How Inclusive are our Parks and Recreation Centers?

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Group of 2019 Capital Pride Parade attendees posing for a photo with Mayor Muriel Bowser with the Rainbow Pride Flag in the back

Three months of pandemic lock-downs, followed by an intense period of protests against racial inequality, highlighted more than ever, the immense value of city parks and recreation centers to provide the much needed outdoor space and diverse services for our communities. This extraordinary time also evidenced a sad reality, the huge disparities in parks and recreation accessibility and inclusion in many cities.

Even though the main goal of parks and recreation centers is to provide communities with quality amenities and programs that make their lives healthier and more enjoyable, this can represent a big challenge for any growing city. As difficult as it can to be to discuss inclusion and accessibility, it is DPR's responsibility to work towards reducing the disparities in DC by making parks and recreation centers more welcoming and inclusive to people of all backgrounds, especially to our most vulnerable populations and community members.

We would like to make it a priority topic during the planning process for the DC SCORP 2020 and Ready2Play Master Plan starting with a conversation around the four categories listed below:

1. Race / Ethnicity / Culture: How can DC parks and recreation centers increase accessibility and inclusiveness both in our design and programming so that members of all races, cultures, ethnic groups, and immigrant and refugee communities, feel welcome and comfortable using DPR spaces to celebrate our collective diversity?

2. Gender / Sexual Identity: How do we make our parks and recreation centers a safer and more enticing space for women and members of the LGBTQ+ communities?

3. Age: Are our parks and recreation centers offering enough accessible and age-appropriate amenities and programs for all ages? Are there certain age groups that feel left out?

4. Physical / Cognitive Disabilities: How can we make our parks and recreation centers more adaptive for individuals with physical and/or cognitive disabilities?

EVERYBODY should BE PART of this conversation by leaving ideas to improve inclusion in DC parks and recreation, sharing stories of inclusion / exclusion, completing a short survey or selecting a barrier that makes parks and recreation centers less inclusive.

Three months of pandemic lock-downs, followed by an intense period of protests against racial inequality, highlighted more than ever, the immense value of city parks and recreation centers to provide the much needed outdoor space and diverse services for our communities. This extraordinary time also evidenced a sad reality, the huge disparities in parks and recreation accessibility and inclusion in many cities.

Even though the main goal of parks and recreation centers is to provide communities with quality amenities and programs that make their lives healthier and more enjoyable, this can represent a big challenge for any growing city. As difficult as it can to be to discuss inclusion and accessibility, it is DPR's responsibility to work towards reducing the disparities in DC by making parks and recreation centers more welcoming and inclusive to people of all backgrounds, especially to our most vulnerable populations and community members.

We would like to make it a priority topic during the planning process for the DC SCORP 2020 and Ready2Play Master Plan starting with a conversation around the four categories listed below:

1. Race / Ethnicity / Culture: How can DC parks and recreation centers increase accessibility and inclusiveness both in our design and programming so that members of all races, cultures, ethnic groups, and immigrant and refugee communities, feel welcome and comfortable using DPR spaces to celebrate our collective diversity?

2. Gender / Sexual Identity: How do we make our parks and recreation centers a safer and more enticing space for women and members of the LGBTQ+ communities?

3. Age: Are our parks and recreation centers offering enough accessible and age-appropriate amenities and programs for all ages? Are there certain age groups that feel left out?

4. Physical / Cognitive Disabilities: How can we make our parks and recreation centers more adaptive for individuals with physical and/or cognitive disabilities?

EVERYBODY should BE PART of this conversation by leaving ideas to improve inclusion in DC parks and recreation, sharing stories of inclusion / exclusion, completing a short survey or selecting a barrier that makes parks and recreation centers less inclusive.