Regional Parks Equity Toolkit

Progressing toward more equitable use of regional parks

The Regional Parks System equity toolkit is a set of questions and a process to clarify how regional park projects are advancing equity.  Equity means expanding access to opportunity for people of all races, ethnicities, incomes, abilities, and national origins.

How will the toolkit be used?

Diverse group of teenagers enjoying a regional park. The Council will use the equity toolkit to help guide decisions about future projects and policy directions. It includes a series of questions on the application that partner agencies submit to the Council for grant funds.

The Metropolitan Parks and Open Space Commission (MPOSC) and the Council will use the toolkit to guide decision-making about grant funds to local parks implementing agencies beginning in the fall of 2016. The questions in the toolkit help MPOSC and the Council identify: 

  • Populations currently underserved by the regional parks system

  • Progress in serving targeted populations

  • Innovative practices of park agencies that could successfully apply across the park system

  • Future directions for the parks system in pursuing greater equity. 

Toolkit questions

  1. What is the population breakdown for your jurisdiction by race, ethnicity, age, national origin, ability status and income?

  2. Which population segments above are currently underserved by the Regional Parks System?

  3. Which of the underserved populations identified in Q2 will this project better serve ?

  4. What specific aspects of this project will help to better serve the targeted populations identified in Q3?

  5. Exactly how will you verify the target populations identified in Q3 are better served?

Why is the toolkit needed?

The Council's 2040 Regional Parks Policy Plan outlined a new focus: equitable use of regional parks and trails by all residents.  Sample feedback from a 2014 study of regional park use by communities of color (pdf) revealed barriers to park and trail visitation, including:

  • Knowing about the parks.  “A lot of people are not really aware of regional parks.”
  • Language.  “I really want to go there, but it’s hard because of the language barrier.”
  • Lack of transportation options.  “If we don’t drive, we don’t have a way to go.”
  • Religious practices.  “We pray five times a day, and women are supposed to have a little cover when they pray outside.”
The toolkit will build on the existing work of partner park agencies that are working to broaden park use among a changing population. 

More information

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