A new University of Missouri study shows that lower-income areas had more parks but fewer amenities. The study, conducted by Wilhelm Stanis with Katherine Vaughan from Kansas State University and Andrew Kaczynski of the University of South Carolina, was completed in Kansas City, Missouri. The study covered more than 200 parks.
The study also found that while lower-income neighborhoods had more parks, they usually were less aesthetically pleasing and had less features like playgrounds. Parks in largely minority areas had more basketball courts and fewer trails with water features. Sidewalks, interestingly enough, were more common in high-income and low-income areas than in middle-income neighborhoods.
The lack of amenities like playgrounds has direct impact on issues like obesity and community involvement.
“Studies show that certain features, such as playgrounds and trails, are important for physical activity,” said Stanis. “We do believe that more research is needed to examine how disparities in park environments are associated with activity levels and health outcomes.”
Stanis did indicate that since the study there has been marked improvement in the addition of new parks and playgrounds and improvements throughout low-income areas.