A Groundbreaking 10-Minute-Walk Park Plan
Just over 44 percent of residents in El Cajon can walk to a park in 10 minutes. That’s well below the U.S. average of 54%, according to the Trust for Public Land. It’s also the reason why the City of El Cajon—a first-round recipient of an NRPA, TPL and ULI 10-Minute Walk grant—asked us to develop one of the nation’s first 10-minute walk park plans.
El Cajon is ethnically and culturally diverse, built-out, and a city with a legacy of limited and unequally distributed parkland. It is also hub for refugees. Forty-three percent of its residents speak Spanish, Arabic, Chaldean or a language other than English at home. The City asked for guidance in conducting workshops and setting up outreach forums to learn more about its residents’ unique needs across the community, especially for youth and the City’s underserved and underrepresented populations.
Combining park network mapping, demographics, outreach, and our expertise in park and recreation planning and design, MIG identified options for partnerships and a menu of innovative solutions for the City’s 26 unserved areas that lack parks within a 10-minue walk. The resulting plan, El Cajon 2030: Connecting People to Parks, has become a national model for addressing park service gaps through a combination of partnerships, acquisition, programming, small-scale site improvements, and using otherwise underutilized space to provide all residents the benefits of recreation and greenspace.