Ensuring all people have fair and just access to the benefits of high-quality parks and green spaces, recreation facilities, youth sports and programs that create healthy, resilient and economically vibrant communities.
We must put equity at the center of all we do. True to the very philosophy of public parks and recreation is the idea that all people — no matter the color of their skin, age, income level or ability — have access to and are welcomed into programs, facilities, places and spaces that make their lives and communities great. Parks and recreation truly build communities for all.
NRPA strives for a future where all people have access to the benefits of quality parks and recreation. Achieving this future requires that we recognize the systemic inequities that have created very different lived experiences in communities across the country. We must put equity at the center of all we do. It requires that as we build up equity-centered outcomes, we also work to dismantle the barriers to equity. Putting equity at the center of our work means we are committed to constantly learning, creating supportive and co-beneficial partnerships, and sharing our failures and successes.
Through strategic storytelling, partnerships, research and investment, NRPA commits to demonstrating the vital work park and recreation professionals do to provide equitable access to parks and recreation. Putting equity at the center of our work means we are committed to constantly learning, creating supportive and co-beneficial partnerships, and sharing our failures and successes.
Equity in Parks and Recreation
Equity is central to all of NRPA’s work as an organization. Below are few examples of where we have centered equity to support park and recreation professionals in their work to create fair and just park and recreation systems.
NRPA works to ensure that all people have access to the benefits of local parks and recreation. To achieve this, NRPA has made a formal commitment to the Partnership for Inclusive Health’s Commit to Inclusion initiative.
Parks Build Community is a national initiative demonstrating the transformative value of parks on the health and vitality of communities across America. Each year, NRPA conducts a complete park makeover in partnership with park equipment manufacturers and community organizations within the city hosting the NRPA Annual Conference.
Through financial support of innovative solutions, park and recreation professionals have created new systems to re-distribute financial resources in their communities to support vulnerable communities.
Learn more about NRPA's other initiatives aimed at improving access to parks and recreation for all people.
NRPA Strategic Plan
Every day, in communities across the country, the people of parks and recreation are making their communities better places to live, work and play. We are building a nation-wide movement of support for their critical work and want you to join us.
A system-wide park master plan is a tool that can help us understand the history and current barriers to park access and set a vision and plan to remove these inequities and ensure parks and open space are providing the most benefit to communities.
NRPA, in partnership with the Willamette Partnership, developed a suite of resources for park and recreation professionals and partners to address the inequitable climate-related health impacts and advocate for solutions.
Local park and recreation agencies work diligently to ensure all people have access to and feel welcome in the places, programs and facilities that make their lives and communities great. Equitable and inclusive community engagement is central to this vision and is fundamental to establishing quality parks that meet the needs of all people.
Local park and recreation agencies provide ample opportunities for youth to build positive social connections. Through Mentoring in Parks and Rec, NRPA supports agencies in their efforts to build effective and evidence-based mentorship programs that connect youth with caring and compassionate mentors while strengthening connections across community.
Coming Soon — NRPA is currently developing two new resources:
Health Equity Framework
The Health Equity Framework guides local park and recreation professionals in applying an equity lens when designing, implementing and evaluating programs and services. It is divided into four parts: Self-Assessment, Agency Assessment, Health Equity Integration and Committing to the Call.
Coming in spring 2021.
Park Access Resource
The Park Access Resource assists park and recreation professionals in exploring personal and community history. The resource helps those in the field to better understand the root causes of inequities and guide professionals toward intentional action in addressing inequities in park access.
Coming in summer 2021.