The Mission of Washington Parks & People is to grow city-wide park-based community health & vitality by nurturing innovation & partnerships.
Our Track Record:
Since our beginnings in 1990, Washington Parks & People has been helping to transform forgotten and even dangerous locations into living green places that serve their communities. Parks & People connects immediately and directly to people where they live. We understand and address ecological and social issues in a local, human way—by equipping neighbors with knowledge and tools to reclaim their own public spaces. Our scope is geographically small—in some cases literally block by block. We work across the city to address injustice and empower local residents to transform their public spaces.
Washington Parks & People provides leadership and support for a city-wide movement for equity, health, and restoration. From Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park in Northwest DC to Marvin Gaye Park in Far Northeast, Parks & People is reclaiming community spaces and restoring hope. Our efforts address the most basic community needs by making possible safe play, urban agriculture, public health programs, public art and performances, education and sustainable landscape architecture.
People Transforming Parks, People Transforming Washington
Washington Parks and People’s success is grounded in our reliance on committed community members and leaders — those people who understand and want safe green public spaces that contribute to personal safety, health, economic justice, and learning. Through our relationships with community partners in neglected and under-served neighborhoods, we mobilize individuals, private organizations and government bodies to transform dysfunctional land into safe green spaces that invite community use.
An early and enduring example of Parks & People’s success in helping to bring light and life back to blighted places is Washington’s Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park. In 1933 this large, twelve-acre site modeled on elaborate formal European parks, came under the management of the National Park Service. Although under Federal Government management, the park was lost to drug use and other serious crime during the 1970s and 1980s. The murder of a teenager outside the park in 1990 sparked the formation of the Friends of Meridian Hill — now Washington Parks & People. It was through a combination of tenacious advocacy and courageous neighborhood patrols that WPP reclaimed Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park.