DataByte: Parks Around You

The SCOPE Community Report Card has been around for more than a decade and is a staple of our data initiative. We collect data from national and local government and organizations to report on different indicators that fall into nine defined domains of well-being: Health, Learning, Social Environment, Built Environment, Culture and Recreation, Natural Environment, Transportation, Economy, and Civic Participation.

This is a handy tool for our Sarasota community. The data allows us to find areas where Sarasota County is doing exceptionally well, or where more attention needs to be focused. When those areas are pointed out, community initiatives can be rallied to address the issues.

As a result of our High Tech High Touch Workshops last year, we were able to identify which areas or domains residents were most interested in. Not surprisingly, parks and accessibility to parks were on the list! We have been working on expanding the data we are collecting in this domain of well-being, connecting with many individuals around the county on this topic.

In the meantime, we created an open source Google Map that shows the location of parks, fields and recreation centers, as well as natural lands and access to the Legacy Trail.

Both public and academic research has proven time and time again the many economic, social and environmental benefits of public parks. Explore the Active Living Research website for all the research you could possibly need. Or skim this article by the Trust for Public Land that outlines some crucial benefits in economic, social, environmental and public health domains.

  • Homes located near parks have a higher value than homes without easy access to green space.
  • Trees and greenery have the ability to filter pollutants out of the air and water, providing cleaner air and cleaner water.
  • Trees and greenery in parks can work to control stormwater runoff, sometimes more effectively than man-made infrastructures.
  • Parks also provide safe places for children to play and stay active and have shown that access to safe parks lead to increased physical activity and health.

ALR_Infographic_ParksRecreation_Oct2012The general consensus: You  can’t go wrong with parks!

Imagine how parks can benefit you, personally:

  • Parks improve physical health as they promote active lifestyles, as well as psychological health because they provide accessibility to less developed spaces and a place to connect with a more natural environment.
  • Parks provide a restorative space in which to disconnect from a sometimes hectic daily life.
  • Parks improve community cohesion when connectivity between residents increase as they share these public spaces.

The list goes on!

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We’d like to know: In what small ways do parks benefit you?

Take a look at the Google Map and explore your community parks!

We challenge you to explore the parks around your community and perhaps plan adventures to visit those that intrigue you.

Sarasota County has a very streamlined and efficient Parks and Recreation Department that is dedicated to improving and maintaining its public parks. Public parks are not only a vital asset to the Sarasota County community, they are also community landmarks, peaceful corners, and adventure trails.

 Disclaimer:

We cannot guarantee that all of these locations are precisely correct or that this is a wholly inclusive list.

If there are any you would like to add to this map, let us know. We’d like to visit them!