Benefits of Parks


“The importance of pedestrian public spaces cannot be measured. We cannot prove mathematically that wider sidewalks, pedestrian streets, more or better parks make people happier, much less measure how much happier. However if we reflect, most things that are important in life cannot be measured either: Friendship, beauty, love and loyalty are examples. Parks and other pedestrian places are essential to a city’s happiness.(Enrique Peñalosa, Project for Public Spaces ).

Read more:

Why America Needs More Open Space (TPL Report)

Peoples’ Perception of Parks and Recreation


“…parks are great civilizing places.” (Barbara, I Love My Park, Jan 2008) .


“It brings out the community.  In San Francisco where people are always doing their own thing, little parks like this really bring out the community.” (Noah, ILMP, Mar 2007)

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The Public Value of Urban Parks


“I love the short walk from my urban front door to the deep woods. I love the buzz of oxygen in my veins as I climb the steep approach. I love how city sounds and smog quickly fall away as I climb into the eucalyptus-scented sky. I love the wildlife that shares this small hill with me: Foxes red and grey, huge owls, several types of hawks, sunning lizards, hummingbirds, laughing crows.” (Winifred, on Bayview Park, ILMP, Nov 2007).

“The views of the city are beautiful from Buena Vista Park. It really lets you know where you are located. It is a forest in the city, an escape.” (Kara, ILMP Apr ’08).

“Without McLaren Park, children of San Francisco who live in the Portola and Visitation Valley would have little chance ever to know how beautiful Mother Nature can truly be.(Chuck, ILMP, Jan 2009).


“Leisure activity is one type of physical activity purported to reduce chronic stress and improve health…Based on these relationships, there is a growing recognition that public recreation opportunities are an important part of the health care infrastructure” (Smith, et. al. 2004 ).

Read more:

The Health and Social Benefits of Recreation

Public Health and Parks

How Land Use & Transportation Impact Public Health

Limited Access to Parks equates to poor health

Park use and physical activty among adolescent girls

Parks, recreation and public health- improving our nation



“Increasing people’s access to nature could dramatically reduce depression and stress-related illness… Dr William Bird, author of the report… said peoples’ stress levels fell within minutes of being in contact with nature.(Occ. Health, 2007)

“There is growing evidence to support that park environments play a unique role in promothing stress and alleviating stress” (Smith et. al. 2004).

Read more:

Stress and Park Use in Adults

A walk in the park: the new Ritalin for city students


“Perhaps the most pressing need in planning play environments is understanding the nature of play and its importance in children’s cognitive, social, and development. There is a rapidly growing body of evidence that play is central –indeed critical– to childhood development”

(Frost, Joe L. “Child Development and Playgrounds.”Parks & Recreation, Apr97 Vol. 32, Issue 4)

It has been shown that communities without parks, particularly in economically disadvantaged areas, have unhealthier children: “…research indicates that communities without parks and playgrounds often lead to sedentary children and stressful lives” (Building healthy places for children. State Legislatures, Feb2009, Vol. 35, Issue 2).

Read more:

The importance of play and playfulness

“Its more than fun and games”



“A city’s parks system not only provides health and environmental benefits, a sense of community, and a higher quality of life, it is also good for the bottom line.” (NPC Do Parks Make Cents?) .

“In 1998, a survey of 1200 high-tech workers found that the quality of life of a community increased the attractiveness of a job by 33%.  And, regardless of how one defines quality of life, parks and recreation are a key component….A 2001 poll of 50 senior executives of Fortune 500 companies rated quality of life—including things such as parks and recreation, traffic, and climate—as one of the most important factors they consider when locating their companies” (Cents p. 32).


Read more:

Do Parks Make Cents? An NPC Report

Good Parks are Good for the Economy– Great article!

Reducing urban flight through better parks



The ecological value of open space is incredibly important for urban environments.  For every piece of land that is safeguarded from development, different species of plants and animals are allowed to prosper, as well as lend a hand in the mitigation of air pollution.  The more green space, the better: green corridors connect life.

Redeveloping habitats lessens the threat of species loss.  According to one study on fragmentation, “ecosystem fragments remaining in cities are far more important than their limited size and distributed state might suggest. In fact, habitat fragments contribute significantly to the viability of the greater ecosystem as part of metapopulations—assemblages of local populations [of species] that are connected by migration” (Rudd, Vala, and Schaefer. “Importance of Backyard Habitat in a Comprehensive Biodiversity Conservation Strategy: A Connectivity Analysis of Urban Green Spaces.” Restoration Ecology, Vol. 10, No. 2, June 2002) .


Read more:

Urban ecology and restoration

Small Parks Could Cool Big Cities

 (9) PROMOTING CREATIVITYThink of all the outlets of creative artistic expression in a city– music, live performances, murals, sculpture, gardens– these are all found readily in parks.  Personal opportunities for creativity– reading, writing a poem, exploring new territory, playing on a junglegym, playing a guitar under a tree– are made possible by green public spaces.  The design of a park itself is perhaps the ultimate expression of creativity.  

Creativity and personal reflection are just as important for adults as they are for children, ultimately making a more peaceful, happy and productive world.