Park Chelsea is meant as an alternative addition to our existing Chelsea Parks system. I happened upon this doctoral thesis that is congruent with the Park Chelsea way of thinking.
ALTERNATIVE WAYS, LOCATIONS, AND PARTNERS TO MEET THE
RECREATIONAL NEEDS OF UNDERSERVED COMMUNITIES:
THE CASE OF FLORENCE-FIRESTONE link
Traditionally, park agencies address the shortage of urban parks by trying to increase
the number and acreage of parks in underserved areas. Such an approach focuses
exclusively on physical solutions, i.e. the development of new parks, requires substantial
financial and land resources, and presumes that the parks department is the only
supplier of recreational opportunities. Given the lack of public funding and land for new
urban parks, this traditional approach is no longer typically feasible.
This paper presents an alternative approach that focuses on the provision of recreational
services through multiple-use facilities and partnerships with a wide variety of public,
nonprofit, and private organizations. This approach rightfully recognizes parks as a
means to address recreational needs rather than an end itself, and shifts park agencies
from being producers and guardians of parks to being facilitators of recreational
services. Instead of focusing alone on developing new parks on its own and devoting
significant resources on land acquisition and facility construction, park agencies should
actively identify and pursue alternative ways, locations, and partners to offer recreational
Alternative ways could include: the joint use of school facilities; the
introduction of recreational uses on land owned by utilities; mobile gyms; transportation
of residents to outside recreational facilities; and temporary use of parking and vacant
lots, reuse of existing buildings, and temporary closure of streets for recreational
purposes. The key component of this paper is a case study to demonstrate how this
alternative approach of meeting recreational needs may be implemented in Florence-
Firestone, an underserved area in South Los Angeles.
A number of studies reviewed in the American Journal of
Preventive Medicine showed that “creation of or enhanced access to places for physical
activity combined with informational outreach” produced a 48 percent increase in the
frequency of physical activity (Kahn, pp. 87-88). These studies also found that easy
access to a place to exercise resulted in a five percent median increase in aerobic
capacity, along with weight loss, a reduction in body fat, and improvements in flexibility
(Ibid, pp. 87-88).