Researchers have clearly identified the importance of green space to promote mental and physical health among humans. In urban areas, public parks are essential for providing access to green space for many residents. This study identified the relationships between demographics, neighborhood social capital, violent crime, and residential distance to the closest park (park proximity) with self-reported access to neighborhood parks, among a population-representative sample of adults in Philadelphia. Women, older age groups, minorities, and those with lower education levels had lower self-reported access to neighborhood parks. Those reporting high neighborhood social capital had higher self-reported access to neighborhood parks. Park proximity and number of violent crimes within 100 m from respondents’ residence were inversely associated with self-reported access to neigh- borhood parks. Interestingly, those living proximal to parks had higher odds of self-reported access to parks, but only among residents living in lower violent crime quartiles, and not in the highest violent crime quartile. These results suggest that those who lived in areas with high violent crime might be deterred from using neighborhood parks, even if there are parks close to their residence. Results of the study show that demographic groups that have been historically marginalized in the U.S., including women, older age groups and minorities, had lower self-reported access to parks in Philadelphia. The study also highlights the potential importance of neighborhood social capital and perceptions of safety to self-reported access to neighborhood parks.
McIntire, Russell K.; Halstead, Tiara; Dajee, Devesh; Buckley, Meghan; McGregor, Kyle; and Larson, Sharon, "Disparities in Neighborhood Park Access Among Adults in Philadelphia" (2022). College of Population Health Faculty Papers. Paper 159.
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