The PROSA Strategy is intended to be a high-level approach to identify and prioritize areas for park investments and improvements. It is a data-driven approach to guide park investments so that all communities have access to quality parks and recreational experiences, no matter where they are located in Fairfax County. The PROSA Strategy will inform decision-making and provide a path forward for improved walkable access to parks, access to a balance of recreational experiences, and habitat connectivity while prioritizing projects and park investments with an equity lens.
The first strategy is to improve 10-minute walk access to Park Authority parks. Having a park within a 10-minute (½ mile) walk from home encourages greater physical activity. Walkable park access is an important factor in measuring how parks are serving the community. Although over half of county residents have access to a Park Authority Park within a 10-minute walk from their home, 48% do not. Providing safe, walkable park access between parks and these households will allow everyone to enjoy the benefits of the outdoors.
The park entrance data used in this analysis includes existing entry points that were specifically developed to access or cross through parkland and are maintained by the Park Authority or another public entity. Informal, community, and social trails are not included in this analysis as they are not authorized or maintained by the Park Authority. The analysis looks at 10-minute walk access from park entrances and accounts for physical barriers.
To learn more about 10-Minute Walk Access, visit these industry leaders’ websites for more information:
The PROSA Strategy not only looks at access to parks, but it also examines experiences once you get to a park. Complete Park Access, the second component of the PROSA Strategy, looks at the types of activities within parks to provide a balance of recreational experiences within a community. Enhancing access to complete park experiences will ensure that all community members can enjoy a variety of recreational experiences. To achieve this balance countywide, all residents should have access to the following types of recreational experiences within a 10-minute walk or 5-minute drive from their home:
Each park may not have all these experiences, but residents should be able to access these experiences in one or more parks within a 10-minute walk or 5-minute drive from their home.
As the largest landowner in Fairfax County with over 23,850 acres, the Park Authority has a tremendous responsibility preserving the county’s natural resources. Enriching habitat connectivity between environmental corridors is the natural resources component of the PROSA Strategy. It consists of assessing tree canopy and habitat quality at Fairfax County parks.
Areas that are most in need of protection, conservation, and restoration, will be identified and prioritized accordingly in alignment with the Park Authority’s Natural Resource Management Plan and the other PROSA strategies. This component is a critical strategy that will allow FCPA to work towards improving the health of essential plant and wildlife habitats by providing a healthier condition of the natural environment. It also ensures that more residents have access to thriving natural spaces, contributing to a more equitable distribution of park and environmental benefits and helps to preserve local flora and fauna for future generations.
The Park Authority is committed to intentionally consider equity in the prioritization of park and recreation needs to ensure that parks enrich the quality of life for all members of the community. Equity is the commitment to promote fairness and justice in the formation of public policy that results in all residents – regardless of age, race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, national origin, marital status, disability, socio-economic status or neighborhood of residence or other characteristics – having opportunity to fully participate in the region’s economic vitality, contribute to its readiness for the future, and connect to its assets and resources.
Using Fairfax County’s One Fairfax Policy as the foundation, the Park Authority will apply the Park Authority Racial Equity Index (PAREI) along with population density to form this equity lens. PAREI scores are derived from the One Fairfax Vulnerability Index, combined with populations of people of color. Areas of the county that have a High or Very High Vulnerability PAREI rating are referred to as Opportunity Areas. The areas are a geographic representation of residents that are either socioeconomically vulnerable or have average socioeconomics and high concentrations of people of color.
Applying an equity lens will allow the Park Authority to identify where there may be gaps in the equal provision of park and recreation services and/or where park needs may be greater. It will also help to address historical racial and social inequities by prioritizing access to parks and park experiences so that all residents have access to high quality parks, programs, and services.