Stronger, Happier Neighborhoods

March 13, 2017

 

Picture your ideal neighborhood. What's there? Is it smack in the middle of the city, filled with apartment buildings? Or perhaps a suburb with single-family housing? Maybe a mix of both? Does it have a grocery store or a coffee shop? What about a restaurant or bar?

 

Where is the nearest park?

 

1/4 mile is considered to be a walkable distance, putting an outdoor space for physical and mental health easily within reach for everyone.

 

Parks build stable neighborhoods by providing a community gathering space, creating stronger social connections. Neighborhoods with community gardens (often found in parks) are more stable, with less resident turnover. This social capital is key to strong, happy neighborhoods.

 

Parks increasing social capital through shared projects or concerns, provide abstract benefits (like getting to know neighbors and  feeling invested in neighborhood) - both of which lead to concrete community improvements such as decreasing homicide and violent crime rates, fewer property crimes, reduced delinquency, increasing educational achievement, lowering rates of asthma and teen pregnancy, and the faster, stronger unification of neighbors around community needs.

 

All in all, parks are part of the system that binds neighborhoods together. And the Spokane Parks Foundation is happy to be part of the effort to build and maintain that system.

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