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Access to Parks and Open Space

HN Online Guide

Studies show that providing adequate access to safe parks increases physical activity. Residents living close to parks or with access to more parks are more likely to use them and be physically active.18

The decision to use a park is based in part on the individual’s perception of safety and aesthetic appeal.19 Parks that offer paved trails, playground facilities, basketball or tennis courts, sports fields, running tracks, multipurpose rooms or swimming pools are used more often and for longer periods.20

Residents of neighborhoods that lack park and recreation facilities are more likely to exhibit health disparities.21 Increasing park acreage and facilities per capita and improving access to existing parks are important ways to support physical activity. For example, many communities are partnering with school districts on joint-use agreements that make school grounds available outside of school hours to students, their families and other neighborhood residents.22

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