Park Bench Chat

Park Bench Chat: ParkScore index unveiling – A new look at park equity across America

The Trust for Public Land ParkScore® index is the national gold-standard comparison of park systems across the largest 100 cities in the United States. 

This special edition Park Bench Chat unveiled the new rankings and, provided a data-driven look at park equity across America’s largest cities, highlighting the extent of disparities in park space along racial and economic lines.

When: Thursday, May 27 at 8:30 a.m. PT/11:30 a.m. ET

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More details about our conversation: 

President and CEO Diane Regas was joined in conversation with Trust for Public Land experts including Director of Innovation and Strategy Linda Hwang, Equity Director Ronda Chapman, Director of Community Health Sadiya Muqueeth, and Climate Program Director Brendan Shane

Inspired by the national awakening on racial justice and The Trust for Public Land’s longstanding commitment to equitable park access and quality, the 2021 ParkScore® index includes measures of park equity for the first time in the study’s ten-year history. The panel discussed this year’s rankings, which highlight deep disparities along racial and economic lines; ways parks and recreation departments stepped up to provide critical community infrastructure during the pandemic; and how, despite their vital health and climate benefits, park systems nationwide are under serious threat, facing years of deferred maintenance and underinvestment. They also shared how we can quickly turn this around and bring parks and green space to communities where they are needed most.  

Diane Regas
President and CEO of The Trust for Public Land

An internationally recognized conservation leader, Diane Regas joined The Trust for Public Land in the spring of 2018 as president and CEO. Prior to The Trust for Public Land, Diane worked for more than a decade at Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), most recently as executive director, where she helped EDF advance solutions that promote prosperity for all people and for the planet. She guided work to improve ocean health, stabilize the climate, reduce toxins in everyday products, and promote collaboration and partnerships. Prior to EDF, Diane served at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, working under both Democratic and Republican administrations as the top civil servant protecting our nation’s rivers, lakes, and bays.  Diane earned her A.B., M.S. in energy and resources, and J.D. at the University of California, Berkeley. 

Diane enjoys hiking, cycling, diving, camping, and spending time in nature with her husband, children, and granddaugter. 

Brendan Shane
Climate director

Brendan Shane is climate director at The Trust for Public Land, leading efforts to leverage the power of parks and land protection to build more climate-resilient communities. The Trust for Public Land’s climate program works nationwide with communities of all sizes, across a wide range of landscapes, to address the increasingly dangerous impacts of climate change through natural and nature-based practices.

Brendan previously served as regional director for North America and Deadline 2020 program director for C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, as chief of policy and sustainability for the District of Columbia Government, and environmental director for the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation. He is a watershed hydrologist and attorney, with a BA in government from Franklin & Marshall College, MS in geology from the University of Maryland, and JD from the Georgetown University Law Center.


Linda Hwang
Director, strategy and innovation

Linda is director of strategy and innovation at The Trust for Public Land. She has been with The Trust for Public Land since 2016. She is responsible for developing long-term strategy and direction for the research and innovation team, providing high-level leadership, and anticipating, sensing, and monitoring trends in the broader parks, conservation, equity, and technology spaces. She works in partnership with The Trust for Public Land’s 25+ field offices, content experts, and policy and advocacy teams to develop growth initiatives that enable increased impact and leads the exploration and implementation of new parks and conservation data opportunities for the organization. She previously worked with all of TPL’s field offices to develop state-focused five-year strategic plans. Prior to this, Linda was a partner at a start-up that developed customized decision-support tools that quantify ecosystem services for clients such as The Nature Conservancy, The Dow Chemical Company, and Environmental Defense Fund. She was also at Business for Social Responsibility, where she built and led advisory services program offerings on corporate water strategy and ecosystem services strategies for Fortune 500 companies. Linda has a BA in Environmental Economics from the University of Michigan, an MPhil in Development Studies and Social Transformation from the University of Cape Town, and an MBA from the University of Michigan.

Ronda Chapman
Equity director

Ronda Chapman is equity director at The Trust for Public Land where she works to bring parks and nature to the places, people, and communities that can most benefit as a matter of health, equity, and justice. She has spent two decades leading efforts on climate resilience, water infrastructure and equity, renewable energy, and waste management for municipal, higher education, and nonprofit organizations.

Prior to joining The Trust for Public Land, Ronda served as a senior associate for PolicyLink, where she was responsible for building out and integrating the organization’s national water equity and climate resilience portfolios in close concert with frontline organizers, community-based organizations, and conservation organizations. She also served as commissioner for the Commission on Climate Change and Resilience for the District of Columbia and as the executive director for Groundwork D.C.

As a skilled facilitator, Ronda derives great joy convening leaders who are committed to the possibilities of equitable communities rooted in healing. An avid outdoor enthusiast, Ronda enjoys recreating outside whenever possible.

Sadiya Muqueeth
DrPH, MPH director of community health

Sadiya Muqueeth is the director of community health at the Trust for Public Land where she advances the built environment and nature as underutilized tools for community health. She joined the organization in December 2019 from CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, where she was an evaluation strategist in community affairs, advancing work in the company’s philanthropic portfolio around social determinants of health. As a former CDC Public Health Prevention Service Fellow, she worked on strengthening public health systems globally and on the relationship between urban design and health impacts domestically. She was then assigned to lead a task force on preventing substance exposed pregnancies at the Baltimore City Health Department. A returned Peace Corps volunteer from Paraguay, Sadiya earned her BA in Public Health Studies from Johns Hopkins University, her MPH in Health Behavior from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and her DrPH from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.