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Published Online: 13 December 2012

Park Quality in Racial/Ethnic Minority Neighborhoods

Publication: Environmental Justice
Volume 5, Issue Number 6

Abstract

Public spending on parks in racial/ethnic minority areas lags behind spending in more affluent areas. Limited resources could result in poor quality parks in turn creating additional barriers to physical activity. However, the quality of parks in these areas has not been adequately investigated. The purpose of this study was to conduct an empirical examination of the associations between the quality of park characteristics and the demographics of residents living around the park. The Physical Activity Resource Assessment instrument was used to evaluate the quantity and quality of features and amenities in 68 urban parks. The U.S. Census 2010 data were used to describe the populations residing in the areas surrounding the parks. Results indicated that parks in areas with higher percentages of racial/ethnic minorities had poorer quality features and amenities (p<0.01). These associations remained significant after controlling for the effects of park size and median income. It was concluded that park quality varied systematically with the racial/ethnic composition of the neighborhoods surrounding the parks. These results warrant future investigation as to why park quality is lower in racial/ethnic minority neighborhoods and how such a disparity affects physical activity.

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cover image Environmental Justice
Environmental Justice
Volume 5Issue Number 6December 2012
Pages: 271 - 278

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Published online: 13 December 2012
Published in print: December 2012

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Address correspondence to:Richard R. SuminskiOffice of Community Health Research465 SEPKansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences1750 Independence Ave.Kansas City, MO 64106E-mail: [email protected]
Dr. Suminski is an associate professor of physiology and director of the Office of Community Health Research at the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. Dr. Connolly is a research assistant at the Office of Community Health Research, Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences. Dr. May is an associate professor of anatomy and a senior researcher at the Office of Community Health Research, Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences. Dr. Wasserman is an assistant professor of bioethics and the deputy director of the Office of Community Health Research, Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences. Dr. Olvera is an associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Houston in Houston, TX. Dr. Lee is an associate professor in the Department of Health and Human Performance at the University of Houston.

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