238735 City park facts: Everything you've ever needed to know about urban park systems' acreage, facilities and usership

Monday, October 31, 2011: 10:30 AM

Peter Harnik, Director, Center for City Park Excellence , Center for City Park Excellence, Trust for Public Land, Washington, DC
The 100 largest U.S. cities collectively contain more than 1.3 million acres of parkland, as well as many of thousands of recreational facilities, from playgrounds to ballfields to bike trails. This vast park estate can potentially serve as an unparalleled space for obesity-reducing and health-enhancing physical activity. However, for reasons that are not clear, not all citizens get the same benefits from their parks. Obesity continues to rise steeply, and many parks are noticeably underused. There are health researchers throughout the nation attempting to study what factors distance, acreage, facilities, design, marketing, climate, signage, spending, or something else influence people to be or not to be active. The Center for City Park Excellence, which has the nation's best compendium of urban park and recreation data, will explain to researchers and policy analysts what information is available, what form it is in, and how to access it. The Center will report that it is anxious to share this information and to partner with health researchers in getting the greatest amount of public benefit from its analysis and use. The Center will also report how its data from swimming pools to recreation centers to skate parks to basketball hoops to miles of trail to numbers of employees -- has already been used by American health researchers.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the voluminous amount of data presently available about city park and recreation systems. 2. Discuss the numerous different ways that health researchers, analysts and students can utilize the existing park data to design studies and measure health benefits from physical activity in urban areas. 3. Develop a plan for utilizing city park data to compare and contrast health outcomes of different urban populations.

Keywords: Physical Activity, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am director of the program that has amassed and analyzed all the data being presented and discussed.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.