Livable Lives Thriving Communities Working Paper

Social Ecological Constraints to Park Use in Communities With Quality Access

Evidence correlates physical activity, psychological restoration, and social health to proximity to parks and sites of recreation. The purpose of this study was to identify perceived constraints to park use in low-income communities facing significant health disparities, with access to underutilized parks. We used a series of focus groups with families, teens, and older adults in neighborhoods with similar demographic distribution and access to parks over 125 acres in size. Constraints to park use varied across age groups as well as across social ecological levels, with perceived constraints to individuals, user groups, communities, and society. Policies and interventions aimed at increasing park use must specifically address barriers across social ecological levels to be successful.

Subsequent publication: Hipp, J. A., Adlakha, D., & Chockalingam, R. (2013). Social ecological constraints to park use in communities with proximate park access. LARNet: The Cyber Journal of Applied Leisure and Recreation Research, 16(4), 23–36.

Project: Livable Lives Initiative


Hipp, J. A., Chockalingam, R., & Adlakha, D. (2011). Social ecological constraints to park use in communities with quality access (CSD Working Paper No. 11-36). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.