Parks Are Part of Our Healthcare System

Parks Are Part of Our Healthcare System

Reposted from The DIRT

“Parks are a part of our healthcare system,” said Dr. Daphne Miller, a professor of family and community medicine, University of California, San Francisco, at the Greater & Greener: Reimagining Parks for 21st Century Cities, a conference held last year in New York City. Researchers are starting to gather the data to support what every landscape architect already knows. Green spaces are crucial to quality of life, and can also help solving hypertension, anxiety, depression, diabetes — “the diseases of indoor living.” The more time someone spends outdoors, the less likely they are to suffer from mental or physical disorders. And there’s good news for neighborhood parks:

To measure the impact of new parks on the activity levels of people using these facilities, Dr. Deborah Cohen, senior natural scientist at RAND, did a before and after study. She examined the activity levels of residents before three pocket parks came into low-income, high-crime areas in Los Angeles and then after. These are tiny parks (less than half an acre), mainly playgrounds, which aren’t staffed. She found that for two of the new parks, “the parks were better used than the larger parks serving larger areas.” People were “more likely to walk to the smaller neighborhood parks, which were perceived to be safer than the larger neighborhood park.”

Another related study looks at the significance of program:

Looking at 50 parks in a randomized survey, Cohen went on to examine the impact of outreach or programs. One “control group” of parks didn’t receive any money. Another set was given $4,000 to do signage, courses, activities, really anything they want. The “control parks saw user levels fall, while the intervention parks saw increased users.”… Her conclusion: “There’s lots of competition for leisure time. Parks need to compete. That attention requires a modest investment”…

You can read the full article HERE.

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