Joint Use Agreements Creating Opportunities for Physical Activity

A joint use agreement is “a formal agreement between two separate government entities—often a school and a city or county—setting forth the terms and conditions for shared use of public property or facilities. For example, city governments can contract with local school districts to allow community members to use playgrounds and fields when school is not in session. School districts commonly refer to such agreements as community use agreements. This brief will use joint use agreements to refer to both joint use and community use agreements.

This brief examines the characteristics of joint use agreements that were in effect during the 2009–2010 school year among a national sample of 157 public school districts.

  • Most school districts have a joint use agreement addressing recreational use of school facilities.
  • Community advocates can help school districts develop stronger joint use agreements by
    indicating which recreational facilities are eligible for use, by whom and when. The agreements also should address liability and repair responsibilities.

The Bridging the Gap Community Obesity Measures Project (BTG-COMP) focuses on policy and environmental factors at the community level that are likely to be important determinants of healthy eating, physical activity, and obesity among youth.

Bridging the Gap is a nationally recognized research program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation dedicated to improving the understanding of how policies and environmental factors influence diet, physical activity and obesity among youth, as well as youth tobacco use. The program identifies and tracks information at the state, community and school levels; measures change over time; and shares findings that will help advance effective solutions for reversing the childhood obesity epidemic and preventing young people from smoking. Bridging the Gap is a joint project of the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Institute for Health Research and Policy and the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research.