The Healthy Parks Healthy People: Bay Area collaborative (HPHP: Bay Area) was created in 2011 with the goal of improving the well-being of Bay Area residents through the regular use of parks and public lands. This collaborative brought together more than 50 park, health, and community organizations dedicated to building innovative, cross-sector partnerships.
In its first year, HPHP: Bay Area members launched a regional program called First Saturdays. The First Saturday programs were designed to provide free, introductory, and accessible park programs for first-time or infrequent park users. The goal was to provide a welcoming experience for individuals to enjoy the health benefits that parks provide. Currently, more than 20 park agencies across the Bay Area offer consistent First Saturday programs.
After successfully institutionalizing First Saturdays throughout the region, HPHP: Bay Area focused on piloting Park Prescription programs at the county level. In these programs, health care and social service providers encourage their patients to take advantage of First Saturday and other programs to get into the parks for their health and well-being. As of 2018, each of the nine Bay Area counties are in various stages of designing and implementing their own Park Prescription programs.
For more information on the development of and lessons learned from this initiative, please check out our HPHP: Bay Area Roadmap and Case Study.