The Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, the University Muslim Medical Association, and the Los Angeles Unified School District have come together to address multiple challenges in the low-income community of South Los Angeles: high rates of chronic disease, a lack of parks and open space, and under-resourced public schools. By converting an abandoned 1.5 acre lot into green space, a community garden and a health clinic, this innovate partnership is launching a comprehensive effort that strengthens community, creates opportunities for health and supports diverse learning methods for students. Read “The Power of Place: Linking Health and Parks in South Los Angeles” here .
This new resource from Active Living Research summarizes research on community access to school recreation facilities outside of school hours as well as challenges associated with shared use of school facilities. The research brief also presents recommendations and opportunities for policymakers at the state and local levels.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has announced a plan to develop 50 pocket parks scattered throughout Los Angeles over the next year and a half, to provide greenery, places to sit outdoors, and children’s playgrounds to city residents. In addition to the pocket park plan, the city is also raising money to build larger parks in historically park poor neighborhoods. Los Angeles is currently 22,000 acres short of its public parkland standard, which calls for 10 acres of parkland for every 1,000 residents. A formal announcement, including the 50 park locations, will come in March.
Education, health and community leaders have agreed to open some Los Angeles school campuses after hours so that families will have a safe place to exercise. The new program, named JUGAR, the Spanish word for “play,” aims to turn schools into community hubs, where residents can participate in aerobics classes, walking clubs and other activities that promote health. “We don’t want the families to see this as only a Monday-to-Friday place,” said Alex Avila, one of the school’s principals. “We want the community to feel welcome always.”
The city of Chicago has a modest standard for parks: for every 1,000 people, there should be two acres of open space. Unfortunately, half of Chicago’s 2.7 million residents still live in communities that fail to meet that standard. Existing open spaces are often difficult to reach, due to highways and other arterial roadways blocking the way, or unsafe conditions caused by gang activity. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Park District have signaled their willingness to work on the problem, though much remains to be done.
Living Well Los Banos, a group dedicated to making residents healthier through swimming, walking and other physical activities, have made adult lap swimming available to residents at Pacheco High School Monday to Friday from 7:30 to 9pm through a pilot joint use program with the Los Banos Unified School District. The agreement allows lap swimming to occur when the school district doesn’t use the pool for its sports program and demonstrates how sharing a facility under joint-use endeavors can work.
Westlake Park is owned by the city of Broomfield but has been jointly used and maintained by the Adams 12 school district because Westlake Middle School also uses the park. The asphalt courts, constructed in 1978, have become worn and cracked, and will now undergo the much needed repairs to remain safe for public use.
The exchange entails an estimated $5.5 million for the 2011-2012 academic year from the November 2010 voter approved half cent sales and transactions use tax that began on April 1, 2011 and includes access to facilities which are either unused or underutilized during non-school hours. The agreement will be in effect for ten years and there is an option for it to be extended for another ten years. Additionally, the board approved a memorandum of understanding for a civic-center joint use agreement that will allow residents to use the school facilities during off hours in exchange for the building of a new gym and renovation to the high schools amphitheater.
The City Council unanimously approved a joint-use agreement between itself and the San Diego Unified School District that will allow a K-8 school that had no access to grass on campus to finally have access to an open green space. Construction will include a 1.5-acre field and track and will replace a dirt-and-gravel lot and will be available for public use outside school hours. When completed, the city and school district will share annual operation and maintenance costs. “This is a park-starved area of San Diego, and we desperately need this joint-use field,” San Diego City Councilwoman Marti Emerald said. “We’ve got to get some parks in for the community.”
Green Access and Equity for Ventura County, is a policy report summary for Ventura County of The City Project’s 2011 report, Mapping Green Access and Equity for Southern California – Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, San Bernardino, Riverside, San Diego, Kern, Santa Barbara and Imperial – using narrative and legal analyses, geographic information system (GIS) mapping tools, and demographic and economic data. The report identifies joint use agreements as 1 of 3 strategies to increase children’s physical activity.