Parks and Green Infrastructure for Health

January 23, 2020, Department, by The National Recreation and Park Association

2020 February NRPA Update Parks and Green Infrastructure for Health 410

NRPA is working to ensure that park and recreation professionals have the tools and knowledge to plan for and integrate green infrastructure into park projects to address climate impacts, improve community health conditions and advance equitable access to quality green spaces and parks across the country. Through the Parks and Green Infrastructure for Health initiative, we have conducted a literature review, landscape assessment and policy scan to understand the current research and policies that support and connect projects to public health outcomes, as well as the barriers and challenges park and recreation and other municipal staff encounter when advancing green infrastructure.

Our research confirms that green infrastructure is a widely used tool in communities to address stormwater concerns and meet stormwater regulations; however, there is a research, policy and knowledge gap in connecting green infrastructure to public health benefits beyond the applied broad environmental impacts on mental and physical health.

In October, NRPA hosted the Parks, Green Infrastructure and Health Workshop to address these gaps by bringing together parks, environmental, and health and equity experts to test messaging, draft creative policy action recommendations and identify key policy areas that need further exploration. Some of the key priorities that rose to the top for participants include:

  • Direct funding for operations and maintenance at the local, state and federal levels, including funding for evaluation, monitoring and adaptive management
  • Support for interagency cooperation and integration around funding and planning green infrastructure projects at the local level
  • Additional research around climate change, housing and anti-displacement policies, as they could be critical ways to advance green infrastructure in parks

These priorities will inform the messages and policy recommendations shared in a Parks and Green Infrastructure for Health Communications Toolkit and Policy Action Framework, which are expected to be completed in summer 2020.

Visit the Parks and Green Infrastructure for Health website to learn more about the project and findings as well as to read the literature review, landscape assessment, policy scan and workshop summaries.