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How to Improve Your Community with Pocket Parks

Small but mighty, pocket parks have the ability to transform a community. In urban areas that lack recreational space, pocket parks offer a solution. With just an abandoned alleyway or vacant lot, these small areas can be reimagined into tiny parks that offer value to the surrounding area.

What is a pocket park?

A pocket park, also known as a minipark or a vest-pocket park, is a small plot of land that is typically no more than ¼ of an acre. Pocket parks are generally located in urban areas with limited green space and can be found as benefitting low-income areas. These renovated spaces allow for unused or run down land to serve a specific purpose for the surrounding community. Pocket parks should be easily accessible for community members, meaning that the park should be walkable. Pocket parks are created in areas in need of this renovation, therefore the parks should primarily benefit the surrounding community.

What is the purpose of a pocket park?

Pocket parks create use for vacant plots of land as well as offer additional benefits. One of the more common purposes of these parks is to create recreational space for youths in urban areas. Whether that is a playground or just green space for children to run around, these parks offer a solution to youths lacking the much needed space. Another common use for pocket parks is the ability for the space to be used as a community gathering. By allowing a common area in a community, residents can have an easily accessible place to come together and build relationships. This area can also be used as a space to go to relax or a place to take visitors. Apart from a physical space to visit, pocket parks offer intangible benefits. These appealing areas can, “increase safety and boost community pride,” according to Pocketparks.

According to the NRPA, pocket parks have four key qualities:

(1) they are accessible

(2) allow people to engage in activities

(3) are comfortable spaces and have a good image

(4) are sociable places where people meet each other and take people to when they come to visit

How do pocket parks help the environment?

In dense urban areas, pocket parks help to encourage more green space. By having an area with grass, gardens, or trees, this space can help to support the ecology while conserving the wildlife. Green space can additionally help to reduce pollution in the area, thereby improving the health of the community. Some pocket parks have even taken to constructing community gardens in their pocket parks, which supports naturally grown foods and a strong sense of accomplishment, which can boost mental health.

What are the benefits of pocket parks?

Pocket parks allow local communities to come together to make a positive change. As a group, residents are given the chance to work as a team to decide on what purpose their pocket park will serve. This process can help to build healthy relationships within the community while offering a sense of accomplishment. Pocket parks can also help to improve the appearance of the area, especially in low-income areas or areas that are run-down. This nicer appearance can help to deter crime and improve the mental health of the community. It has even been found that pocket parks can help increase surrounding property values.

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