Parks and public open space have important health benefits. The amount and type of park space is a key element of urban design and impacts people’s perceptions of ‘neighborliness’ and safety. Quality parks that are used by residents can have positive impacts on physical activity, stress reduction, community building, and injury prevention.[i] Satisfaction with and use of parks and recreation facilities, hinges upon perceptions of the quality, maintenance, and accessibility of amenities. Challenges in accessing parks can arise from factors including proximity, public safety, the level and type of services provided, social exclusion, and the management and design of the space.
In 2015, the Controller’s Office made significant changes to the City Survey methodology to ensure that the survey reached a representative sample of San Francisco residents. In previous years the City Survey had been administered primarily by mail, while the 2015 survey was administered primarily by phone. Due to these changes, differences in survey results between 2015 and previous years should be interpreted with caution.
In survey years 2011 and 2013, the proportion of residents visiting city parks on average, at least once per week remained relatively the same, with the percentage being roughly 10% higher citywide than in District 6. In 2015, after the survey methodology changed, the proportion of residents visiting a city park increased by about 10% citywide and 16% in District 6, demonstrating similar park visiting behaviors among District 6 residents compared to the city as a whole.
Office of the Controller, San Francisco City Survey, 2011-2015, available here: http://sfcitysurvey.weebly.com/.
[i] National Center for Environmental Health. “Parks and Trails Health Impact Assessment Toolkit.” Center for Disease Control and Prevention, June 2, 2016. http://www.cdc.gov/healthyplaces/parks_trails/#health.