Turning derelict city land into socially-equitable green infrastructure

Establishing parks in under-served neighborhoods benefits the surrounding communities and can make a city a little more sustainable.

Four U.S. cities just landed $1.75 million to un-pave the way.

A program run by the American Planning Association and the National Recreation and Park Association advances green infrastructure in low-income communities and communities of color.

The Great Urban Parks Campaign recently awarded a combined $1.75 million in funds to four cities-—Atlanta, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and Denver-—to either turn unused plots of land into parks, or to overhaul existing parks and add sustainability features.

It’s part of a broader and growing interest in green infrastructure, which has been a magnet for city philanthropy due to the way it can tackle a bundle of urban problems at once, for a relatively modest investment.

Particularly compelling are the environmental justice and equity benefits, as this program expressly hopes to realize.

A invaluable opportunity for an initiative like this is to provide a successful template for other cities, not just for how to make a great park, but how to engage lower-income people so they can truly own the process and reclaim community infrastructure.

Doing so could go a long way toward making future projects successful.

Photo credit: Adobe Stock Photos

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