Parks for an Aging Population: Needs and Preferences of Low-Income Seniors in Los Angeles

Parks provide important physiological and psychological benefits to seniors, improving their quality of life; they are particularly important for low-income, inner-city seniors who lack access to open and green space. However, seniors do not often use parks partly because park design and programming are not responsive to their diverse needs and values. To identify what low-income, inner-city seniors seek and value in neighborhood parks, and to provide guidance to planners on how to better design senior-friendly parks, the authors conducted a literature review and held focus groups with 39 low-income, ethnically diverse seniors in an inner-city neighborhood in Los Angeles (CA). They asked these seniors about their preferences as well as the challenges and barriers they encounter in using neighborhood parks. Seniors report many impediments to park use; they are not provided appropriate programming that allows opportunities for socializing, safety, and security within the park and along access routes; opportunities for exercise and walking; and aesthetic and natural elements that provide contact with nature. Park planners and designers should seek to incorporate senior voices in park design and programming in four ways by developing appropriate programming sensitive to diverse needs, accommodating the desire for “seniors-only” parks, promoting security and safety in the park and along access routes, and offering open and green space. The authors also find the need for additional research on seniors from different racial and ethnic backgrounds.


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  • Accession Number: 01605502
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 29 2016 3:00PM