Our city is about to begin Master Planning for our city’s parks system. In light of this undertaking, we would like to call your attention to the effects of historic and on-going disparity and its pernicious consequences for our city’s neighborhoods and people.
The outcomes of racially and economically motivated developmental, zoning, and infrastructure policy in our city are self-evident given that Lubbock’s toxic emission sites, heavy/agricultural industry and rail, airport, waste processing, wall-like freeways, closed schools, municipal dumping grounds and junkyards, its warehouses, eyesores and light polluters, unpaved streets, and its undeveloped/underdeveloped land are disproportionately concentrated into our city’s minority, low income, and “older” neighborhoods. Until these disparities are solved, they will persist…Lubbock and its people will not be made whole…and we will all suffer from the effects of the decay they create…especially those citizens who most directly experience them now. Their placement and concentration are outrageous, settlement of their effects a moral and ethical imperative.
Measures to resolve these disparities are well known and, in fairness, are ongoing (if more slowly than the gravity of the situation demands). An opportunity to expand upon these measures lies in the Parks Master Planning we are about to undertake. And, it is an opportunity that we must take full advantage of as this process is only done once every decade.
Using parks, gardens, greenspaces, and tree canopy as engines of development and desirability for our neighborhoods that have been “left behind” will help start a virtuous cycle of economic, health, and social prosperity. The environmental remediation greenspaces provide would greatly mitigate the negative health and neighborhood desirability effects brought about by the presence of Lubbock’s heavy industry. Close collaboration with stakeholders (especially the citizens themselves, the new neighborhood planner, local businesses, and others) and innovative designs will ensure the parks plan reflects the needs and hopes of our current constituents, will help us capture prospective residents, and will point our city toward a prosperous future.
The city has promised a robust public engagement process with numerous opportunities to express your thoughts on this key issue for Lubbock’s future. We invite all residents to engage with Parks Master Planning as it unfolds in 2021.