play a central role in the overall health and well-being of America’s cities
and the residents who live in them. Dallas, like most large urban cities, is
rapidly growing and changing. Huge construction projects, major freeway and
interchange expansions, and an influx of younger residents to downtown and
surrounding areas have created both new growth and new challenges to the city
the process of these important changes it is vital that city parks maintain and
encourage strong advocates. City planners, elected officials, and community and
neighborhood leaders are needed to support city parks and advocate for not only
their survival but their future.
need park advocates. And anyone can be advocates for parks.
advocates are needed to promote the beauty and the importance of parks and how
they can enhance the lives of citizens across the city. Volunteer groups,
neighborhood clubs, Friends organizations, church groups, and other community
involvement provide a wealth of support to urban parks.
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion reports
that half of all adults in the U.S. have their health compromised by chronic conditions
such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Statistics show that annually the
cost in this country of these illnesses is staggering: Diabetes, $245 Billion;
Obesity, $147 Billion; and Heart Disease, $108 Billion.
Parks play a crucial part in the health of individuals within the city by providing a vast array of recreational activities, fitness programs and events, walking and bike trails, and green space for picnicking and other leisure opportunities.
in urban parks help remove from the air toxins such as carbon monoxide and
other pollutants. And some cities are using a green infrastructure approach in
parks to manage storm water and help prevent flooding.
There is no question that city parks help address a variety of urban issues. Beyond the recreational opportunities, they increase property values, stimulate local economies, help combat crime, and produce positive environmental impacts.
people of diverse backgrounds, social status, financial means, and community
concern, can be powerful advocates for parks across the city.
Peter Harnik, Director of the Center for City Park Excellence in metro Washington, D.C., has written that parks “help make cities softer, more beautiful, more sociable, more fun, more ecologically sound, and more successful.”
they do. And that is why advocates for urban parks are a critical part of the
future of any great city.