Cover: Park Marketing Strategies, Park Conditions, and Park Use

Park Marketing Strategies, Park Conditions, and Park Use

A Longitudinal National Study of Parks

Published in: Journal of Physical Activity and Health, Volume 16, Issue 12, pages 1154–1162 (December 2019). doi: 10.1123/jpah.2018-0426

Posted on Nov 9, 2023

by Andrea S. Richardson, Bing Han, Stephanie Williamson, Deborah A. Cohen


Parks present opportunities for recreational physical activity and mental relaxation; however, they are underutilized.


The authors examined how changes in management directly and indirectly impacted park use. Using a national sample of 169 parks sampled from 25 cities, the authors linked park management reported via surveys with systematic direct observation of park use, park-based physical activity, and park conditions observed during the spring/summers of 2014 and 2016. The authors used structural equation modeling to estimate longitudinal pathways from changes in park management and conditions to changes in park use.


Increases in subsidized meal offerings and greater use of marketing to promote park events predicted increased person-hours of total weekly park use. Pathways predicting park use varied across user and activity type.


The authors' findings suggest that changing park management practices combined with park conditions may promote park use.

Research conducted by

This report is part of the RAND external publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.