Beyond Safe Routes: Shared Use

Beyond Safe Routes: Shared Use

School districts and municipal organizations increasingly see shared use agreements as one of the most promising strategies to create opportunities for physical activity within a neighborhood or community.

Making use of playgrounds, fields, and gymnasiums that would otherwise not be open after hours for basketball games, Zumba, yoga classes or other types of activity allows for a more efficient use of public space and money, and is an inexpensive strategy against childhood obesity, particularly in low-income communities.

As part of our work to create safe, healthy communities where all people have the opportunity to be physical active, the National Partnership is committed to advancing shared use agreements in local communities across the country and at the national level. We play a key leadership role with Voices for Healthy Kids, a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and American Heart Association, which seeks to reverse childhood obesity by 2015 through proven research and advocacy strategies.

Studies show that the number of children who are physically active outside of school is 84 percent higher when schoolyards are kept open for public play. 

As part of our shared use work, we have convened a National Shared Use Task Force composed of a broad array of shared use experts and practitioners across the country whose aim is to elevate the discourse around increasing access to safe places to play and be active. 

In states and local communities, National Partnership staff work with local leaders and organizations to facilitate shared use agreements with schools, faith-based institutions, hospitals, and other community spaces – particularly in underserved communities where there are fewer opportunities to be active.

Join the Shared Use Google Group to connect with experts and practitioners working on shared use across the country.