While California has the largest
and most diverse system of state parks and cultural sites in the nation, most
parks are not where most people are – especially in urban areas like Los
Angeles where lower income neighborhoods tend to be “park poor” and there are
disparities in access to open space based on race, ethnicity and poverty.
The beach helps fill this void – it is where people of all ages, cultures
and incomes come together with family, friends and nature. For 40 years, the
California Coastal Act has helped ensure beach access is open to all.
As parks and recreation professionals it may be hard to connect the dots between services that you offer, “social equity” and the larger problem of “poverty.” Poverty is a complex, multi-faceted problem that covers a multitude of issues including food insecurity, employment, housing, education, transportation and other areas that impact low-income families. There are many misconceptions about the nearly 46 million Americans that are living in poverty. It’s almost impossible for you to understand what it’s like to be poor in America — unless, of course, you are. But one powerful educational tool that can be used to start those conversations is the Community Action Poverty Simulation.
The opinions of NRPA blog contributors don't necessarily reflect the editorial position of National Recreation and Park Association as a whole.
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