Are we in the midst of a public space crisis?

  • 2016-06-28
  • The Conversation

Today, urban growth eliminates accessibility to public spaces. And when public spaces do get created, they’re often designed for the privileged and wealthy.

The City Park Facts database of 2015 shows how much park space exists for each citizen in cities across the United States, and, not surprisingly, high-density cities are squeezed for space. For example, cities such as New York and Chicago have 4.6 acres per 1,000 residents; on the other hand, low-density cities such as Anchorage have 2,397.2.

A 2003 white paper by The Trust for Public Land noted how “U.S. cities are park-poor,” with residents of many cities lacking adequate access to parks and open space.

But the report also noted how low-income, minority neighborhoods are especially lacking in open space. Take Los Angeles. In predominantly white neighborhoods, they found 31.8 acres of park space for every 1,000 people – a number that dwarfs the park space in predominantly African-American and Hispanic neighborhoods (1.7 and 0.6 acres per 1,000 people, respectively).