March 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 24

EQUITY

PHOTO COURTESY OF MITCHELL J. SILVER, FAICP

Parks will play an
essential role in the
economic recovery
of our nation and in
addressing inequities
in our cities.

The Path Forward: Equity at the
Center of City Park Investment
By Julie Waterman

T

he pandemic has given us a renewed understanding of the critical importance of parks and green spaces for our physical and mental health.
However, stark inequities in the availability of quality facilities continue to plague underserved communities and communities of color. Our
past failure to invest equitably has left millions without access to quality parks and
recreation opportunities. Looking ahead, parks will play an essential role in the
economic recovery of our nation and in addressing inequities in our cities.
Before the pandemic, cities across
the country had started to address
the park equity issue head on. To
address the backlog in park investments, a number of cities established data-driven equity criteria to
direct funds to neighborhoods most
in need of new parks and/or physical improvement and revitalized
programming in existing parks.
This past October, I moderated a
City Parks Alliance session during
the 2020 NRPA Annual Confer-

24	 Parks & Recreation

ence: A Virtual Experience called
" Data-Driven Strategies for Equitable Urban Park Investment. " I
was joined by panelists Jayne Miller, who has led equitable funding
initiatives in her leadership roles at
Pittsburgh Park Conservancy and
Minneapolis Park and Recreation
Board; Mitchell Silver, commissioner of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation; and
Meagan Elliott, chief parks planner
at Detroit Parks and Recreation.

| M A R C H 2 02 1 | PA R K S A N D R E C R E AT I O N .O R G

All three leaders were instrumental
in implementing equitable funding
strategies in their communities.
Under Miller's leadership, Minneapolis created the Community
Outreach Department and began
work on 17 initiatives in underserved
neighborhoods in Minneapolis. The
city then enacted a 20-Year Neighborhood Park Plan to close the funding gap through data-driven racial
and economic equity criteria. In
New York, Silver played a key role
in writing the " Framework for an Equitable Future " that invests in underresourced public parks in dense
neighborhoods with higher-thanaverage rates of poverty. In Detroit,
Elliott served on the Detroit Park
Planning Team that set the vision for
how the city would push for parks as



March 2021 - Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of March 2021 - Parks & Recreation

March 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover1
March 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover2
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March 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover3
March 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover4
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2021
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com