improvement plan for 40 neighborhood parks.

Pittsburgh Park Conservancy, Pittsburgh Parks and Recreation

Pittsburgh: Parks for All

CASE STUDY

An equitable investment plan was driven by data and coupled with residents’ input and priorities, resulting in the passage of a park tax referendum.

NYC Parks

New York City: Framework for an Equitable Future

CASE STUDY

NYC Parks analyzed capital investment data from the past 20 years and established long-term community partnerships that sustain investment in the city’s parks.

San Francisco Recreation & Parks, San Francisco Parks Alliance

San Francisco: Cal Enviro Screen 3.0

CASE STUDY

The approval of a park revenue measure drove the development of an equity analysis, which leveraged a statewide open data set provided by the EPA.

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation

Philadelphia: Rebuilding Community Infrastructure

CASE STUDY

Rebuild, funded by a sugary beverage tax, aims to revitalize neighborhood parks, recreation centers, playgrounds, and libraries.

Minneapolis Parks & Recreation

Minneapolis: Community Outreach Department and 20-Year Neighborhood Park Plan

CASE STUDY

Minneapolis’ Community Outreach Department uses data-driven racial and economic equity criteria to close park funding gaps and distribute funds.

Los Angeles County Regional Park and Open Space District (RPOSD)

LA County: Park Needs Assessment

CASE STUDY

Learn how a park needs assessment and an engaged community led to the passage of a new tax-based parks measure that provides funds to high-need.

RELATED RESOURCES

  • Case Study

    River Garden | Memphis, TN

    Memphis River Parks Partnership

    A once dormant park has transformed into a breathtaking public space on the riverfront of downtown Memphis.

  • Case Study

    Equity in the Fourth Bluff District

    Memphis River Parks Partnership

    Memphis River Parks Partnership discovers transferring park ownership to local non-profit greatly assists equity in developing urban parks.

  • Case Study

    Washington Area Bicyclist Association | Washington, DC

    Washington Area Bicyclists Association, Washington D.C

    The Washington Area of Bicyclists Association annual fundraising bike ride showcases urban environment and historic sites along the C&O Canal.