Park Equity Maps & Analyses

Access to parks is a critical need for many communities, but not all communities have adequate opportunities.  GreenInfo has developed methods and tools that can help you conduct assessments of park and recreation access in your area, whether that be a single community or an entire state.

Contact us to start a conversation about Park Equity Analyses!  


GreenInfo Network's approach to defining park access starts with your circumstances - there are many approaches to such measures and we can help you choose the most appropriate one.

Basic Park Access Analysis

Simple approaches to park access often use a measure of park acres per thousand residents, summed over a neighborhood, a city or any other geographic area.  Another frequently used method involves developing spatial analyses that highlight areas without a park within a certain distance (typically a ¼ to ½ mile). To conduct these assessments, an authoritative GIS layer of parks and open space must be available (for example, in California we use the California Protected Areas Database, or CPAD).

This analysis can be refined by identifying routes to parks (walking or driving routes) rather than using a "crow flies" distance of a set number, and further refined by identifying actual entry points to parks

Such analysis can be extended to engage equity issues by considering park access for certain populations (e.g., children and youth, those below average income, those with low car ownership, etc.), using data from the Census Bureau or any other sources that you might have available.  You can see one example of this type of analysis here »

Results of this basic park access analysis can include maps, as well as tables and charts. The data generated from such analysis can be further parsed using database and statistical tools, if needed.  The table example below shows a wide range of demographic variables, including park ("green space") acres per thousand:

Park Index Analysis
A more advanced approach to park access assessment is the development of a park access index.  GreenInfo has developed spatial algorithms for this purpose that can be placed into web applications or that can be used to generate GIS map and table products.

Our Park Index is current available in a Policy Edition, which is intended for use by local, regional and state governments and by park and recreation advocates, including those working for public health.  This tool assesses the sufficiency of parks in individual neighborhoods and allows for ranking and comparison of these areas. It takes into account travel variables as well as park availability.  Park Index Policy Edition can be combined with demographic factoring to produce more targeted analyses.

A version of ParkIndex based on individual property locations is also available for certain uses - contact us to learn more. 

GreenInfo Network has worked closely with its frequent partner the Trust for Public Land on their ParkScore product, which links park access with demographic analysis and other factors at a citywide level. GreenInfo staff developed much application programming for the ParkScore web site, including mapping, reporting and analysis functions.   Learn more about our work with TPL ParkScore
GreenInfo Network creates, analyzes, visualizes and communicates information in the public interest. We specialize in mapping and related technology for nonprofits and public agencies, focusing on using it for conservation, social equity, public health, environment and foundation grant making.
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