Equity & Parks

Urbanity: Parks for everyone

There’s many a piece of research and publication about the links between access to parks and people’s health and wellbeing. Any urban area that includes ample public green spaces will always be sought after and the benefits are evident in the community attitudes towards their residential areas. Parks enhance the sense of community.

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Most Australian urban areas usually have had parks provided as part of the urban infrastructure. However in too many cases these parks and open spaces end up not being maintained well and sadly many also become places of neglect.

As our society has become more divided through inequities based on wealth, so to have the differences to how parks are being maintained and enhanced within the different socioeconomic sectors of our cities.

Too many major park projects today occur in the wealthier and/or upper middle class areas and inner metropolitan suburbs. Many parks agencies struggle to provide attractive park amenities in the lower economic suburbs and rural and regional areas.

A quick glance through any list of awards for green spaces and parks will highlight how the more high profile large and small park projects are not being undertaken where residents suffer in poor housing and where huge benefits could be gained through the provision of better parks and open spaces.

Given the number high profile projects that have grabbed attention in New York, it is good news to hear that the current administration has moved attention on to the provision of parks and the enhancement of open spaces in suburban areas that are not at the high-end of the socioeconomic scale. Such a move is welcomed as part of the challenge to deal with the growing number of inequities in our society.

The New Yorker has an article on the recent announcements by the New York mayor of his appointment of a new parks commissioner with a brief to fix more of the city’s parks.

Click here for the article.

This is good news.

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Paul Costigan, 30 March 2014

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