About Catherine Nagel, Executive Director, City Parks Alliance

Catherine Nagel is the executive director of City Parks Alliance (CPA), the only nationwide independent organization dedicated solely to urban parks. Under her leadership, CPA has established the Greater & Greener biannual conference, created the bipartisan Mayors for Parks coalition, and developed a training program for equitable public-private park partnerships. Nagel is a co-investigator with the RAND Corporation in the first national study to determine the correlation between urban parks management and policies and physical activity.

Parks for All, Not Just the Privileged: Data-Driven Approaches to Park Equity

City Parks Alliance believes that all residents deserve access to high quality parks, and we believe that cities are wise to prioritize access for all residents for the health, environmental, and community benefits. That is why we also recently commissioned Investing in Equitable Urban Park Systems: Emerging Strategies and Tools, as part of a national initiative to help cities address park equity while promoting innovative strategies for funding parks and green infrastructure. Urban Institute led the research and published the report, which explores funding models and their equity considerations in cities of various sizes across the country.

New Public and Private Funding Strategies for Urban Parks

Across the country, urban parks are enjoying a renaissance. Dozens of new parks are being built or restored and cities are being creative about how and where they are located. Space under highways, on old rail infrastructure, reclaimed industrial waterfronts or even landfills are all in play as development pressure on urban land grows along with outdoor recreation needs.

These innovative parks are helping cities face common challenges, from demographic shifts, to global competitiveness to changing climate conditions. Mayors and other city officials are taking a fresh look at parks to improve overall community health and sense of place, strengthen local economies by attracting new investments and creating jobs, help manage storm water run-off, improve air quality, and much more. When we think of city parks holistically, accounting for their full role in communities, they become some of the smartest investments we can make.

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