Alfredo Gonzalez

Parks and Tree Canopy Are a Matter of Life and Death in Los Angeles

Parks and tree canopy are literally a matter of life and death in Los Angeles. This is especially true in the middle of an extreme summer heat wave. A recent UCLA study quantified the benefit. Researchers found that if the areas of Los Angeles County that currently have below average tree canopy cover and park acreage were just brought up to the average, Angelenos alive today would enjoy close to 1 million years of additional life expectancy. And that’s controlling for all other factors, such as household income and access to healthcare. Think about that for a minute. The benefit…

Evaluation Underscores Value of Collaborative, Community-Driven Parks Building Model

People need parks. Parks improve physical and mental health, strengthen family and community relationships, reduce youth crime and violence, enhance neighborhood pride and identity, provide economic benefits, decrease health care costs, increase biodiversity, improve air quality, reduce runoff and water pollution, reduce temperatures, mitigate climate change, foster an environmental ethic, and more. Unfortunately, access to these body-mind-community benefits is wildly inequitable. For decades, Black, Brown, and low-income communities have faced historic disenfranchisement and oppression from redlining and other policies that have led to chronic social, economic, and environmental stressors such as poverty, violence, and pollution. California is finally changing its…

Even a Child Can See: Parks Access is More Important than Ever

The other day, my daughter asked if it was safe for us to have a family beach day again. She immediately frowned when I reminded her that even if a nearby beach were open, we would have nowhere to park because the lots are closed. “So, only people close enough to walk there, get to go to the beach?” she asked. “How is that fair?” She’s only 11 years old, but she already understands something many adults don’t: That everyone needs access to outdoor spaces, but not everyone has it. The COVID-19 crisis is reminding us how essential parks and…