Differences in Park Plans and Policies across U.S. Municipalities

Authors

  • Erin L. Peterson Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education Research Participation Program Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Susan A. Carlson Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Emily N. Ussery Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Ian Dunn Geospatial Research, Analysis and Services Program Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
  • David R. Brown Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Deborah A. Galuska Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.18666/JPRA-2020-9323

Keywords:

Policy, community planning, built environment, health promotion, active living

Abstract

Park planning documents may be valuable tools in order to promote policies and direct resources toward parks. However, the prevalence of such planning documents and policies specific to parks across municipal characteristics is not well known. This study compares the presence of parks and recreation plans and policies that address park safety and maintenance by municipality characteristics. Nationally representative data from the 2014 National Survey of Community-Based Policy and Environmental Supports for Healthy Eating and Active Living were analyzed (n=2005, response rate: 45%). About 7 out of 10 U.S. municipalities with a population of at least 1,000 reported having a parks and recreation plan. Prevalence of specific park or outdoor recreation policies was 78% for lighting, 85% for patrols by police and security, and 87% for maintenance of green space and equipment. The prevalence of a parks and recreation plan and of specific park or outdoor recreation policies were significantly lower in the smaller communities examined in this study. Most communities with at least 1,000 residents have park planning documents and policies, and opportunities may exist for practitioners to leverage the planning process to better engage residents. Future studies could investigate the role and importance of using planning documents, policies, or budget provisions to address park access and quality in less populous municipalities.Subscribe to JPRA

Published

2020-12-15

Issue

Section

Regular Papers