Successful Advocacy for Accessible Parks and Healthier Neighborhoods

Innovation Round

A desire to address social, economic, and environmental justice issues in historically underserved neighborhoods has cultivated a movement of greenspace advocacy, which can take many forms. This innovation round will highlight change-making strategies for more accessible parks through strong partnerships with neighbors and local businesses, healing-centered engagement with community groups, ways of testing good ideas, and creative programming.

Presenters will share compelling stories of how community empowerment creates opportunities for local residents to help shape the design and character of the places where they live, leading to the positive long-term transformation of neighborhoods experiencing poverty.


  • Learn how to maintain a successful programming schedule during the pandemic
  • Learn foundational approaches to building a culture of healing-centered engagement, and how to lift the expertise and culturally affirming thought leadership of community members as tools for collaborative decision-making
  • Consider the relative importance of parks being designated parks in perpetuity given that temporary parks or greenspaces on private property may fill an important gap in areas with parks deficits
  • Understand the importance of incremental and fast-moving projects to maintain community excitement and build stewardship and pride in the evolution of the park space


Željka Carol Kekez

Principal, PLACE

Akiima Price

Family & Community Engagement Specialist, Self

Elizabeth Hollister

Executive Director, Upper Westside Community Improvement District

Dionne Grayman

President and Co-Founder, We Run Brownsville

Rachel Frierson

Director of Programming, Detroit Riverfront Conservancy