In 2008 National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA) launched a community revitalization program, Parks Build Community, to revive inner-city communities through purposeful park restoration and sustainability, with the understanding that the health of a park is directly connected to the health and beauty of its surrounding neighborhoods. NRPA’s initial program effort was Marvin Gaye Park. It resulted in a sustainable model for restoring blighted urban areas around the country. The Marvin Gaye Park project and its success are due in large part to the leadership of Washington Parks & People—most especially Steve Coleman and Autumn Saxton-Ross, working in partnership with NRPA. The generosity of other national partners, Playworld Systems, PlayCore, Landscape Structures, and Kompan, led to the revitalization of Marvin Gaye Park. It was rededicated and reopened as a place where children can play and experience their community like never before.
This guide showcases the Marvin Gaye Park in Washington, D.C, High Line Park in New York City, and, Lou Walker Park, DeKalb County, Georgia as examples of developing or redeveloping parks and open spaces, to become catalysts for revitalizing neighborhoods and communities.