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Dr. Alessandro Rigolon on Development Fees and Park Equity in Los Angeles

Dr. Alessandro Rigolon and other researchers published a paper looking at development fees and park equity in Los Angeles. The full article can be accessed here.


Parks are inequitably distributed in many U.S. cities, and policies and planning initiatives around the country have sought to rectify these inequities. In this study, we examined whether one such initiative, a policy change in development fees for parks in Los Angeles (CA), achieved its equity goals. Specifically, the changed Park Fees Ordinance loosened the distance requirements between developments where fees are collected and parks where fees can be invested to create opportunities to spend funds in disadvantaged neighborhoods with little development. We examined whether disadvantaged communities received more park fees after the policy change in 2017. We found no significant equity gains based on socioeconomic status, some gains for non-Hispanic Black people, but some losses for Latinx people. We attribute these findings to a lack of equity criteria in the policy, political pressures, capital renovations to address deferred maintenance, and geographic limitations in where funds can be spent. We also found that Los Angeles seemed to have taken advantage of the increased geographic flexibility in the changed policy, although a lack of data linking fee-generating developments to fee-receiving parks limited the certainty of this finding.