Parks for Seniors: Identifying Opportunity Sites in Los Angeles

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Authors:  Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, Madeline Brozen, Emma Ren

Date: October 1, 2015Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies

Project: Parks for Seniors: Identifying Opportunity Sites in Los Angeles

The amount of accessible open space in Los Angeles varies widely by neighborhood and corresponds largely with economic prosperity. Low-income neighborhoods in densely populated areas of Los Angeles have less than one acre of park space per 1,000 residents, while wealthier areas have over 100 acres per 1,000 residents (The City Project, 2011). Organizations such as the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, the City Project, and Community Health Councils are undertaking efforts to decrease the open space deficit by identifying publicly-owned parcels and other opportunity sites that can be converted to parks. These efforts, however, are focused on the supply of open space, and do not strategically examine whether the opportunity sites fall within areas of great demand for parks. Additionally, these efforts do not focus on the park needs of older adults.

To address this need, we created a methodology for identifying park need areas and then identified which of the high need areas had high-concentrations of senior housing, facilities and low-income areas. Each community plan area is profiled with the highest areas in need of senior-parks highlighted. Following this, we turned our attention to vacant lots. We similarly highlighted these by community plan areas. The opportunity side section ends with an analysis of which upcoming parks design should be prioritized with seniors in mind. 

The final recommendations include the following:

  • Identify locations of highest need by taking into account not only the lack of existing neighborhood park space but also the concentrations of seniors and senior-focused facilities in the area, as well as the level of neighborhood affluence. 
  • Identify the total number of vacant lots, both under public and private ownership, that are located in census tracts of high park need. 
  • Explore the potential of conversion of identified empty lots into senior-focused parks. 
  • Develop senior-friendly parks on highly accessible sites
  • Explore the opportunities for the development of small lots into mini-parks
  • Incorporate senior-friendly urban form and landscaping elements in the design of a new senior-focused park or the retrofit of existing parks. 
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By | 2017-05-10T15:23:51+00:00 October 30th, 2015|