Neighborhood Parks Council
451 Hayes Street, 2nd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94102
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More than most places, San Franciscans need their parks. Just seven miles by seven miles and locked in on all sides by ocean water and neighboring towns, San Francisco is one of most developed cities in the country. Millions of daily tourists and commuters only add to the crush.
Lucky for its locals, San Francisco is also checkered by tons of local parks - over 200 in all. From iconic locations like Golden Gate Park and Lands End, to locals-only spots like Glen Park and Bernal Hill, SF's open spaces give residents a much-needed release from urban pressure.
For the Neighborhood Parks Council,or NPC, the city's parks are also giving folks a way to connect with an important urban species -- other humans. Here and elsewhere, urban parks provide the setting for resident to give back and get involved in a cause that everyone shares, no matter their gender, creed, or color.
The idea that urban parks can be the site of so much cultural interaction is particularly exciting for Chloe Good. Before she became NPC's outreach coordinator, Good studied the key role of parks in such challenging environments as New York City and Mexico City.
According to Good, San Francisco's physical constraints and growing population make it the perfect lab for her favorite subject.
"I like that our organization is ensuring that the community, including people who are often overlooked, is part of creating the vision of and caring for our neighborhood parks," she said.
The NPC helps parks by providing park-related education, planning and research. Since 1996, the organization has grown to include more than 120 of San Francisco's local park groups, each of which has become a "steward" of their park. This umbrella approach gives it key insight into how different neighborhoods are experiencing their own green spaces -- and which policies are doing the most good.
"I enjoy working in an environment where the bottom line is not focused on generating revenue, but fostering community and promoting a livable city," she said.
Despite so many volunteers, Good says the need for more and more help from the community is a fact of life. "Recruiting volunteers who want to return to the same site regularly and become stewards of the park is difficult," she said.
Truly, keeping our cities green isn't easy. What a great reminder that in order for our parks to be there when we need them, we need to be there when they need us, too!
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