The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. In this episode of Press Play we talked with Carter Strickland, the organization’s State Director for New York and New Jersey. They work nationwide, and you can watch their videos on nyxt.nyc/tpl.
Every park, playground, and public space we create is an open invitation to explore, wonder, discover, and play. - Carter Strickland
NYXT: What is your story working with The Trust For Public Land?
Carter Strickland: For over 40 years, The Trust for Public Land has been creating parks and protecting land across the country, including here in New York. We have created over 200 vibrant community playgrounds in New York City, opened new parks, and protected land across the state. I lead the team that does all that amazing work.
NYXT: What societal problems are you trying to solve?
CS: Spending time in nature—days, hours, or just a few minutes—enriches our lives. It makes us feel rejuvenated. Healthier. Happier. The Trust for Public Land’s mission is to create parks and protect land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Every park, playground, and public space we create is an open invitation to explore, wonder, discover, and play.
NYXT: What accomplishments would you like to share with us?
CS: Have you ever noticed how many schoolyards look more like parking lots than places to play? We saw these barren, asphalt, schoolyards —uninviting to students and closed to the community— and we recognized an amazing opportunity to reinvent them as vibrant community parks. When we first started redesigning schoolyards in New York City 20 years ago, the Big Apple had less green space per person than almost anywhere else in America. Since 1997, we’ve transformed more than 210 schoolyards across New York City, putting a great new park within a 10-minute walk of more than four million New Yorkers.
We start by working with the community and schoolchildren to imagine a different future from the asphalt that surrounds them, and we take them on field trips to completed parks and introduce them, often for the first time, to beautiful natural areas. Then we work with them on the designs, and build a park quickly so that they can see tangible results from what had been only a dream.
NYXT: What are the spaces that you will be working on during next year?
CS: Despite all the amazing work I’ve told you about, more than half of the school playgrounds in New York City provide schoolchildren with only a barren asphalt area to play. That’s where we come in. We’re working with communities all over New York City to redesign schoolyards—and by making them accessible to the community after school and on weekends — we can put a great park within a 10-minute walk of millions of New Yorkers.
NYXT: How can people participate and engage with TPL?
CS: We depend on the ongoing support of individuals to make sure our work carries on well into the future. Please donate at https://www.tpl.org/donate/ny and then follow us on Facebook and Instagram to see the difference our works make every single day.
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