Neighborhood Parks and Recreationists’ Exposure to Ozone: A Comparison of Disadvantaged and Affluent Communities in Los Angeles, California

  • Patricia L. WinterEmail author
  • Pamela E. Padgett
  • Lee-Anne S. Milburn
  • Weimin Li


Urban parks are valued for their benefits to ecological and human systems, likely to increase in importance as climate change effects continue to unfold. However, the ability of parks to provide those myriad benefits hinges on equitable provision of and access to green spaces and their environmental quality. A social–ecological approach was adopted in a study of urban park use by recreationists in the City of Los Angeles, contrasting two affluent and two disadvantaged communities situated in coastal and inland zones. Twenty-four days of observations distributed across morning and afternoon time blocks were gathered, with observations in each day drawn from a pair of affluent and disadvantaged community parks. Observers noted location, gender, age, ethnicity/race, and level of physical activity of each visitor encountered during four scheduled observation sweeps on each day of field work. In addition, ozone dose exposure was measured through passive monitoring. Ozone dose exposure was calculated using average hourly ozone in ppb multiplied by METS (metabolic expenditures). Dose exposure was significantly higher in the disadvantaged community parks (with majority Latino use). Findings suggest that additional monitoring in disadvantaged communities, especially inland, may be prudent to facilitate community-based information as well as to assess the degree of potential impact over time. Additionally, mitigative strategies placed in urban parks, such as increased tree canopy may help to reduce the degree of risk and improve community resilience. Future research examining the positive outcomes from physically active use of urban parks may benefit from adopting a nuanced approach in light of the present findings.


Urban community resilience Climate change Ozone Recreation use Physical activity 



This research was conducted jointly by the Pacific Southwest Research Station, US Forest Service, and California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (PSWRS RJVA 13-JV-11272131-051). Both agencies provided in kind support, with the Forest Service providing funding to the university through the Joint Venture Agreement. David Olson, Pacific Southwest Research Station, US Forest Service (PSWRS) assisted with technical support aspects of this study through all phases. David Jones (PSWRS) assisted by preparing the Ogawa samplers for field deployment and analyzing the field samples in the chemistry lab. Field data were gathered by graduate and upper-division students from the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (Cal Poly Pomona), including Ernesto Altamarino, Jason Bingham, Paulo Castaneda, Adam Kehoss, Flor Mota, Jeremy Munns, Jeff Palmer, and Kristen Misa Sullivan. Field team coordination and housing of field materials was provided by Kristopher Penrose, also of Cal Poly Pomona. Natasha Nava-Gutierrez and Sandra Jimenez, contractors with the US Forest Service aided data entry and verification. Kevin Rincon (PSWRS) and Neil Rhodes (volunteer) assisted with moving materials and data between the Cal Poly offices and the US Forest Service lab. The City of Los Angeles granted access to seven of our eight park locations, herein recognized for their valuable assistance with special thanks to Louis Loomis. Tree People granted field team access to their park (Coldwater Canyon).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Institutional Review Board and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Institutional Review Board approval was granted through California State Polytechnic University, Pomona File Review # 14-0111.


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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. government work and its text is not subject to copyright protection in the United States; however, its text may be subject to foreign copyright protection  2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.US Forest ServicePacific Southwest Research StationRiversideUSA
  2. 2.California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, ENVPomonaUSA

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