How Do Latinos in and Around Chicago Use Parks, Trails and Sports Facilities?

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Applied Life Studies examined how Latinos living in and near Chicago used parks, trails and sports complexes and the amenities available at each of these open spaces.

This project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's (RWJF) Active Living Research program. The program funds research that improves knowledge and policies regarding ways that environmental factors affect physical activity, particularly for children.

Key Findings

  • The number and length of visits differed across the three types of open spaces. People visited the parks more often than they visited trails or sports complexes.
  • Weekday uses differed from weekend uses. On weekends, people came with extended family members and remained at the facilities for several hours.
  • Men were more likely to be involved in physical activities, and women were more likely to be involved in passive activities.
  • When park environments leave needs unmet, Latino visitors find ways to address these needs. Family groups informally sold ice cream, beer or other food items to each other. They also used open areas as gathering places that reflected Mexico's plazas or Puerto Rico's markets.