City Needs Neighborhood Parks, Study Says

Times Staff Writer

In a study that argues for the city of Los Angeles to build more parks in underserved areas, the Rand Corp. says that parks are used mostly by those who live nearby.

And those who go to the parks generally are not getting the kind of workout health officials say everyone needs. The most common activity, the study found, was sitting.

“Nevertheless, most have engaged in light or moderate physical activity just to get there, since most park users walk to the park,” according to the study.

The study found that 81% of park users live within one mile of the parks.


“Even if a large park is only a few miles away from a particular neighborhood, most neighborhood residents will not use that large park,” the study concluded.

That raises questions about whether the large number of residents in areas without many parks are using facilities provided by the city.

“Most may not have access to even a small park within a mile radius of their homes,” the study found. “Smaller nearby parks could play a much more important role in the physical activity of neighborhood residents.”

The study, which looked at 12 parks, also found that men use parks more than women, and children and teenagers use parks more than adults and seniors.

Most neighborhood residents said they used the parks at least once a month.

“People told us that the public parks play a significant role in their lives,” said Deborah Cohen, a Rand researcher and lead author of the study. “We were surprised at the large number of people who said they use parks.”