BETTER TOGETHER: COMBINING PARKS AND AFFORDABLE HOUSING TO BUILD MORE EQUITABLE COMMUNITIES
Written by Beth Kent1
California has an abundance of natural resources and wealth-generating industries, which make it a desirable place to live. But California also has a well-known affordable housing shortage, and a lesser known, but still well-documented, inequitable distribution of green space.2 Currently, 62% of Californians do not have sufficient park access, and there is over $1 billion in unmet maintenance needs at local parks.3 While the State and local governments are undertaking many initiatives to address the housing crisis, and there are several programs to increase park equity, opportunities remain to do more of both. And one promising solution is to combine new park development with new affordable housing development to create joint development projects that can provide both resources for low-income communities of color.
The phrase "joint development of parks and affordable housing" was coined by the Los Angeles Regional Open Space and Affordable Housing Collaborative (LA ROSAH), which has been working to advance joint development projects and educate stakeholders and decision makers about the benefits of joint development since 2016.4 LA ROSAH’s approach is one that could be replicated throughout the state.