Los Angeles is building tiny parks in poorer neighborhoods at a furious pace, undoing some urban planning mistakes of the past.
For all of its natural wonders, Los Angeles ranks among the most park-poor cities in the country. Too many residents, especially in the vast impoverished tracts of South Los Angeles, have no easy access to a walking path or even a ball field. Most of the city’s parks are multi-acre recreation centers, which are scarce in some of the city’s older neighborhoods, including the vast tracts built immediately after World War II.
Over the past three years, the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks has tried to undo some of these mistakes by thinking small with its 50 Parks Initiative. As the name implies, the plan was launched to promote the development of 50 parks in underserved areas of the city.
The initiative is now more than halfway to its goal. According to program director Darryl Ford, 31 parks have been completed, six are under construction and 17 more sites have been identified, for a total of 54.
That amounts to around 25 acres of new parks so far, mostly in South Los Angeles, East Los Angeles and the eastern part of the San Fernando Valley.