How close do you live to a park, recreation center, or playground?
If you live more than half a mile from one of these venues, you might live in a “play desert.”
Like food deserts, play deserts indicate a geographical area that is void or lacks access to recreation opportunities for children. Back in 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that only one in five children live within a half a mile of a recreation area. This distance barrier makes it difficult for the average child to walk, ride a bike, or catch a ride to a play area where fun can be had, and more importantly, where calories can be burned. With rising childhood obesity rates and declining access to recreation areas, making sure children have adequate, safe, and accessible play venues is more important than ever.
What are communities and neighborhoods doing to address the problem? Building partnerships and collaborations with schools and universities, businesses and developers, and most importantly, with local governments to turn areas of “play blight” into safe places that encourage recreation, community health, and social capital.
Groups like KaBoom!, PlayWorks, and the National Recreation and Park Association are partnering with communities all over the nation to not only bring awareness to the issue but also to provide opportunities and strategies to reverse the decline in play areas and increase education and access to outdoor recreation.
Does your community or neighborhood have a play desert? Are you working to build new opportunities for recreation and play in your community? Tell us about your community’s efforts to increase education and access to recreation and play by clicking the bubble above the video or the “Leave a Reply” button below.
The more we share, the more we learn, the more we can do together to make our children and our communities healthier and more sustainable. Share your story today!
Did You Know?
Parks were once referred to as “the lungs of our cities.” Read more about the history and evolution of parks and recreation in America here.