Go Outside and Play: Public Green Space Accessibility and Practicality in Portsmouth, Virgina

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Elihu Rubin
Essay Abstract: 
Portsmouth, Virginia is a small industrial city that is restricted in its ability to provide adequate public access to parks and urban green spaces. While the city is limited in land area, it designates less than 2% of its land to parks and recreational space, far below the national median of 15%. Budget constraints further prevent the city from staffing existing parks, making necessary improvements, and planning community activities. As a result, many of its parks are neglected and/or unsafe. With limited social connections throughout the city’s neighborhoods, residents lack the organization necessary to reclaim community parks and green spaces. The city must grow its support for parks, recreation, and its residents by providing community programming, engaging in private partnerships with local businesses, and increasing public safety in open spaces. This support can be increased through careful planning decisions and civic determination to improve the city.