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Image: 10 Minute Walk
At 10 Minute Walk, we are working with city leaders across the US to make sure that 100 percent of people in US cities have access to safe, quality green space
within a 10-minute walk by 2050.
If there’s one thing we know for sure — especially amid the challenges of
today’s pandemic — it’s that people need parks. From Detroit’s 1,000-acre
Belle Isle Conservancy to the tiny
“parklets” of Oakland, CA, parks and nature have revealed themselves as
critical to our ability to find respite, connect with others, and engage in
civic discourse during this time of great stress and isolation.
In response to the surging demand for outdoor spaces, cities across the country
have invested in creative ways to provide better, healthier access to parks and
green space. In San Francisco, city officials converted closed public golf
courses into public green spaces; and from Oakland to Providence, RI, cities
have closed miles of streets to vehicles, so that people can exercise and be
active at a safe distance. Other cities are using parks as yoga studios and are
increasingly exploring their use for outdoor classrooms.
All of these new ways of using space are shedding a light on the vital role that
nature plays for people in our cities; but also how in certain communities, not
all access to green
created equal. Thankfully, through a network of locally connected partners and
advocates — including mayors, city planners, public health advocates, policy
experts and nonprofits — 10 Minute
Walk, a nationally
led by The Trust for Public Land, is trying to change that. Together, our vision
is simple: We want to make sure that 100 percent of people in US cities have
access to safe, quality green space within a 10-minute walk by 2050. Committing
to this 100 percent promise means several things – including clearing a safe
path to existing parks, enhancing existing parks and green spaces, or creating
brand new parks in neighborhoods that need them most.
Public opinion only reinforces what we already know: A recent
national survey found
that 70 percent of city-dwelling Americans agree that local parks and green
spaces have been critical to their physical and mental wellbeing during
Additionally, 71 percent said that their quality of life would improve if they
had better access to parks and green spaces within a 10-minute walk of
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To achieve this ambitious target, we work with leaders in US cities to raise
awareness around the importance of parks and green spaces, and to make them top
of mind for the people who are planning the future of our cities. Almost 300
cities are making this commitment, and many are showing significant progress
towards their 100 percent goal, and doing so through very different initiatives.
Image credit: Guilherme Garcia/Unsplash
Denver is no stranger to
environmentally friendly policies and sustainability leadership. For decades,
the city has been an ambitious leader in the space; and recently issued a clear
and measurable set of goals to promote sustainability and climate
including a goal of reducing 80 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
The city has also instituted a 20-year
the future of its parks and recreation programs, which is a centerpiece of its
Additionally, the city approved a recent sales tax
which provides a creative funding mechanism to help create and care for parks
sustainable for the long term. In 2019, the city estimated the fund
will generate $37
acquisition, expansion and maintenance of parks, trails and open spaces; and the
Mayor understands how each and every
opens is part of a much larger effort. Local nonprofits are also playing a
critical role in achieving these goals — including Bicycle
Colorado, which is using 10 Minute Walk
grant funding to empower youths and families to find safe routes to parks and
schools in two Denver neighborhoods in need of greater access.
Image credit: Global to Local
Tacoma is currently on the
receiving end of much of Seattle’s population growth and development. Through 10 Minute Walk’s grant
funding support of area non-profit Global to Local, we
are helping to advocate on behalf of the Seattle Metro area’s highly diverse
refugee population by supporting park activation in area cities with local leadership around
community park and green space needs. This region has been a point of emphasis
for our work because it is the most ethnically diverse in Washington and is
the primary relocation and resettlement area in the state for refugees.
These are just two examples of champion cities across the US that are advocating
on behalf of their residents for increased green space access. But our work with
community leaders and organizations does not and will not stop there — we set
ambitious goals for ourselves and are looking forward to having a tangible,
lasting impact on our communities while encouraging positive change across the
For more information on the 10 Minute Walk Campaign and how you can help,
Published Sep 2, 2020 8am EDT / 5am PDT / 1pm BST / 2pm CEST
Benita Hussain is director of 10 Minute Walk, a national movement led by The Trust for Public Land aimed at expanding access to parks and green spaces across 300 US cities. 10 Minute Walk was recently named a finalist in Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas Awards in the Politics and Policy Category.