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  • 1. Park System Planning and Public Health David Rouse Principal, WRTPark Pride Annual Conference March 25, 2013
  • 2. What I Will Cover1. The Public Health Perspective2. How Park Systems Can Improve Public Health3. Case Studies • Cleveland Metroparks Strategic Plan • Prince George’s County Parks and Recreation Plan • GreenPlan Philadelphia4. Discussion
  • 3. The mission of the public health profession is to…fulfill society’s interest in assuring conditions in whichpeople can be healthy.(Medterms Medical Dictionary)
  • 4. Key Determinants of Public Health • Behavioral: Tobacco use, exercise, diet, alcohol consumption, etc. • Environmental: Exposure to toxic substances and other hazards in the built (and natural) environment. • Social-economic-cultural: Education, income, and occupational status. Action to address public health issues must be EVIDENCE-BASED.How can park systems influence the key determinants of publichealth? What EVIDENCE supports this connection?
  • 5. Connections Between Public Health and Park Systems Triple Bottom Line Benefits • Environmental: Parks improve air and water quality, which directly impact human health. • Economic: Parks promote physical activity and other healthy behavior, resulting in reduced healthcare costs. • Social: Parks (and the contact with nature they provide) alleviate mental stress and can help reduce health disparities.
  • 6. Environmental Connection: Improved Air QualityTemperatures in Baltimore CityParks were as much as 5o F. coolerat 2 pm and 13o F. cooler at 9 pmthan in center city; cooling effectsoutside the parks averaged 36% ofpark diameter during the day and 78% of park diameter during the night(Heisler et. al, 2007)Vegetation in Philadelphia parksremoves the equivalent of $1.5million in air pollution annually(Trust for Public Land, 2008)
  • 7. Economic Connection: Reduced Healthcare CostsProtected open space in SEPennsylvania yields $577 million inannual recreation benefits forresidentsThis recreational activity reducesmedical costs by $795 million andlost productivity costs by $485million, for a total of $1.3 billionsavings annually provided byprotected open space (EconomyLeague of Greater Philadelphia,2011)
  • 8. Social Connection: Improved Mental HealthExposure to natural environmentsimproves the mental health ofresidentsIn Philadelphia, regular interactionswith nature could result in 13,000fewer cases of mood disorders suchas depression (Robert WoodJohnson Health & Society ScholarsProgram, University of Pennsylvania,2007)
  • 9. Park System Planning and Design to Improve Public Health How can park systems create conditions in which people can be healthy? • Develop walking connections and access between and to parks from neighborhoods • Provide facilities within parks to promote health (exercise trails, community gardens, etc.) • Offer programs and services focused on health and wellness (fitness, nature education, etc.) • Maximize parks as green infrastructure to improve environmental quality (land acquisition, tree planting, stormwater management, etc.) • Ensure equitable access to parks and green infrastructure for poor/underserved communities
  • 10. Cleveland Metroparks: Green Infrastructure for the Urban CommunityNortheast Ohio’s EmeraldNecklace: 21,315 acres inCleveland and Cuyahoga CountyTraditional mission focused onnature conservation, education,and recreation (in that order)New directions set by CentennialStrategic Plan:• Restore urban ecosystems• Connect Cleveland Metroparks to the urban core• Promote community health and wellness
  • 11. Cleveland Metroparks: Green Infrastructure for the Urban Community The region’s natural life support system, green infrastructure refers to a network of parks, greenways, trees, wetlands, and other green resources that provide essential environmental, economic, and community benefits and ecosystem services for the people of Northeast Ohio.Environmental Benefits Economic Benefits Community Benefits• Preserve habitat • Attract businesses and workers • Enable recreation• Mitigate stormwater/flooding • Generate revenue • Improve public health• Improve watershed health and • Provide access to local businesses • Promote equity and access water quality • Increase property values • Foster community• Improve air quality • Lower energy costs • Provide gathering spaces• Regulate climate • Lower healthcare costs • Connect people with nature• Sequester carbon Leads to a greater return on investment over traditional “gray” infrastructure
  • 12. Cleveland Metroparks: Green Infrastructure for the Urban CommunityCuyahoga County ranks 69th of 88 Lyndhurst 88.5Ohio counties in health outcomes Hough 64.0• 81st in physical environment• 78th in morbidity• 67th is socioeconomic factors• 57th in mortalityMost health disparities affectunderserved groups (socioeconomicstatus, race/ethnicity, etc.)
