“Well-maintained parks promote community engagement and civic pride. Neighborhood parks attract and connect individuals of all ages and ethnic backgrounds who share a vision for the betterment of their surroundings. Neglected public spaces can become vital community assets when residents, civic groups, and city leaders come together. Whether transforming vacant lots to community gardens, planning for a future park, or beautifying existing public green spaces, parks provide opportunities for people to take ownership of their community, which improves quality of life.
Parks control urban sprawl and reduce crime, creating safer communities. Research shows that there is less crime in residential areas close to parks, in part because these green spaces are frequent gathering places for community members. The result is stronger community connections that empower residents to look out for one another.
Green revitalization in a distressed area can be a beacon of change for the entire community. New or refurbished signature parks in city centers or redeveloping communities can promote social health, generate jobs, and spur economic growth. In areas where urban parks have been used as redevelopment tool, surrounding vacancy rates have dramatically dropped by as much as 40 percent. Regardless of size, these anchor parks stimulate workforce development. New and revitalized parks create construction and maintenance jobs. With the emphasis on smart growth (economic growth that seeks to avoid harming the environment and communities), parks increasingly provide a gateway to green career paths in urban and community forestry and watershed restoration.” http://www.cityparksalliance.org