The City Project presents its policy report, Healthy Parks, Schools and Communities: Green Access and Equity in Orange County, to promote equal access to parks and recreation for all. Haga click aquí para ver este mensaje en Español.
“Kaiser Permanente understands that parks and green space play a vital role in the health and wellbeing of a community and its residents,” says Diana Bontá, Vice President of Public Affairs at Kaiser Permanente. “We are proud to support the green access work that The City Project is doing with funding from our Healthy Eating Active Living program.”
People are 38% more likely to exercise when they live within one mile of a park. In Orange County, where 72% of Latino adults are overweight or obese and 67% of fifth grade students failed to meet California Department of Education physical fitness standards in 2008, increasing access to parks and other green space can be an effective solution to improving public health and reducing healthcare costs.
“When children are physically active, they tend to do better in school, are healthier, and are less likely to engage in high-risk behaviors,” according to Seth Strongin, Policy and Research Manager for The City Project. “Spending time in nature can reduce stress and enhance mental wellbeing. Green space is also linked to a community’s economic vitality.”
“The inequities in open space availability in Santa Ana have had an adverse health and social impact on Santa Ana residents,” said America Bracho, CEO & President of Latino Health Access (LHA). “The City Project’s report on Orange County provides concrete research that LHA can use in our advocacy work to increase resources for open space and explore cost-sharing strategies such as joint-use agreements that allow our residents to use school grounds as parks after school hours – steps that are necessary to improve community health and equity in the City of Santa Ana.”
The report uses geographic, demographic, economic and historical data to map and analyze access to the region’s green space. In addition, the report examines access to green space based on income, race or ethnicity.
“Children of color disproportionately live in communities of concentrated poverty without enough places to play in parks and schools, and without access to cars or adequate transit to reach parks and school fields in other neighborhoods,” according to Robert García, Executive Director and Counsel of The City Project.
The report’s GIS maps, produced in consultation with GreenInfo Network, illustrate unfair disparities in green access. Nearly one fourth of Orange County’s land is green space and the countywide average is 41 acres per 1,000 residents. Access to green space varies dramatically. The communities with the worst access to parks tend to be disproportionately populated by people of color and low income people, particularly in North Orange County. In Santa Ana, for example, the green space ratio is only 1.85 acres per 1,000 residents.
The report describes the consequences of disparities in green access and the benefits that could be reaped in “park poor” and “income poor” communities if resources were fairly allocated. It concludes with recommendations for equitable investments in green space in Orange County, and throughout California and the nation.
The City Project combines research and analyses with community outreach to provide concerned citizens, elected and government officials, and other key stakeholders with the best available information upon which to prioritize actions and decisions that positively impact green access and quality of life for all.
Click here to read the complete report Healthy Parks, Schools and Communities: Green Access and Equity in Orange County.
Haga click aquí para ver el reporte de Parques, Escuelas y Comunidades Saludables: Acceso Verde y Equidad en el Condado de Orange en Español.
Click here to view the GIS maps and additional information.
Click here to read the media release.