Module 5: Parks and Recreational Facilities

At a glance

This module helps users assess the plans, policies, environments, and resources for community access to parks and recreational facilities.

Multigenerational women walking in the park.

About this module

Who should be involved: Experts with knowledge of the community's parks and recreation, as well as planning policies, plans, and resources. These include experts in:

  • Parks and recreation.
  • Planning.

Time to complete: It will take approximately 40 minutes to complete Module 5.

Special notes on Module 5

The Active Communities Tool Assessment, Module 5, covers the plans, policies, environments, and resources for access to parks and recreational facilities.

This module does not address the quality of parks or programming available in the parks and recreational facilities. These are important factors to consider and are beyond the scope of this tool.

Terms and definitions

Comprehensive plan: An official statement adopted by a local governing body. This statement sets forth (in words, maps, illustrations, and tables) goals, policies, and guidelines intended to direct the present and future physical, social, and economic development that occurs within its planning jurisdiction. This includes a unified physical design for the public and private development of land.

Connector: A short road, path, trail or sidewalk that connects an area to parks and recreational facilities.

Dwelling unit: A structure or part of a structure that is used as a home, residence, or place to sleep by one person who maintains a household or by two or more persons who maintain a common household.

Health disparities: Particular types of health differences closely linked with social, economic, and/or environmental disadvantage. Health disparities negatively affect groups of people who have systematically experienced greater obstacles to health and/or clean environments based on their:

  • Racial or ethnic group.
  • Religion.
  • Socioeconomic status.
  • Gender.
  • Age.
  • Mental health.
  • Cognitive, sensory, or physical disability.
  • Sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Geographic location.
  • Other characteristics historically linked to discrimination or exclusion.

Health equity: When everyone has the opportunity to be as healthy as possible.

Open space: Any open piece of land that is undeveloped—has no buildings or other built structures—and is accessible to the public. This can include land that is partly or completely covered with grass, trees, shrubs, or other vegetation, also called green space.

Open streets: Initiatives or programs that temporarily close streets to automobile traffic so people can walk, cycle, and roll. Also referred to as ciclovias.

Park: Delineated open space areas with significant vegetation and/or water, generally reserved for public use. Parks may refer to:

  • Public parks.
  • Beaches.
  • Lakes.
  • Swimming pools.
  • Boardwalks.
  • Playgrounds.
  • Recreation centers.
  • Sports fields.