Complete Parks Playbook

As a public health advocacy professional working with local governments, I struggle on an ongoing basis with how a significant number of local elected officials do not link their land use policy decisions to public health problems. Specifically, parks, recreation, and open spaces provide a potent strategy for the treatment and prevention of weight-gain, obesity, and diabetes epidemics, and various chronic health problems. They also have great potential to be the engines of economic development, yet their administration is on the chopping block every time local governments have trouble balancing their budgets! The Complete Parks Systems concept originated under the auspices of the Healthy Eating Active Living Cities Campaign through a series of statewide brainstorming sessions held with the California Parks and Recreation Society leadership in early 2014, looking at parks’ contributions to community health and how they are perceived by locally elected officials. This Playbook is intended to be a valuable resource for local policymakers, professionals working in local government, and local advocates to help place parks, recreation, and community services in a central position they deserve in local government. Kanat Tibet Director — California HEAL Cities Campaign California Center for Public Health Advocacy Foreword