2021 Grants Challenge

Developing Healthy, Active Green Spaces in Communities Who Need It Most

Every child deserves the ability to walk to a park no matter their zip code. The Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust will work until every child in Los Angeles has equal access to the clean, safe and active green spaces they need.


In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

County of Los Angeles

What is the problem that you are seeking to address?

Los Angeles currently ranks 49th out of the 100 largest cities in the country for the amount of green space per 1000 residents. While there is a significant lack of green and recreational space throughout LA County, low-income communities of color fare much worse. A 2016 countywide analysis of green space found that communities with very high or high park need were 90% predominately communities of color. One’s race, income, and geography have come to predict whether that individual has access to a park or garden. Additionally, a direct correlation exists between park-poor neighborhoods and poor health. There is a 12-year life expectancy gap across LA County, as well as higher rates of childhood obesity and premature mortality from cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Green space access correlates to public health benefits, including lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, lower self-reported stress, lower rates of crime and domestic violence, and improved air and water quality.

Describe the project, program, or initiative that this grant will support to address the problem identified.

A grant from LA 2050 will help LANLT engage and move forward 1-3 prospective projects in underserved communities in LA County while maintaining and activating the 12 parks and gardens we manage year-round. Core to the LANLT's mission and key to its successful model are the equally important pillars of organizing, design and development, and stewardship. The first phase of a new park, garden or renovation project always starts with deep community engagement and stakeholder involvement, where residents help to identify spaces and envision the projects by identifying their priorities. Through door-to-door outreach, workshops, focus groups, park-based events, and monthly meetings, we develop not only residents who engage in their own neighborhood vision, but resident leaders who take pride and steward their open spaces. Key to our successful model is our Park and Garden Stewardship Program, which engages local community residents to be the caretakers of their neighborhood greenspaces. This unique approach to operating, maintaining and activating our parks and gardens fosters both community ownership and economic development. LANLT Stewards help to ensure that our sites are clean and safe so that they can continue to serve as welcoming community spaces promoting mental wellbeing and healthy lifestyles. Our sites have proven track records of less vandalism, increased safety, and high utilization, while our residents are empowered and trained to address neighborhood issues.

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 255,000

Indirect Impact: 500,000

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

If we are successful at not only managing and activating the 12 parks and gardens we manage year-round as well as achieving the ability to move forward on 1-3 prospective parks, we will not only have provided clean, safe and active green spaces for over 230,000 Angelenos, we will also have engaged between 4 and 10 communities that currently have very little access to green space for play, rest or fresh food and be on our way to providing these spaces for between 5,000 and 25,000 additional LA County residents. This will provide physical and mental health benefits as well as empower residents in long underserved communities of color beyond 2050.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

Our 12 owned or managed sites have consistent year-round care by resident caretakers, are active with community events and free programming and have proven track records of less vandalism, increased safety, and high utilization, while our residents are empowered and trained to address neighborhood issues. By developing park and garden spaces that allow community members to play, connect, and gain access to fresh produce, we are impacting public health and making positive changes that include lower rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, hunger, and depression. Our parks frequently include community gardens that supply fresh and healthy produce and promote vibrant neighborhood life by providing a space for colorful celebrations/events that unite neighbors and families.

Which of the PLAY metrics will you impact?​

Access to open space and park facilities

Easy access to a safe park

Perceived neighborhood safety

Indicate any additional LA2050 goals your project will impact.

LA is the healthiest place to LIVE