Exploring the distribution of park availability, features, and quality across Kansas City, Missouri by income and race/ethnicity: an environmental justice investigation

Ann Behav Med. 2013 Feb:45 Suppl 1:S28-38. doi: 10.1007/s12160-012-9425-y.


Background: Parks are key community assets for physical activity, but some evidence suggests these resources are not equitably distributed.

Purpose: This study examined disparities by income and race/ethnicity in the availability, features, and quality of parks across Kansas City, Missouri.

Methods: All parks and census tracts (CTs) were mapped using geographical information systems, and park features and quality were determined via audits. Multivariate analyses of covariance analyzed differences in park availability, features, and quality across low-, medium-, and high-income and race/ethnicity CT tertiles.

Results: Low-income CTs contained significantly more parks, but also had fewer parks with playgrounds and more quality concerns per park. High minority CTs had more parks with basketball courts, but fewer parks with trails. Medium-income CTs contained more aesthetic features per park.

Conclusions: Future research should examine policies that contribute to and that might rectify disparities in park features and quality, especially in low-income and high minority areas.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Income / statistics & numerical data*
  • Missouri
  • Motor Activity
  • Public Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Racial Groups / statistics & numerical data*
  • Recreation*
  • Residence Characteristics / statistics & numerical data*