The Increased Importance of City Parks

Despite continued limitations on where people can go, due to the pandemic, US parks saw an increase in foot traffic recently. In Dallas, usage climbed to 75% from 35%. In Erie, numbers jumped 165%. More recently, protestors across the country have been using parks as rallying points. All of this highlights “the importance of public space for civil action and engagement and [will] likely add to repair and maintenance costs,” CityLab explains. Those costs come at a time when cities face decreased budgets, and demands to divert funds for PPE for state employees, COVID-19 testing sites and more. But this “convergence of crises could ultimately help convince local leaders and the public to reconsider the importance of public space, and even see parks as part of a broader plan for economic and social recovery.” Akron, Ohio’s Deputy Mayor for Integrated Development, James Hardy says parks are “where people from different backgrounds come together and find themselves on equal footing. They’re essential to the American experiment, and this is a great opportunity to make that argument.” Read more at CityLab.