Parks for the benefit of all people, not just a privileged few.
The Cohort for Park Equity (CPE) was a network of ULI district councils, member experts, and community partners in five cities who worked together to identify strategies–and take action–to advance equitable access to parks, trails, and open space. The CPE program wrapped up in summer 2023.
CPE provided on-the-ground technical assistance that leveraged ULI member expertise to advise on complex real estate, land use, and policy challenges related to park and trail access, maintenance, and development. Over the 12-month program, ULI convened the cohort regularly to learn from national best practices and discuss peer cities’ next steps advancing equity in their communities.
- Promote and improve equitable access to parks, particularly for low-income or underserved communities
- Identify solutions to local park challenges
- Identify opportunities for cities, towns, residents, and the real estate industry to support and benefit from park investments
- Support deepened partnerships centered on park development and/or operations
- Support District Councils as leaders in park and open space issues
The five participating district councils included:
ULI AUSTIN | FINAL TAP REPORT
Embedding Equity in Austin’s Adopt-A-Park Program
ULI partnered with the City of Austin’s Parks and Recreation Department and the Austin Parks Foundation to analyze the city’s Adopt-a-Park program (AAP), which is designed to enable neighborhood groups to initiate projects and activate parks in their communities. The TAP analyzed the Adopt-a-Park program with an eye toward understanding unintentional barriers to participation in the program within historically underserved communities. ULI Austin’s TAP occurred in January 2023.
Building a Cultural Trail to Connect the Albemarle Corridor
In partnership with the City of Charlotte, ULI assessed trail development opportunities within the Albermarle Road Corridor, one of the most demographically diverse neighborhoods in the city, and an area that is considered very high priority for investment in new parks and open space. Albermarle has been designated a “Corridor of Opportunity” in Charlotte, meaning it will benefit from increased city planning resources over the next 3 to 15 years. The TAP developed a Cultural Trail concept for the Albermarle Corridor that provides green space access and a safe, multi-modal transportation route that is responsive to the diverse needs of the community. ULI Charlotte’s TAP occurred in December 2022.
ULI DALLAS-FORT WORTH
Envisioning a New Future for “Shingle Mountain”
ULI evaluated future use opportunities for a four-acre parcel of land in the Floral Farms neighborhood in southern Dallas. The site was the former home of Shingle Mountain, a notorious illegal construction dump measuring six stories high. In a TAP sponsored by neighborhood advocacy groups, ULI real estate and land use expert volunteers explored public-private partnership models, funding sources, and civic or private uses compatible with redevelopment that include opportunities for a park or community gathering space. The TAP also provided advice on governance and financing structures for the redevelopment options, including operation and maintenance, to support the future viability of the site as a place for sustained economic activity and community engagement. ULI Dallas-Fort Worth’s TAP occurred in August 2022.
ULI NEW YORK
Establishing an Equitable Greenway Initiative
ULI provided guidance to the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative around formalizing the NYC Greenways Coalition, a collective effort of more than 40 nonprofit, community, advocacy and stewardship organizations working to implement a 400-mile citywide greenway network. The TAP focused on embedding equity in the Coalition’s cross-sector partnership models to ensure that all communities benefit from greenway investment and planning resources. ULI New York’s TAP occurred in December 2022.
ULI SAN ANTONIO | FINAL TAP REPORT
Remaking Rosedale as a High-Quality Park
ULI evaluated opportunities to redesign and activate Rosedale Park, a 60-acre park serving San Antonio’s Westside, historically a predominantly Hispanic and low-income area of the city. The neighborhood has seen a resurgence of economic and community growth over the last several years, and a coalition of partners is working together to transform the underutilized park into a celebrated community asset. ULI San Antonio’s TAP occurred in November 2022.
- “Five U.S. District Councils Selected for New Cohort for Park Equity Program.” UrbanLand Online. August 30, 2022.
This program builds on the deep work that ULI has undertaken to advance equitable access to parks in cities across the United States. For more information, and to read about ULI’s latest park-focused reports, click here.