The National Study of Neighborhood Parks

Resource Type
Dataset : observational data
  • Cohen, Deborah (RAND Corporation)
Publication Date
Funding Reference
    • Award Number: R01HL114432
Free Keywords
parks; physical activity
  • Abstract

    This data is from the National Study of Neighborhood Parks and includes 2 waves of data. IN 2014 data were collected from 174 parks in 25 cities. In 2016 data were collected from 193 parks in 27 cities. The data include observations of parks following a SOPARC protocol, as well as summaries of park characteristics and conditions.
  • Technical Information

    Response Rates: n/a
Temporal Coverage
  • 2014-04-01 / 2016-08-31
    Time Period: Tue Apr 01 00:00:00 EDT 2014--Wed Aug 31 00:00:00 EDT 2016
  • 2014-04-01 / 2016-08-31
    Collection Date(s): Tue Apr 01 00:00:00 EDT 2014--Wed Aug 31 00:00:00 EDT 2016
Geographic Coverage
  • national
Sampled Universe
Smallest Geographic Unit: cities
Study design We used a two-stage stratified sampling strategy to select a representative sample of neighborhood parks in the US cities with a population of at least 100,000 according to the 2010 Census.28 The total 289 cities were divided into nine strata, with eight strata based on population (200,000-1,000,000, and 100,000-200,000) and region (West, Northeast, Midwest, and South), and the ninth stratum comprising cities with more than 1 million population.  In the first sampling stage we randomly drew 25 cities from the 9 strata (see Appendices). All states were in the sampling frame, and by chance all sampled cities were in the 48 continental states.  In each of the 25 selected cities we retrieved a list of public parks, either directly supplied by the city’s Department of Recreation and Parks or from their website.  We restricted selection to avoid parks in close proximity (< 1 mile from each other) and to ensure distributions of chosen parks were similar with regard to sizes and local poverty rates for  all neighborhood parks within each city.  We initially targeted parks between 3 and 20 acres,9 but in nearly half the cities large numbers of neighborhood parks were slightly below 3 acres or just above 20 acres.  As a result, we relaxed the selection criteria to include ten parks below 3 acres (between 2.2 and 2.9 acres) in eight cities and five parks above 20 acres (between 20.1 and 23.0 acres) in five cities.  We included 174 parks, representing approximately a 10% sample of all eligible neighborhood parks in the sampled cities.  We excluded parks located in a census tract with no or very few residents (airport, prison, military base, hospital, industry facility, etc.), pocket parks (smaller than 2 or 3 acres), regional parks (larger than 20 or 23 acres in some cities), parks used as school fields during business hours, and parks serving special purposes only (parkways, boxing gyms, etc.). We replaced 2 parks that police said were unsafe for staff to visit.
Collection Mode
  • coded on-site observation;


Update Metadata: 2020-06-24 | Issue Number: 2 | Registration Date: 2020-01-04