Zoom

Local strategy map
Park access

The region’s recreational parks provides local residents with a range of social, health, and environmental benefits. However, some parts of the region have low levels of park access. Explore the map below to learn about the different levels of park access and the strategies to build more park space into existing and new neighborhoods.

Less than one acre

A park in Chicago.

 

Areas with the lowest level of park space — less than one acre per 1,000 residents—are found throughout the region, but are most common in older, denser neighborhoods in the region’s core, and newer subdivisions in the region’s periphery. In older communities, small pocket parks and adaptive reuse of former industrial areas and utilities corridors provide potential opportunities for expanding park access. In areas experiencing greenfield development, conservation design and proactive development ordinances may be the most appropriate tools for expanding park access.

One to four acres

A park in Chicago.

 

Areas with one to four acres of parkland per 1,000 residents are also more common in older communities, where pocket parks and adaptive reuse can help to integrate new parks into more densely developed areas.

Four to 10 acres

A park in McHenry County.

 

 

Communities with at least four acres of parkland per 1,000 residents meet the lower standard of park access. This level of access is most appropriate for dense, built out areas with limited space for new parks. In these communities, local leaders should focus on urban forestry and other tools that complement existing park space without the need for additional land purchases.

 

 

In areas with more open space, the higher, 10-acre threshold may to be achievable through subdivision, development, and redevelopment standards that require land to be set aside for public use. Adaptive reuse of parking lots, utilities corridors, and underutilized commercial and industrial space may also be useful.

More than 10 acres

A park in McHenry County.

 

Areas with more than 10 acres of parkland per 1,000 residents fully meet CMAP’s regional goal. These communities are found throughout the region, but are most common in more affluent suburban communities.


 

While these areas achieve the region’s park access goals, they should continue to focus on programming, land stewardship, and ensuring sufficient connections exist between the parks themselves and the residents they serve.