An Age-Friendly Park is one that is inviting and accessible to people of all ages and abilities. The Age-friendly Parks Checklist was created in 2010 by PCA and the Fairmount Park Conservancy, with input from Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, to encourage more park usage by seniors.
Example features include shaded areas, railings along stairways, wide and firm sidewalks for wheelchairs, and more. Two environmental advocacy groups, the Next Great City Coalition and the Philadelphia Parks Alliance, provided additional feedback on the checklist. The list is intended to be used as a tool by seniors, park designers, volunteers, and administrators to evaluate and enhance local green spaces and identify progressive ways to design parks.
In 2011, the partners conducted four focus groups at senior centers and housing sites throughout the city to hear seniors’ thoughts on the list and to adjust accordingly. The group learned that all checklist features were considered important to seniors, yet the presence of safe, clean bathrooms was critical for attendance, as was perceived safety (from pets, bikes, cars, and trip hazards). Additionally, the group learned that seniors wanted to go into parks in groups, such as with walking groups or for events. In 2011 the partners visited several parks to identify and promote the most “age-friendly” parks and in 2012 they visited parks with an occupational therapist.