'Pocket Parks' Start Popping Up Over All Over L.A. Pocket Parks are little green spaces embedded in an otherwise built-up neighborhood. Urban theorists say it's beneficial to have small spaces like these that are less than 20,000 square feet and can serve people within a tenth of a mile of the park. Los Angeles has plans for 50 new parks like this and they're bulldozing foreclosed homes to make way for some of them. In this City Life Snapshot — we get a before and after picture of a new park on 49th Street in South L.A.

'Pocket Parks' Start Popping Up Over All Over L.A.

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Now another trend in urban development, the Pocket Park.

DARRYL FORD: My name is Darryl Ford. I work for the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks.

SIEGEL: Los Angeles and the L.A. Parks Foundation are taking advantage of the real estate downturn and home foreclosures, to create a host of new small parks, as we hear in this City Life Snapshot.

FORD: The 49th Street Park project is being built as a part of the city's 50 Parks Initiative. And as it sounds, the initiative on the part of the city is to build 50 small public parks in dense communities. So the project formally was a residential home which was demolished. It was purchased with federal funds. And our department is working here to construct a Pocket Park.


FORD: We want to build as many new, small public parks in our really dense communities in Los Angeles, 'cause we know that they're communities that need more park space.


FORD: It's a small park. It's a little under 5,000 square-feet. We're constructing a new playground. Those are types of parks that we're trying to build, parks that really are going to have an impact on the local community.


FORD: Good morning, all. And welcome to the newest park in the long history of parks of the city of Los Angeles.


ASHLEY HERRERA: My name is Ashley Herrera and I like to be here. I like the little park because we could play, everyone could come in.

MANUEL SIXO: My name is Manuel Sixo(ph). I'm in third grade. I'm eight. It looks different because the other parks are dirty with trash all over.

HERRERA: That one is not.

FREDERICO CORDOBA: My name is Frederico Cordoba. I'm a third grade teacher for an elementary school. And we're inaugurating this park, Pocket Park. This area is called South L.A., South Los Angeles. It's an area full of crime, unfortunately, and the neighborhoods are rough. And there's often police presence here in this area. And so the kids really look forward to a place like these. Most of the time they don't have a place to go and they stay home. So this pocket park provides a chance for kids to go to new places, explore.


SIEGEL: That makes three new parks opened so far, 47 more to go in the 50 Parks initiative in Los Angeles. You can tell us about your favorite urban oasis. Tweet us @NPRcities. And send us a picture from a park in the heart of your city. Go to npr.org/nprcities to find out how.

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