Finding Local Inspiration For The Green Space Challenge

By Cindy Trillo

Elk Grove is blessed by its green spaces, yet there’s a good chance that many residents of the city will not have equitable access to them. According to The Guardian, up to 100 million Americans – or roughly 1 in every 3 – have inadequate access to parks and other green spaces. Creating green spaces is a more difficult process than you might think; it’s all too common to see neglected city corners with patchy grass and trees. Elk Grove is making strides in providing these spaces, but local stories can provide inspiration on how to create desirable and safe green spaces.

Looking to Sacramento

Sacramento has some fantastic parks, but the city hasn’t decided to rest on its laurels. The City of Sacramento authority recently highlighted a series of improvements being implemented at its McKinley park, including a water vault that improves water retention, benefiting both the city and the plants of the park. The park has also seen consistent landscaping. Landscaping is a crucial process to creating and maintaining green spaces – both in developing pleasant spaces for visitors, and in ensuring plants are well kept. Well designed and functioning green spaces can provide inspiration.

Up the creek

Plants, wildlife and wild spaces are a key part of an engaging and productive urban green space. Explore Elk Grove California notes how that wild nature is seen extensively in trails around the city, whether that be the bike park, Laguna Creek Parkway, or Stone Lakes Refuge. Looking outside of the urban space and towards the rich wild history of the region is a great place for the city to look.

Putting it into practice

Good work is already being completed. In November, KCRA highlighted the opening of The Preserve, a multi-use green space in the heart of District 56. The site has a range of modern amenities, including a fitness center, amphitheater and playground, but also has a strong focus on green areas, the wilderness, and water. This is a great example of what modern green spaces should be – functional, and engaging, but with a strong nod to nature.

Following this blueprint will ensure fair access to everyone in the city, regardless of their background. The health benefits of green spaces are multi-faceted, whether primarily physical or mental. They are a must-have for any modern urban dweller, and the more well-maintained green spaces, the better.

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