Green space and parks

Local governments can invest in this strategy using State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

  • This strategy can help build stronger neighborhoods and communities, confront health disparities, and address the social determinants of health. The U.S. Department of Treasury has indicated that strategies that help achieve these outcomes are eligible for the use of Fiscal Recovery Funds.
  • Investments in this strategy are SLFRF-eligible as long as they are made in qualified census tracts or are designed to assist populations or communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

Program basics

  • Aim to boost physical activity by enhancing available parks and other recreation areas, community gardens, and public, outdoor space
  • Aim to address obesity rates, mental health, crime, stress, and birth outcomes

Strength of evidence

Evidence level: Strong (second-highest tier)

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Strong (second-highest tier)

Ranked as having the second-highest level of evidence by County Health Rankings and Roadmaps


Target population

Community-wide

Program cost

Not available

Implementation locations

  • Nationwide

Dates active

Not applicable

Outcomes and impact

  • Increased physical activity
  • Lower childhood obesity rates
  • Lower stress and better mental health
  • Increased birth weight

Keys to successful implementation

  • Note: This content is under review
  • Concerns about crime, rising taxes, and gentrification often arise when new parks and green spaces are being developed. Officials should work with community members to create plans to address these concerns.
  • Equity considerations should guide park site selection, as lower-income, predominantly black and brown neighborhoods tend to have less access to green space.
  • Community support for and utilization of new green spaces can be strengthened by involving neighborhood residents in the design of the space, the installation, and ongoing maintenance.
  • Park utilization can also be strengthened by providing physical activity programs, group exercise opportunities, and outdoor exercise equipment.

Similar programs

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