Kalamazoo Community Green Mapping Project

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Kalamazoo Community Group, Michigan
Photo credit: 
Scott Rolfson

Kalamazoo was one of three Michigan cities chosen to become a national demonstration model by the nonprofit Children and Nature Network's (C&NN) Community Action Guide. When the project coordinator began gathering baseline data to tell the story of the city's most underserved children, she could find no comprehensive map showing all city, county and school parks, playgrounds, and green spaces. She needed this tool to communicate with potential partners, stakeholders, and decision-makers and contacted The Trust for Public Land for help.

Employing cutting-edge Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping technology, TPL's Community Green Mapping Project showed that almost 7,000 children within Kalamazoo City and more than 28,000 outside the city limits do not live within a 10-minute walk of publicly accessible play areas, and identified the high priority target areas for the NCLI Initiative's strategic planning. Being able to articulate the city's needs led to partnerships with universities, city planners, and other agencies and organizations.

The City of Kalamazoo's Economic Development Department used the map to propose green space along a creek where development was planned, and downtown Kalamazoo, Inc. considered introducing more green space into its strategic plan after seeing the mapping results. In another outcome, more than fifty pediatricians pledged to start writing prescriptions to young patients for outdoor play as preventive medicine.

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