Trust for Public Land Launches Park Equity Accelerator

Cohort of cities to receive support to improve equitable park access for now and future generations

July 7, 2022
SAN FRANCISCO

Today, Trust for Public Land (TPL) launches the 10-Minute Walk®  Park Equity Accelerator, and announces an inaugural cohort of U.S. cities that will receive support to address long-standing barriers to outdoor equity. Established with The JPB Foundation's support in 2017, TPL’s 10-Minute Walk program currently works with over 300 mayors and city leaders across 48 states to close the park equity gap and address cities’ pressing needs around health, resilience, environmental protection, economic development and community building through parks. 

Over 100 million people in the U.S, including 28 million children, do not have access to a quality park within a 10-minute walk from home. In the largest U.S. cities, neighborhoods where most residents identify as people of color have access to an average of 43 percent less park space than predominantly white neighborhoods. Residents in low-income neighborhoods have access to 42 percent less park space than residents in high-income neighborhoods. 

“We know parks are vital for healthy communities, and that investment in parks is game-changing for resilient and thriving cities. However, years of policies and practices have resulted in underinvestment in neighborhoods, exacerbating this park equity gap, and denying millions the health, climate, and social benefits of close-to-home access to the outdoors,” said Bianca Shulaker, Senior Director of TPL’s 10-Minute Walk program. “Given the urgency and scale of this nature gap, we’re excited to be launching these partnerships with communities to advance policy and other systems changes that will accelerate equitable access to quality park spaces.”

TPL’s 10-Minute Walk Park Equity Accelerator is first of its kind, addressing the root causes of park inequities shared by many of the 10-Minute Walk program’s champion cities. The Accelerator will direct resources and provide technical assistance on solving park equity problems through policy change and innovation, with the support of TPL, cross-sector partners, and other experts. Accelerator cities will field-test policy ideas over a period of 12-15 months; TPL will use findings to support scaling the model to additional cities.

The first round of 10-Minute Walk Equity Accelerator Cities were selected on the basis of their commitment to advancing local park goals; readiness to explore, experiment with, and adopt new strategies or approaches; and potential to advance field understanding around a common issue or challenge. The cities, and their area of focus, include: 

  • Chattanooga, TN: Resourcing and sustaining high quality, inclusive community engagement and decision-making to maximize health, climate, community and equity outcomes in parks planning. 
  • Cleveland, OH: Developing a framework for strategic and equitable resource allocation for local parks, based on park quality.
  • Fort Worth, TX: Converting non-traditional spaces and developer owned lands into parks.
  • Lexington, KY: Integrating community priorities into the parks and green space planning process and connecting residents most impacted by park inequities with resources and capacity to advocate for policy change. 
  • Los Angeles, CA: Expanding the “toolkit” of policy and planning strategies to improve park access and ensure equitable access to the multiple benefits of parks, while mitigating unintended consequences that could impact the community.
  • Scranton, PA: Improving safe and accessible connectivity to local parks.

Mayors are innovators who recognize the vital role parks and green space can play in advancing health, climate, and neighborhood revitalization. They also acknowledge an urgent need to ensure that the many important benefits parks provide can be enjoyed equally among all residents. 

Thanks to generous support from The JPB Foundation, the 10-Minute Walk program will support these projects and bring technical assistance, financial resources, learning and evaluation, and final product development to participating cities. 
 
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About Trust for Public Land  
Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit that works to connect everyone to the benefits and joys of the outdoors. As a leader in equitable access to the outdoors, TPL works with communities to create parks and protect public land where they are needed most. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 3 million acres of public land, created more than 5,000 parks, trails, schoolyards, and iconic outdoor places, raised $84 billion in public funding for parks and public lands, and connected more than 9 million people to the outdoors. To learn more, visit tpl.org

About the 10-Minute Walk Program 
The 10-Minute Walk program, a Trust for Public Land award-winning national program, is engaging city leaders to close the park equity divide so that every resident has access to a quality park or green space within a 10-minute walk of home. The Campaign calls on U.S. mayors to address cities' most pressing needs around health, resilience, environmental protection, economic development, and community building through parks, and provides the resources needed to create and support parks that drive equitable, healthy, thriving communities. Through investigating and implementing high-impact policies and best practices for accelerating parks development, we aim to serve as the go-to group for closing the park equity divide. Read more here

About The JPB Foundation
The JPB Foundation works to advance opportunity and justice in the US by reducing poverty, sustaining and enriching the environment, and furthering breakthrough medical research. The JPB Foundation works alongside local leaders, national movements, and world-changing research organizations to make people’s lives better.