Mayor Karen Freeman-Wil-son joined the Trust for Public Land, the National Recreation and Park Association, the Urban Land Institute and over 130 Mayors on Oct. 17 in launching an historic “10-minute walk” parks advocacy campaign, establishing the ambitious goal that all Americans and all residents of Gary should live within a 10-minute walk of a high-quality park or green space.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors, which represents more than 1,000 U.S. Mayors, unanimously passed a resolution at the 85th Annual Meeting urging all Mayors to actively pursue the 10-minute walk to a park goal. This bipartisan group includes mayors from all across the country and represents cities large and small, including America’s four largest cities (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston) and diverse communities across the country.
Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson stated, “Parks are critically important in our communities. Parks not only help to improve the environmental conditions in our neighborhoods, but they provide inviting green spaces that encourage outdoor recreation and activities. This Mayor’s coalition is a great step forward to work together towards ensuring that a quality park is within a close walk for the residents of our communities.”
Studies show that high-quality parks provide a wide range of benefits to urban residents and cities themselves. These include physical and mental health benefits, by providing opportunities to be physically active and to interact with nature; economic benefits by boosting business and helping to revitalize neighborhoods; community-building benefits by providing opportunities for neighbors to interact with each other and work together to improve their surroundings; and environmental benefits by cleaning and cooling the air, improving climate resilience, and providing opportunities for environmental education.
Partnering with cities to advance the 10-minute vision
The campaign marks the start of a multi-year partnership with cities and mayors across the country. Beginning in 2018, the campaign—led by The Trust for Public Land in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association, and Urban Land Institute—will be working with select cities across the country on measurable policies and strategies to advance the 10-minute walk vision.
Reaching 100 percent served in cities nationwide will require major advances in park finance and construction; zoning changes to encourage park development; embedding this goal into city parks master plans; the expansion of “joint use” agreements that open school playgrounds, tracks, and gyms for public use after hours and on weekends; and other innovations.
Partner organizations on the 10-minute walk campaign
“Everyone deserves to have a park within a 10-minute walk — that is why we are in the midst of mapping park access for every city and town across America through our new platform, ParkServe®,” said Adrian Benepe, senior vice president and director of city park development for The Trust for Public Land. “We have already mapped more than 100,000 parks in close to 7,700 communities across the country, and as our research shows, more than 100 million Americans currently don’t have access to the countless benefits parks provide. These mayors deserve enormous credit for endorsing the 10-minute walk.”
“On issues from climate change to infrastructure development, U.S. mayors have shown that cities can lead. Mayors aren’t waiting on Washington; they are acting boldly and independently. Urban leaders have declared that parks are a priority, and mayors have joined together in this historic campaign to ensure that everyone has access to a high-quality park,” said Barbara Tulipane, president and chief executive officer of the National Recreation and Park Association.
“Thoughtfully designed parks make a positive difference in the quality of life in communities, serving as a respite, a source of civic pride, and a draw for investment activity,” said Patrick L. Phillips, global chief executive officer for the Urban Land Institute. “We are excited to work with these distinguished mayors and other urban leaders to promote the 10-minute walk campaign and help improve park access in their cities as well as urban areas across the country.”
Generous support for this effort has been provided by The JPB Foundation.