Park for People—Philadelphia

William Dick Elementary School, Phildelphia
Photo credit: 
Jenna Stamm

For the 80 percent of Americans who live in cities and metropolitan areas, urban parks and green space offer the closest outdoor recreation and touch of nature. Green2015—an independent study commissioned by Philadelphia Parks & Recreation—found that one in eight Philadelphia residents does not have easy access to a public park or green space within a ten-minute walk from home. That's more than 200,000 people. The study also showed that parks are not equitably distributed: some neighborhoods have less access to green space than others.

As Philadelphia strives to become the greenest city in America, The Trust for Public Land continues to bea key partner in realizing this ambitious goal. To address the need for green space in Philadelphia's underserved neighborhoods, we launched Parks for People-Philadelphia. In partnership with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, the School District of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Water Department, other public partners, and local communities and organizations, we are creating outdoor green play spaces in schoolyards and recreation centers that need them most.

Launched in 2012, our first transformed sites were the William Dick Elementary School and Hank Gathers Recreation Center in North Philadelphia. Follow along on our William Dick Elementary School journal to see how we designed and built this new green schoolyard.

We continue to convert blacktop to greenspace at schools and city recreation centers throughout Philadelphia. We are currently working with communities near Jose Manuel Collazo Park, Conestoga Playground, 37th & Mt. Vernon Playground, and Lanier Park to renovate and re-design these neighborhood parks.


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Since 1972, The Trust for Public Land has protected more than 3 million acres and completed more than 5,200 park and conservation projects.