Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced last week that he intends to build 50 pocket parks in the next two years.
In the past six year, the mayor have overseen the addition of 650 acres of new green spaces, more than in the previous dozen years, according to the LATimes.com.
Construction on several parks in South Los Angeles would begin next month, deputy mayor Sarah Sheahan told the LATimes.com
The parks, which will range from 5,000 square feet to 20,000 square feet, will provide much needed green space in park poor South LA.
South Los Angeles – nearly 100 square miles and a million people – is the most park poor area of Los Angeles, with about 1.2 acres of park space per 1,000 people. Western Los Angeles county has 59 acres of parks per 1,000 residents.
The initiative is an important for health and for economics. While obesity is a problem for Americans in all walks of life, it’s worse when you don’t live near a park, when access to public transportation is limited, when sidewalks are broken and streetlights are few.
The neighborhoods of South Los Angeles suffer more than most:
• Thirty-three percent of children there are overweight.
• One in seven residents has diabetes, compared to one in 12 in West L.A.
• Forty-two percent of South L.A. residents live below the federal poverty level, compared to only 12 percent in West L.A., and the numbers correspond with the rate of diabetes in each area.
Click to read:
Part 1 - Healthy 'Hoods: Obesity is a problem in Los Angeles, but South LA suffers more.
Part 2 - Healthy 'Hoods: How do you build a healthy community?
Part 3 - Healthy 'Hoods: Getting Outdoors in South Los Angeles.
Part 4 - Healthy 'Hoods: Leimert Park’s Hidden Passage to Health.
Part 5 - Healthy 'Hoods: Greening South Los Angeles.
The project was made possible through the support of the USC Annenberg Health Journalism Fellowship program, funded by the California Endowment. LeimertParkBeat.com, SoCal Connected and KCET-TV partnered to produce this series.