News Coverage

23 May 2021

RICHLAND SOURCE: Green space in cities can bring considerable health benefits for communities



Category: News Coverage

With the arrival of spring, Platte Farm Open Space, located in the diverse, working-class neighborhood of Globeville in north Denver, comes alive with native grasses, pollinator gardens that attract bees and butterflies, and wildflowers, such as Mexican hat, asters, poppies, and Gaillardia.

“This is a beautiful amenity — a beautiful piece of space that was previously being abused,” says Jan Ediger, a longtime resident of Globeville. A former brownfield site, Platte Farm is 5.5 acres (just over 2 hectares) of open green space in the heart of Globeville that, along with the wildflowers, grasses, and gardens, has walking trails, a play area for children, and a detention pond to help prevent localized flooding.

Once a dumping ground for trash and industrial pollution in Globeville, the development of Platte Farm Open Space was a 14-year journey — a collaborative effort between the community members of Globeville, the city of Denver, and Groundwork Denver, a nonprofit organization that works to create green spaces to help improve community health.

“A lot of people come through here walking and jogging. That never used to be the case,” Ediger says. “We always had a few people coming through on the way to the bus stop, as a pass through, but now people come here for exercise. We see kids playing, riding bikes, and their parents come with them.”

Health Disparities and Access to Green Space

Urban greenery, such as the shortgrass prairie of Platte Farm Open Space, benefits people’s health and recreation. But access to nature is unequal for lower-income communities and communities of color compared to affluent white communities.

This past summer, the Center for American Progress and the Hispanic Access Foundation released a report finding that communities of color experience “nature deprivation” at three times the rate of white Americans. According to the report, 74% of communities of color live in nature-deprived areas, with Black communities experiencing the highest levels of deprivation.

report from the Center for American Progress and the Hispanic Access Foundation found that communities of color experience “nature deprivation” at three times the rate of white Americans. Chart by the Center for American Progress based on an analysis by Conservation Science Partners (CSP). Click image to expand. 

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