People for Parks is a 501(c)3 charitable organization that is working toward the day when every child in Los Angeles has a safe park within walking distance.
Los Angeles enjoys abundant natural beauty and diversity. Angelenos pride themselves on their outdoor lifestyle. Sadly that remains more a dream than a reality for far too many. Why you ask? Because Los Angeles is the most under-parked of the nation’s major cities.
In Boston and New York, over 90% of all kids live within walking distance of a park, compared to only 33% in LA. A good example is Koreatown, a bustling and densely populated community located a few miles west of Downtown. Park planners say the minimum adequate park space is about three acres for each 1,000 residents. Koreatown has less than .07 acres per 1,000. As the LA Times phrased it, “a space too small to fit a coffin.”
Ending the park deficit is not easy. Vacant land for parks is scarce and expensive - too expensive for limited municipal budgets. People for Parks has turned to a historically successful solution to address this dilemma. Most people over 40 remember playing on their local school yard after school and on weekends. But in recent years, in Los Angeles at least, local schools have become surrounded by high fences and locked gates. We’ve developed what we call Community School Parks or CSPs that take advantage of those existing school playgrounds. By transforming schools playgrounds into Community School Parks they become available for use during non-school hours, giving children and families the outdoor space they need to lead healthy lives. Opening school grounds and creating a CSP certainly makes kids and parents happy. But more importantly, a CSP makes the surrounding community healthier and expands its relationships with their school in ways that improve educational outcomes. In other words, a CSP enables our schools to better serve the whole child and truly become the heart and pride of neighborhoods. CSPs thus create a win-win solution for kids, their families and schools.
We can’t do this alone. We have received generous support from the Goldhirsh Foundation’s LA2050 program, Funders Network for Smart Growth and Sustainable Communities, Los Angeles Dodgers, Southern California Edison, Boeing, Los Angeles Dept. of Recreation and Parks, and many others. As a Los Angeles Promise Zone Partner we work other LAPZ partners, including the Trust for Public Lands and Los Angeles Beautification Team, with LAUSD and Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks and other private and public organizations to help us achieve our goals. We hope as you learn more about us, that you too will become a supporter and member of the People for Parks family.
Discover how we’re creating safe parks in underserved neighborhoods and learn how you can help make this happen all across Los Angeles.