  • 13. Cleveland Metroparks: Green Infrastructure for the Urban CommunityTraditional conservation Houghmission focused onpreserving the Emerald HoughNecklace through suburbanparts of Cuyahoga County
  • 14. Cleveland Metroparks: Green Infrastructure for the Urban CommunityStrategic Plan sets new direction to address health disparities ofunderserved groups: • Greenway/trail network inward from the Emerald Hough Necklace • Programs focused on health and wellness, nature education for urban youth • Environmental restoration of vacant lands Partner with universities, healthcare institutions, etc. in the above
  • 15. Prince George’s County: Building Partnerships for Public Health • Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Master Plan led by the Department of Parks & Recreation (DPR) • DPR manages 27,000 acres of parkland in the County and provides a broad range of facilities, programs, and services • Plan adopts a comprehensive view of the county’s park and recreation resources with a focus on health and wellness to improve health outcomes Photos courtesy of the Prince George’s County Department of Parks & Recreation
  • 16. Why Focus on Public Health? Prince George’s County has poor health behaviors and outcomes when compared to other Maryland counties and national averages • Ranks 17th out of 24 Maryland counties for overall health outcomes • Exceeds state and national averages in: • Premature deaths • Low birth weights • Adult obesity • Teen births • Sexually-transmitted diseases
  • 17. Prince George’s County: Building Partnerships for Public HealthMaster Plan Goals CONNECTIVITYConnect Prince George’s County residents to qualityparks, trails, recreational facilities and programs, andschools. HEALTH AND WELLNESSImprove the health (physical, mental, environmental)of Prince George’s County residents and promote awellness ethic for the community as a whole.$ ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTContribute to Prince George’s County economy and thefinancial sustainability of the community. Photo courtesy of the Prince George’s County Department of Parks & Recreation
  • 18. Prince George’s County: Building Partnerships for Public HealthMaster Plan TargetsIncrease the trail network from 134 miles to 400miles to meet the needs of the projected 2040populationInclude a health and wellness component in atleast 75 percent of DPR’s programsReduce the percentage of the county populationthat is obese by at least 10 percent over the next10 years Photos courtesy of the Prince George’s County Department of Parks & Recreation
  • 19. Prince George’s County: Building Partnerships for Public Health“Chronic diseases – specificallydiabetes, heart disease, hypertension,asthma, and cancer – are the healthconditions most amenable toimprovement…in Prince George’sCounty.” (UMD School of PublicHealth, Public Health Impact Study)Prince George’s County (with DPR ascatalyst) is partnering with the UMDSchool of Public Health on a countyhealth improvement initiative
  • 20. Prince George’s County: Building Partnerships for Public HealthPotential Partners• PGC Health Department• PGC Healthcare Action Coalition (responsible for implementing the PGC Health Improvement Plan)• PGC Department of Parks and Recreation• PGC Planning Department• PGC Public Schools• Institute for Public Health Innovation• UMD School of Public Health
  • 21. GreenPlan Philadelphia: Parks Without BordersExpands the definition of openspace beyond parks tocomponents of the city fabric andthe benefits they provide• Green elements and places• Network of benefits: environment, economy, quality of life Philadelphia will be a “greene Country Towne which will never be burnt, and always be wholesome.” - William Penn
  • 22. GreenPlan Philadelphia: Parks Without Borders Physical Framework ELEMENTS OF GREEN PLACES GREEN PLACES Trees Parks and Recreation Spaces Stormwater Management Tools Green Schoolyards Meadows Vacant Land Opportunities Trails and Bikeways Waterfronts Wetlands Green Streets Urban Agriculture and Community Gardens Green Development High Performance Surfaces Plazas and Auxiliary Spaces Renewable Energy Rail and Utility Corridor Enhancements
  • 23. GreenPlan Philadelphia: Parks Without Borders Network of Benefits ENVIRONMENT ECONOMY GREEN QUALITY OF LIFE Clean Air Efficient Energy Use Fresh, Local Produce Healthy Watersheds Valuable Properties Convenient Recreation Access Robust Habitat Productive Land Use Healthy Residents Hospitable Climate Competitive Economy Strong, Safe Neighborhoods How many of these benefits improve public health?
