2014: How Can I Improve My Park?
This collaboration of New Yorkers for Parks, the Center for Urban Pedagogy and Partnerships for Park is designed to help park advocates navigate the often complex road to securing funding for local park improvements – from maintenance concerns like litter, broken benches or overgrown grass, to capital projects, like a new dog run or playground, increased signage or better wheelchair access.
Like all essential public resources, New York City’s parks require significant investments. Existing parks need renovations and repairs. Growing and underserved neighborhoods need new parks. The NYC Parks Department, which is responsible for carrying out capital improvements in parks, has been criticized by many for running behind schedule and over-budget on these projects. Working with Public Works Partners, NY4P has explored how the department can improve its capital process through interviews with several City agencies that conduct capital projects, along with the City's offices of Management and Budget and Contract Services. The report offers a number of straightforward steps that the Parks Department can take to ensure a capital process that is timelier, more cost-effective, and transparent.
In an era of budget constraints, how can the Parks Department most efficiently allocate public dollars? Answering that question requires tracking visitor patterns across the park system. In this study, NY4P partnered with New York University to demonstrate how such a model could work – specifically, in ten playgrounds across the city, across the four seasons. The report includes a discussion of how such a tracking method could help the city assess not only Parks Department resource allocation, but also initiatives such as the Department of Transportation’s Public Plazas Program. The study also details specific observations reported by users of the ten playgrounds – playgrounds are vital neighborhood resources and particularly important assets for lower-income households, for example– and provides detailed briefs on each property. Read the study and playground snapshots.
2010: Supporting our Parks: A Guide to Alternate Revenue Strategies
As municipal governments increasingly seek innovative ways to augment public dollars for city services, NY4P has become a leading voice on creative financing mechanisms for new parks. This report provides a balanced, comprehensive look at potential revenue streams to generate funding outside of the City budget to support parks. NY4P is building on this study by exploring funding mechanisms currently being employed for the creation and maintenance of parks in New York and elsewhere, and looking at whether they increase financial resources available to the city’s 2,100-plus parks while preserving their character and ensuring equitable distribution of parks resources citywide.
2008: Parks for All New Yorkers: Immigrants, Culture, and NYC Parks
This report, conducted in partnership with Baruch College’s School of Public Affairs, explored the connections between park services, cultural uses of open space, and immigrant communities, and offers recommendations on how the Parks Department can best serve this rapidly-growing segment of the city’s population.
2007: Making the Most of Our Parks
NY4P commissioned the Citizens Budget Commission to analyze the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. The report made several policy recommendations, including a call for stronger incentives for increasing concession and other earned revenues, institutionalized responsibility for strategic planning for parks, the introduction of a timetable for bringing all parks facilities to an acceptable condition, improved the quality and productivity in parks maintenance and operations, and the establishment of preventive maintenance and longer periods of usefulness by funding routine repairs and replacements in the operating budget. Read the full report here
NY4P examined the financial and environmental costs of natural vs. synthetic turf, as well as the implications for usage, maintenance, health and safety. The report assesses community input processes and offers policy recommendations for the best use of turf in neighborhood parks.
2002: How Smart Investment Pays Its Way
This report, conducted with Ernst & Young, examines the economic impact of investment in parks on surrounding real estate values. NY4P conducted site surveys of six parks across the city and researched the history of capital investment in them. Ernst & Young assessed each park’s relationship to local real estate value by analyzing tax assessments, sale prices and turnover rates of the commercial and residential properties in the immediate area in comparison to the broader marketplace. Read the full report here
2002: Natural Areas Initiative
The Natural Areas Initiative report presents a blueprint for the protection and effective management of New York City’s 12,000 acres of Parks Department-owned natural areas, which include estuaries, forests, ponds, and other habitats. A joint publication of New York City Audubon and NY4P, the report promotes cooperation among nonprofit groups, communities, and government agencies to protect natural areas and raise public awareness about the value of these open spaces.