Health & Wellness
Miami Takes the Long-Range View
areas were not designed with an eye for encouraging recreation and fitness.
Indeed, this issue is inherent in much of the infrastructure in the U.S.,
creating significant barriers to park access and utilization.
Parks, Recreation, and Open Spaces Department is developing a Parks and Open
Space Master Plan to reduce park inequity and increase physical activity. The
50-year vision seeks to reduce both current and future barriers to health and
develop a comprehensive framework for a more livable county. Miami-Dade County
estimates an 80-percent increase in population by 2060—from 2.5 million to
approximately 4.5 million people.
follows principles for equity, beauty, access, sustainability, and seamlessness.
The goal is to create a connected system of open spaces that encourage walking
and incidental exercise, including parks, natural areas, and cultural amenities
that are linked by greenways and blueways, streets, bike paths, and trails. Along
with the plan, the county updated its urban design manuals to further promote physical
The park and
recreation department is focusing efforts on neighborhoods with the greatest
overall disparities in health and park access. An extensive analysis was
conducted to identify underserved areas for the formulation of policies and
acquisition plans. The ultimate vision is for each resident to be able to
access a park within one-quarter mile of where they live.
Due in part
to the plan, Miami was one of only 12 metro areas in the country selected for
the Red Fields to Green Fields program. The national research effort analyzes
the effects of acquiring financially distressed properties and converting them to
public parks and land banked for future sustainable development.
To develop and implement the Parks and Open Space Master Plan,
the Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation, and Open Spaces Department is supported by the
Miami-Dade Health Department and a variety of other agencies. The partners hope
their activities will help address current and future gaps in recreation
programs and facilities in the county and lead to a healthier, more active, and
more sustainable future.
Amy Kappis a
freelance writer in Northern Virginia (firstname.lastname@example.org).