A study of park use and park facilities in two contrasting geographical areas in Los Angeles

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This research was led by Dr. Sideris in UCLA's Urban Planning Department.

We found that many middle-school children make little use of parks. They have a lack of interest in the existing park activities and their households are concerned about the children’s safety. Active recreation facilities and organized sport programs, natural features, and good levels of maintenance and cleanliness are the most significant factors attracting middle-school children to parks. Our survey found some significant gender, racial, and ethnic differences in preferences for park equipment, perceptions of park safety, and park visitation patterns; current parks are underutilized. Given recent budget cuts for the Department of Recreation and Parks, on top of previous ones, programming to meet the preferences of different groups seems unlikely, thus underutilization will continue despite growing rates of childhood obesity.

The research article was published in the Journal of the American Planning Association, vol. 76, no.1, Winter 2010.

November 01, 2010