The Value of Parks

The iconic components of most major cities are found in their parks. Central Park in New York, Chicago’s Millennium Park, Boston Manor Park in Boston and San Francisco’s Golden State Park, to name a few. What these cities knew early on was that not only do these parks transform their city’s skyline, but they also provide real value and a return on investment.

The measurable economic value of a city with a well-designed and well-maintained network of city parks is reflected in the strength of its economy, the condition of its environment and the health of its residents and communities.

In short, parks build better cities – making them sustainable, liveable and vibrant.

One of the most visible traits of an attractive and healthy city, and an essential component of its infrastructure, is a healthy park system that includes plenty of greenways, trails, blueways, open spaces and great streets. This type of park system spurs economic development by attracting homebuyers and boosting residential property values.

To help increase the County’s social, economic and environmental values and overall livability and visitor experience, Miami-Dade Parks created and is implementing the Open Space Master Plan. The plan creates a healthier, greener and more economically vibrant community, built on principles of equity, access, beauty, seamlessness, sustainability and multiple benefits.

Conservation and stewardship are an integral part of Miami-Dade Parks’ management practices. The department maintains 26,000 acres of natural areas including the Western Greenway and its conservation plan protects the fresh water of the Everglades and addresses adaptation to climate change. An expanding landscape of native trees and vegetation offers low cost and natural solutions to issues of rising sea levels, storm water runoff and air pollution. Successfully working to grow Miami’s inadequate tree canopy, more than 220,000 new trees have been planted since Neat Streets Miami first launched the Million Trees Miami campaign in 2011.

The health of a community begins with the health of its residents – no matter the age. Miami-Dade Parks together with long-time park partner, the University of Miami School of Medicine have evidence-based results for the improved health of underserved, at-risk youth participating in the Parks Department’s Fit2PlayTM program, touted as a low-cost, high-value solution and national model in fighting the childhood obesity epidemic. For the over 55 active adult population, the department utilizes the nationally recognized evidence-based EnhanceFitness® exercise program, designed to improve functional fitness and well-being. Through a combination of strength-training, flexibility and cardio-conditioning exercises – everything that health professionals say is needed to maintain health and function at any age – older adults have an opportunity to improve their overall health.

An integral component to sustaining natural areas, increasing value and improving the health and resiliency of residents and communities is making an investment in parks.

Isn’t it time we started?

Volunteer Days

The Parks Foundation Has Launched Parks Passport

The world’s greatest park systems have conservancies and foundations to help sustain them now and for the future. The National Park Service receives support from the National Park Foundation, and New York’s Central Park is supported by the Central Park Conservancy. In that same way, the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade works to raise funds and be a conduit of support to help maintain South Florida’s largest, most historic park system: Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department.

Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces is the nation’s third-largest park system, proud of its uniquely rich profusion of 270 parks and 13,573 acres of land, beaches, trails, golf courses, and attractions like Zoo Miami and the Deering Estate. Not surprisingly though, basic government funding is inadequate to maintain, expand and sustain such a vast park system in one of the nation’s largest and ever-growing metropolitan areas.

The Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade is a 501 (c)3, non-profit organization established to support Miami-Dade Parks. The function of the organization is to ensure the present and future operation of these beautiful parks and facilities continues, and to provide quality recreational programs for every segment of the community.

The Foundation works with groups to adopt-a-park through volunteer and service projects. It also collaborates with organizations, donors and partners to build landmark parks and facilities, and to provide programs for children, seniors, people with disabilities, and at-risk communities.  Donations to the Parks Foundation have helped thousands of children learn-to-swim and hundreds more attend summer camp and afterschool programs.

The easiest way to get involved is by becoming a member.

The Foundation has launched a membership program called Parks Passport. This program offers new prices and appealing benefits, such as 25-percent-off admission to attractions including Zoo Miami, the Deering Estate and Miami EcoAdventures™.

Whichever way you choose to become involved, whether as a member, an advocate or a volunteer, what you do now will impact parks for future generations.  Let’s work together to make sure that parks are here to stay in this community.  The following are just some of the ways parks make a difference in communities:

  • Parks, greenways and trails enable and encourage people to exercise.
  • Exposure to nature improves psychological and social health.
  • Parks help build healthy, stable communities.
  • Park programs offer a variety of activities for everyone to enjoy.

For more information on the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade and how you can get involved, visit