Parks Serving Majority Nonwhite Neighborhoods are Disproportionately Smaller and More Crowded, New Data Shows

Access to parks is more important than ever as heat waves move through country during the pandemic

August 5, 2020
San Francisco, CA

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) today released a groundbreaking new report revealing that across the nation, parks serving primarily nonwhite populations are half the size of parks that serve majority white populations- and nearly five times as crowded.  

 

 “As cities struggle with extreme heat this summer, parks are one of the best ways for residents to find relief,” said Diane Regas, CEO and president of The Trust for Public Land. “During COVID-19, other options people turn to for safety during heat waves aren’t available, so parks are even more important. We all need and deserve parks—and all of the benefits they provide—all of the time. But during this period of compounded public health emergencies, unequal access to quality parks can be downright dangerous.” 

 

The lack of equal access to parks for communities of color is particularly urgent given this summer’s soaring temperatures. Each year, more than 65,000 people visit an emergency 
room for heat-related illness and more than 600 people die, according to federal statistics, and temperatures continue to rise across the country. Parks can help. Surfaces in shade can be up to 45 degrees cooler than those in sun—and trees can even lower indoor temperatures, especially when shade covers parts of rooftops and windows.  

 

New data in today’s report from The Trust for Public Land shows that areas within a 10-minute walk of a park can be as much as 6 degrees cooler than areas beyond that range. 100 million people in the U.S., including 28 million children, do not have access to a park within a 10-minute walk from home.  

 

The new report from The Trust for Public Land outlining this data and its implications for communities across the country can be found here:  

 

Maps and visualizations of the data are also available within the report and upon request.  

 

About The Trust for Public Land 

The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Millions of people live within a 10-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. To support The Trust for Public Land and share why nature matters to you, visit www.tpl.org. 

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