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Partnership Models for Increasing Park Access in Underserved Communities
Parks provide opportunities for people to be physically active, spend time with nature, and connect socially with others. Yet, over half of Los Angeles County’s population live in neighborhoods without access to parks and open space with the majority of high-need areas being concentrated in low-income communities of color. People also do not always feel welcomed in parks due to physical accessibility concerns, unequal enforcement of rules, or simply not feeling like the park was designed for them. To increase park equity and access, there is a need to both increase the number of parks and open spaces and be more intentional about how park design and programming can increase a sense of belonging. LA County has an opportunity to address these decades-long issues through increased resources provided by the passage of Measure A. But money alone is not enough to address inequity and increase people’s sense of belonging in parks and public spaces. LA needs strong partnership models to deeply engage with people to take every opportunity to increase public space and ensure these spaces are designed and programmed taking people’s individual needs into account. The recent opening of Golden Age Park in the Westlake area provides one promising partnership example of how a small space can create a big impact for people of all ages. What can people working to address park equity learn from this experience? How can other partnership models come together? Where is the opportunity to build a network of organizations to come together and work to reverse the historic inequities in park access in Los Angeles County?

Join the Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies and a panel of vibrant speakers on Wednesday, January 19th to learn more.

Jan 19, 2022 12:30 PM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris
Distinguished Professor of Urban Planning, Associate Dean @UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs
Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris is a Distinguished Professor of Urban Planning and Associate Dean of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. She has conducted research on parks and open spaces, children’s and older adults’ needs and uses of public spaces, the link between built environment and crime, and safety and security impacts on walking and physical activity, among other projects.
Miguel Velasquez
Mid-City Site Manager @St. Barnabas Senior Services
Mr. Velasquez is the Mid-City site manager for St. Barnabas Senior Services. Over 30 years at St. Barnabas, Miquel has held various positions, including work as a program aide, activities coordinator, home assessment aide, and done marketing and outreach in English/Spanish
Louie Leiva
Assistant Director of Community Design Research @cityLAB UCLA
Mr. Leiva is an educator and urban planner with an affinity for art in public spaces. Through his role as Assistant Director of Community Design Research with cityLAB UCLA, Louie builds upon community engagement efforts in the Westlake/MacArthur Park neighborhood, a place he knows well through childhood and his previous professional affiliation with Heart of Los Angeles’ (HOLA) Visual Arts Departm
Sean Woods
Chief of Planning @Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation
Mr. Woods is the Chief of Planning for Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation where he is responsible for the oversight of planning and management issues related to the Department’s 70,000 acres of parkland and diverse facilities. Sean is particularly focused on promoting equity, sustainability, climate resiliency and environmental justice within the countywide park system.
Tori Kjer
Executive Director @Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust
Ms. Kjer is the Executive Director of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust. She has over a decade’s experience implementing projects and advocating for policies focused on improving community health outcomes through fresh food access, stormwater capture, and green space development. In her prior role as LA Program Director of The Trust for Public Land, Tori established TPL’s Los Angeles Parks for People Program, through which she collaborated with partners and community stakeholders to identify priorities, build trust, and lead coalitions, helping to raise over $50 million in public and private grants and overseeing the development of a dozen new parks.