Parks for All Californians

Help build the "What Works?" Library!


"What Works?" is a page in the Health in Parks Brochure that emphasizes access, design, programming, and marketing.

Are you aware of research or other documents about:

  • Access: topics may include the importance of close-to-home parks, solutions to overcome social barriers, and safe passages from neighborhoods to parks, etc.
  • Design: topics may include community-based planning solutions or successful park design for health, etc.
  • Programming: topics may include how programs have attracted more park visitors, increased healthy activities in parks, and made parks safer, etc.
  • Marketing: topics may include public marketing solutions, etc.

How to contribute

Please send your recommended additions to with the following:

  • A brief summary about the key findings, why you recommend this item, and the library category(ies) the item would best fit.
  • Your name, title, and organization, if applicable, so that we may recognize your contribution(s) to California’s Health in Parks Research Library.
  • Web address link to the item. If the item is not online, please attach the item to the email. Please zip the file if greater than 25 MB.


Title Summary
Parks After Dark Evaluation Brief

The Parks After Dark (PAD) program is a model to promote health, safety, equity, and community well-being through health and safety partnerships in parks. 95% of participants agreed PAD improved relationships with Deputy Sheriffs and neighbors. PAD saved approximately $4 million in health and crime expenditures.

The First National Study of Neighborhood Parks

“Offering more programming, using marketing tools like banners and posters, and installing facilities like walking loops, may help currently underutilized parks increase population physical activity.”

This study helps provide standards for park use and can help guide park and recreation providers towards improving community health.

This article also discusses Physical and Mental Benefits.

Parks Build Healthy Communities: SUCCESS STORIES

Barbara Tulpine, President and CEO of the National Recreation and Park Association states, “Parks and recreation are powerful catalysts for physical activity and engagement.”

Learn about programs that empower local park and recreation agencies to bring together local leaders and stakeholders to implement policy and environmental changes that promote healthier lifestyles.

Save Your Park & Recreation Department Reference Material

The National Recreation and Park Association provides reference material on the economic impact, health and physical activity benefits, crime prevention, as well as transportation programs and park access disparities meant to help position park and recreation as an essential service in their communities.

State Funding Mechanisms for Outdoor Recreation (August 2017)

This report compares state strategies to fund parks and recreation.

Complete Parks Playbook

Describes the 7 elements of a safe, connected, and healthy parks system. It suggests policies for improving each element and presents success stories from California cities. An abbreviated Spanish-language version of the Complete Parks Playbook — Los sistemas completos de parques — is also available.

Complete Parks Indicators

Recommends indicators for assessing a parks system and measuring its evolution into a Complete Parks system.

Complete Parks Model Resolution

Provides sample language that a city or county government can use to commit to creating a Complete Parks system and establish a formal process for developing a Complete Parks plan.

Funding Complete Parks

Presents ways for local agencies in California to fund a Complete Parks system or increase funding for parks.