People for Parks works for the day when where every child and family has a safe park to walk to, no matter their zip code. We do this by creating access to safe and vibrant play spaces in underserved Los Angeles neighborhoods in the following ways: (1) unlocking schoolyards on weekends to create Community School Parks (CSP), (2) empowering communities, and (3) advancing innovative local joint-use policies.
Community School Parks is a solution for park scarcity. Much of Los Angeles is surprisingly park scarce. In our city’s densest neighborhoods, only 0.09 acres of park space exist within a half-mile of every 1,000 residents. This is a far cry from Los Angeles’ city-wide average of 4.2 acres. Without opportunities for safe, outdoor recreation, thousands of children in densely populated areas must choose between facing the danger of playing on streets during weekends and summer, or staying inside. People for Parks addresses this need by transforming schoolyards into Community School Parks (CSPs), which are safe play spaces open to the public on weekends and during the summer. People for Parks has opened 10 CSPs across Los Angeles, each providing access to park space for thousands of children, families, and elderly residents to enjoy together. CSPs have given 50,000 Angelenos in dense pockets of Koreatown, Pico Union, West Lake, Central Alameda, South LA and East Hollywood safe, vibrant places to play and connect within walking distance of their homes. All CSPs feature enrichment programming from LAUSD staff, who focus on outdoor activities including organized games and craft projects. We also work to foster a strong sense of community at each CSP through in-depth community organizing and parent empowerment trainings. These efforts equip CSP neighbors with tools and skills to take ownership over CSPs and become community recreation leaders who are able to organize games and activities for CSP visitors of all ages. We also collaborate with other organizations and the City of Los Angeles to replicate our CSP model in other high-need communities across the city and expand access to safe, open play spaces. For example, we’re partnering with organizations like the Wilshire Center Business Improvement District, which has adopted a CSP in the heart of Koreatown.
Community School Parks are a low-cost, easy-to-implement solution that helps to make neighborhoods more vibrant, healthy, and connected.