Park equity must be focus of COVID-19 recovery

As restaurants, movie theaters, and gyms closed their doors over the past year, local park use increased. It’s easy to understand why. Parks, trails, and open space provided locked-down and stressed-out families with rare opportunities to exercise, get some fresh air, and connect with nature.  As the pandemic dragged on, Americans also used parks creatively to help with COVID-19 response, distributing masks, providing COVID testing, most recently, providing vaccinations. 

However, a new discovery about parks made by the Trust for Public Land and reported in our nonprofit’s annual ParkScore® index found that park space is not distributed equitably. Across all cities evaluated by the ParkScore index, residents in neighborhoods where most people identify as people of color have access to 44 percent less park space per person than residents in neighborhoods that are predominantly white. Residents in low-income neighborhoods have access to 42 percent less park space than residents in high-income neighborhoods.  

It isn’t right, and it isn’t fair.Every month CREDO Mobile gives $150,000 to progressive causes. This month we need you to use your outside voice for The Trust for Public Land! Your vote can help create parks, playgrounds, trails, and protect natural spaces. With one click you can help ensure that all people have access to the health benefits and climate solutions that nature provides.  

The 2021 ParkScore index quantified park inequity for the first time, but the inequities themselves have existed for decades, caused by dozens of policy decisions, including redlining, discriminatory zoning, and much more. That’s why we’re working with on-the-ground community members and park advocates to make a more equitable park system as part of the pandemic recovery.  

We can emerge from this terrible year a fairer, stronger, and more equitable place. The Trust for Public Land is working hard to promote park equity, but we need your help. Please vote for us today.