Brief From the Streets to Citizen Spaces
Positioning Parks and Green Spaces in an Equitable COVID-19 Recovery
Kimberly Burrowes, Joseph Schilling
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Despite their many economic, health, social, and environmental benefits, many parks and green spaces are underresourced or underutilized. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the urgent need for parks and green spaces, but for many people in the US, particularly people of color and people with low incomes, quality parks and green spaces are inaccessible. Addressing these disparities and harnessing these spaces and key civic infrastructure requires consistent and targeted resources. To inform US policymakers’ efforts to launch new, equitable public-space efforts, we scanned international policies that could inform how we democratize access to public spaces in the US. In this brief, we explore “superblocks” in Barcelona, Spain, as a promising and adaptable strategy for repurposing streets as shared public space.

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This brief is part of a larger project exploring how innovative policies and programs from abroad could inform state and local efforts in the US to advance an inclusive recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Resources from the full project are available at

Research Areas Global issues Neighborhoods, cities, and metros
Tags Infrastructure Transportation International urban development and the environment International development and governance International policy analysis Parks and green space
Policy Centers Research to Action Lab