  • 24. GreenPlan Philadelphia: Parks Without BordersEquitable access based on levelof service• % of people living within half mile of a park or playground• Parks serving over 500 people per acre of park within the half mile radius Served Area Underserved Area
  • 25. GreenPlan Philadelphia: Parks Without BordersStreet
  • 26. GreenPlan Philadelphia: Parks Without BordersGreen Street
  • 27. GreenPlan Philadelphia: Parks Without BordersSchoolyard
  • 28. GreenPlan Philadelphia: Parks Without BordersGreen Schoolyard
  • 29. GreenPlan Philadelphia: Parks Without BordersNeighborhood
  • 30. GreenPlan Philadelphia: Parks Without BordersGreen Neighborhood
  • 31. GreenPlan Philadelphia: Parks Without BordersAlley
  • 32. GreenPlan Philadelphia: Parks Without BordersGreen Alley
  • 33. GreenPlan Philadelphia: Parks Without BordersCity
  • 34. GreenPlan Philadelphia: Parks Without BordersGreene Country Towne
  • 35. Where’s the Money?GOVERNMENTAL SOURCESCDC Community Transformation Grants – MaineHealth received $220,000 to implement no- or low-cost recreational programs for overweight youth and to develop a media campaign to encourage advocacy for recreational programs and facilitiesHUD Sustainable Communities Planning Grants – Shelby County, TN is funding a Greenways and Green Infrastructure Health Impact Assessment as part of a $2,619,999 grant for the Mid-South Regional Greenprint & Sustainability PlanEPA Green Infrastructure Technical Assistance Grants – The City of Atlanta’s Department of Watershed Management received $50,000 to help develop conceptual designs for potential greenspace in two neighborhoods
  • 36. Where’s the Money?GOVERNMENTAL SOURCES Stormwater Utility Fees – Philadelphia, PA uses stormwater billing to fund green street and other green infrastructure projects ($18.5 million projected in FY 2014) – The Lenexa, KS Rain to Recreation program uses stormwater utility fees and other funding sources to implement projects that manage stormwater and create greenspaceNONPROFIT & PRIVATE SOURCESNational Foundations/Grant Programs – The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities Program supports investments in parks and green infrastructure projects to reduce childhood obesity (41 communities received a total of $33 million under this program in 2012)
  • 37. Where’s the Money?NONPROFIT & PRIVATE SOURCES Local Health Care Systems/Institutions – North Central Health Services in Wabash, IN contributed $500,000 to help fund the Wabash River Corridor environmental, economic, and recreational enhancement project – Heart Clinic Arkansas raised $2.1 million to help the City of Little Rock fund the Medical Mile (part of the Arkansas River Trail) Local Foundations – The Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham raised more than $17 million to help fund the City’s Three Parks Initiative, which will develop two new parks and enhance a nature preserve (the Foundation has a major initiative called People Can Lead Healthy Lives)Local Businesses – In Cary, NC, Greenways, Inc. donated its services and partnered with local businesses to use their waste products to develop the Swift Creek Recycled Greenway
  • 38. DiscussionHow can we leverage the value of parks inimproving public health?How can the parks-public healthconnection be demonstrated by evidence?