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Equity Index

Milwaukee County Park’s Equity Index

Parks play an important role in elevating communities of color. Milwaukee Parks Foundation is committed to taking the necessary steps to create spaces that are safe, inclusive, and reflective of residents in the community. Together, we are working towards building a more vibrant and equitable parks system that benefits all.

Racial equity is central to our work. Milwaukee Parks Foundation works to reduce or eliminate racial disparities through investments and activation of park spaces that rank high on the Milwaukee County Park’s Equity Index. This approach to our work is in direct alignment with Milwaukee County’s vision that by achieving racial equity, Milwaukee becomes the healthiest county in Wisconsin. 

The Milwaukee County Parks Equity Index is a tool created to help inform those evaluating choices related to parks to consider equity as a determining factor. 

Determining criteria contributing to the Equity Index rankings include: 

  • Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Social Vulnerability Index 
    • Data types includes socioeconomic status, household composition & disability, minority status & language, and housing type & transportation.
  • Crime – Personal Crime Index 
  • 10-Minute Walk – Trust for Public Land’s 10-Minute Walk Analysis
  • Tree Canopy – Relative to County Average 

While never a replacement for public engagement or representation from diverse voices in decision making, this tool provides Milwaukee County Parks with a way to evaluate different locations in the County with a scale that measures need specific to each park site. The Milwaukee County Parks Equity Index is produced and reviewed on an annual basis by the Planning & Development Division of Milwaukee County Parks, racial equity ambassadors, and the Milwaukee County Office of Equity. 

Link to 2024 Equity Index.

Aerial view of Clarence and Cleopatra Johnson Park. (Photo by Wes Tank)