10-Minute Walk Park Equity Accelerator

The City of Scranton has joined as an inaugural member of the 10-Minute Walk® Park Equity Accelerator, and initiative of the Trust for Public Land (TPL) which is supporting a cohort of cities across the U.S. with funding and expertise to address long-standing barriers to outdoor equity. Established with support from The JPB Foundation in 2017, TPL’s 10-Minute Walk program currently works with over 300 mayors and city leaders across 48 states to close the park equity gap and address cities’ pressing needs around health, resilience, environmental protection, economic development and community building through parks. 

Over 100 million people in the U.S, including 28 million children, do not have access to a quality park within a 10-minute walk from home. In the largest U.S. cities, neighborhoods where most residents identify as people of color have access to an average of 43 percent less park space than predominantly white neighborhoods. Residents in low-income neighborhoods have access to 42 percent less park space than residents in high-income neighborhoods. 

“We know parks are vital for healthy communities, and that investment in parks is game-changing for resilient and thriving cities. However, years of policies and practices have resulted in underinvestment in neighborhoods, exacerbating this park equity gap, and denying millions the health, climate, and social benefits of close-to-home access to the outdoors,” said Bianca Shulaker, Senior Director of TPL’s 10-Minute Walk program. “Given the urgency and scale of this nature gap, we’re excited to be launching these partnerships with communities to advance policy and other systems changes that will accelerate equitable access to quality park spaces.”

TPL’s 10-Minute Walk Park Equity Accelerator is a first of its kind initiative, addressing the root causes of park inequities shared by many of the 10-Minute Walk program’s champion cities.  The Accelerator will direct resources and provide technical assistance on solving park equity problems through policy change and innovation, with the support of TPL, cross-sector partners, and other experts. Accelerator cities will field-test policy ideas over a period of 12-15 months; TPL will use findings to support scaling the model to additional cities. 

Mayor Paige G. Cognetti recognizes the vital role parks and green space can play in advancing health, climate, and neighborhood revitalization, and acknowledges an urgent need to ensure that the many important benefits parks provide can be enjoyed equally among all residents. 

“More than ever before, we see our city parks as being critical for not only recreation, but for physical and mental health. The 10-Minute Walk program’s Park Equity Accelerator program offers the City of Scranton an opportunity to provide incredible green spaces throughout the city and make sure all residents share the resources” said Mayor Paige G. Cognetti.

According to TPL’s ParkServe® database, 81% of Scranton residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park (SOURCE: https://www.tpl.org/city/scranton-pennsylvania). However, safe walking, biking, and rolling to parks is not always possible. Scranton aims to improve connectivity to local parks through such practices as safe routes, complete streets, wayfinding, and aligning park amenities with community priorities.

“Leaders in Scranton are working to make sure that their public park assets deliver as much possible value for residents. We at TPL are thrilled to help the City develop new strategies for addressing the quality and connectivity of their park system,” said Owen Franklin, Associate Vice President & Pennsylvania State Director at the Trust for Public Land.

The goal of the Park Equity Accelerator is to understand how policy and practices can systematically advance local park access and quality; and what strategies help make those changes happen. Through technical assistance, the 10-Minute Walk Park Equity Accelerator objectives are two-fold: 

  1. Boost local efforts and make meaningful progress in participating cities
  2. Document and disseminate learnings that can advance field-wide understanding around prevalent challenges and increase awareness of promising solutions. 

Each city in the initial Accelerator cohort was chosen based on their commitment to advancing local park goals; readiness to explore, experiment with, and adopt new strategies or approaches; and potential to advance field understanding around a common issue or challenge. 

With generous support from the JPB Foundation, the 10-Minute Walk program can support these projects and bring technical assistance, learning and evaluation, and final product development to participating cities.

About The Trust for Public Land 

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit that works to connect everyone to the benefits and joys of the outdoors. As a leader in equitable access to the outdoors, TPL works with communities to create parks and protect public land where they are needed most. To learn more, visit www.tpl.org. 

About the 10-Minute Walk Program

The 10-Minute Walk program, a Trust for Public Land award-winning national program, is engaging city leaders to close the park equity divide so that every resident has access to a quality park or green space within a 10-minute walk of home. The Program calls on U.S. mayors to address cities’ most pressing needs around health, resilience, environmental protection, economic development, and community building through parks, and provides the resources needed to create and support parks that drive equitable, healthy, thriving communities. Through investigating and implementing high-impact policies and best practices for accelerating parks development, we aim to serve as the go-to group for closing the park equity divide. Read more here.

About The JPB Foundation

The JPB Foundation works to advance opportunity and justice in the US by reducing poverty, sustaining and enriching the environment, and furthering breakthrough medical research. The JPB Foundation works alongside local leaders, national movements, and world-changing research organizations to make people’s lives better.

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