Every morning, I take a three-minute stroll from my apartment on the Northside of Chicago to the closest school, Eugene Field Elementary. The open schoolyard is equipped with everything I need: a running track, turf soccer field, basketball court, jungle gym, and a yard filled with native plants. The public space gives me the opportunity to meet my neighbors, play sports with local youth, and reap the benefits of outdoor exercise.
I’m part of a lucky group of Americans that have access to an open green space within a mile of where they live. Others are not so fortunate: The nonprofit environmental advocacy group The Trust for Public Land, or TPL, estimates that 100 million people in America, including 28 million kids, don’t have a park within a 10-minute walk of their home. Race plays a major role in the divide: The group estimates that, in the 100 largest U.S. cities, communities of color have access to an average of 44 percent less park space than predominantly white neighborhoods.
Without access to green spaces, communities lose out on a multitude of environmental benefits, in addition to losing out on a place to gather, exercise, and play. Gr... Read more