Note: PRECEDE is only compatible on desktop. Have feedback? Interested in collaborating?

Public Repository to Engage Community and Enhance Design Equity

Lack of Park Access


The percentage of the population living outside ½-mile of a park.

Context/Impact on Health

Having access, via walking or biking, to parks is important for overall health. Using parks and recreation services is associated with positive health impacts, including the physical, social, and mental aspects of health. The distance from a person’s home to a park is a strong predictor of frequency of use. Parks provide spaces for members of a community to engage in physical activity. Being physically active is associated with several physical health benefits including improved cardiovascular health; weight loss or maintenance; decreased risk of becoming obese or developing type II diabetes, high blood pressure, hypercholesterolemia, osteoporosis, or other chronic diseases; and is associated with positive psychological health benefits (i.e., reduction in stress and depression). Evidence also suggests that access to the outdoors and contact with nature may promote mental health by relieving stress and encouraging social interactions among friends and neighbors.

Data Collection Methodology

The number of people living outside a 1/2-mile radius of a publicly accessible park was determined at the census tract level using the area-proportion technique. The area-proportion technique first calculates the proportion of the census tract that is outside the 1/2-mile to a park, then multiplies this proportion by the population of the census tract to estimate the number of people living within that portion of the census tract.  These estimates are then aggregated to the county and state levels. Percentages are calculated for each level of geography by dividing the estimated number of people lacking park access by the total number of people living in that geographic unit (i.e., census tract, county, state).


Click here for References
  1. CDC National Environmental Public Health Tracking. Community Design Indicator: Access to Parks and Public Elementary Schools. Updated May 31, 2023. Accessed November 13, 2023.
  2. Ho CH, Payne LL, Orsega-Smith E, Godbey G. Parks, Recreation and Public Health. Parks and Recreation. 2003;38(4):27.
  3. Ulrich RS, Simons RF, Losito BD, Fiorito E, Miles MA, Zelson M. Stress Recovery during Exposure to Natural and Urban Environments. Journal of Environmental Psychology. 1991;11(3):201-230. doi:
  4. Vaughan CA, Colabianchi N, Hunter GP, Beckman R, Dubowitz T. Park Use in Low-Income Urban Neighborhoods: Who Uses the Parks and Why?. J Urban Health. 2018;95(2):222-231. doi:10.1007/s11524-017-0221-7
  5. Wolf KL, Flora K. Mental Health and Function – A Literature Review. Green Cities: Good Health. College of the Environment, University of Washington. 2010. Accessed at: