The City of Ann Arbor has joined The Trust for Public Land, National Recreation and Park Association and Urban Land Institute by participating in the historic “10-minute walk” parks advocacy campaign. The campaign sets the ambitious goal for a high-quality park or natural area to be within a 10-minute walk (equivalent to a ½ mile) of all U.S. residences.
Studies show that high-quality parks provide many benefits to urban residents and cities themselves. These include: physical and mental health benefits, by providing opportunities to be physically active and to interact with nature; economic benefits by boosting business and helping to revitalize neighborhoods; community-building benefits by providing opportunities for neighbors to interact with each other and work together to improve their surroundings; and environmental benefits by cleaning and cooling the air, improving climate resilience and providing opportunities for environmental education.
Reaching 100 percent served in cities nationwide will require major advances in park finance and construction; zoning changes to encourage park development; embedding this goal into city parks master plans; the expansion of “joint use” agreements that open school playgrounds, tracks, and gyms for public use after hours and on weekends; and other innovations.
The 10-minute Walk initiative establishes that everyone deserves a park, a right the City of Ann Arbor takes seriously. The city’s Parks and Recreation Open Space Plan (PROS Plan) readily aligns with this national 10-minute walk goal. “With 157 parks in the city’s park system, we in Ann Arbor are fortunate in that the majority of residents currently live within a ¼ mile of a city park,” Parks and Recreation Manager Colin Smith said. “Accessibility to parks and nature truly plays an important role in both the overall quality of life for those who live here as well as in the vibrancy that attracts industry and visitors to our city.”
The bipartisan U.S. Conference of Mayors, which includes leaders from cities including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston, and communities across Michigan such as Rochester Hills, Holland, Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor, also unanimously passed a resolution at its 85th Annual Meeting urging all mayors to actively pursue the 10-minute walk to a park goal.
This campaign marks the start of a multiyear partnership with cities and mayors across the country. Beginning in 2018, the national campaign advocates will be working with select cities on measurable policies and strategies to advance the 10-minute walk vision.
For more information on the 10-minute walk to a park campaign, and the full list of 134 mayor/city endorsements, visit http://10minutewalk.org. To find a City of Ann Arbor park near you, visit www.a2gov.org/departments/Parks-Recreation/parks-places/Pages/default.aspx