Giving Compass’ Take:
• Here are three urban parks in U.S. cities that implement strategies to create more inclusive communities centered around green spaces.
• Why is inclusivity important in community development progress? What is the role of donors in terms of garnering capital for urban parks?
Parks and green spaces can tremendously benefit a community.
When the community is involved in planning and decisionmaking processes, park amenities can better mirror the community’s priorities.
Last month, the DC-based nonprofit Casey Trees held their annual Green Cities Summit, uniting arborists, urban planners, environmental advocates, and community groups in discussions around improving our green spaces. Based on my presentation at the summit, I outline three strategies to support inclusive park development—and three examples of these strategies in action:
- Giving the community ownership: “Pocket parks” in New York City’s Lower East Side The network of “pocket parks” in Alphabet City in New York’s Lower East Side offers an example of this opportunity. In the 1970s, economic recession led owners to abandon their properties, leaving vacant lots, piles of trash and rubble, and a forgotten neighborhood.
- Seeking community feedback: DC’s 11th Street Bridge Park Washington, DC’s 11th Street Bridge Park seeks to close the physical divide formed by the Anacostia River, along with the socioeconomic and racial divides between the neighborhoods of Capitol Hill and Anacostia.
- Offering equitable programming: San Francisco parks After a park is developed, the activities and features of the park can encourage or discourage community use, so it’s important to ensure programming is accessible, culturally appropriate, and something desired by residents.
For these kinds of partnerships to work, the community must have capacity to manage and maintain parks. Most capital for developing a park comes from traditional government mechanisms, such as tax credits and bonds. Communities typically can’t produce this level of funding, so a strong partnership between the government and the community is vital.
Read the full article about parks that help build inclusive communities by Kimberly Burrowes at Urban Institute.
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