Evaluating the Community Parks Initiative
Building Healthy Communities
June 22, 2016
The Community Parks Initiative (CPI) is a $285 million renovation and revitalization effort spearheaded by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.
CPI identified 134 parks with extreme capital needs in underserved neighborhoods, five of which were located in NYSHealth’s Healthy Neighborhoods Fund sites. CUNY School of Public Health was awarded a grant from the National Cancer Institute to study the impact of CPI on physical activity, park usage, psychosocial and mental health, and community wellbeing. To support a supplemental evaluation of the five neighborhoods in Healthy Neighborhoods Fund sites identified by CPI, NYSHealth awarded a grant in 2016 to Research Foundation of the City University of New York (CUNY). CUNY collaborated with another NYSHealth grantee, New York University School of Medicine (NYU), to help determine the combined effect of CPI and NYSHealth’s Building Healthy Communities activities on the physical activity and overall health of residents.
Under this grant, CUNY worked with NYU to collect and share data from residents in neighborhoods from the five sites in East Harlem and the South Bronx. Specifically, residents were surveyed on key supplemental issues, such as fat, beverage, fruit, and vegetable intake; knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about healthy eating and physical activity; community involvement; and awareness and use of community resources. Compared with data from control neighborhoods, the evaluation provided a more thorough understanding of the impact of NYSHealth’s collective efforts to build healthy communities. In addition, CUNY presented its findings at relevant local, State, and national forums and published these findings in peer-reviewed journals.