How Can I Improve My Park?

Whether you need a bench repaired or want a basketball court, improving your local park is a confusing process to navigate. If you aren’t familiar with the many layers of New York City Government, it’s hard to know where to even begin.

CUP teamed up with New Yorkers for Parks, Partnerships for Parks, designer Elana Schlenker, and illustrator Leslie Wood to create a poster that makes it easier for people of all backgrounds and all of the city’s neighborhoods to advocate for improvements in their local park. The poster lays out the different agencies and officials involved in the process — from neighborhood park maintenance staff all the way to the mayor — and tells you when and how to talk to them to build support and raise funds for your park project. 

New Yorkers for Parks, CUP, and Partnerships for Parks will distribute “How Can I Improve My Park” at a free Partnerships Academy launch event for advocates at the Parks Department’s Arsenal headquarters.

Get the poster here.

A Spanish version of the MPP was launched in 2015. You can get your Spanish copy here.

Resources & Links

New Yorkers for Parks is the citywide independent organization championing quality parks and open spaces for all New Yorkers in all neighborhoods.

Partnerships for Parks is a joint program of NYC Parks and the City Parks Foundation that helps New Yorkers work together to make neighborhood parks thrive.

Elana Schlenker is an independent graphic designer and art director.

Leslie Wood is an illustrator based in Brooklyn, NY. 

People Make Parks is a set of tools and resources to help communities participate in the design of their parks, developed by Hester Street Collaborative and Partnerships for Parks. 

Making Policy Public is a program of the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP). CUP partners with policy advocates and graphic designers to produce foldout posters that explain complicated policy issues, like this one.

Funding Support

Support for this project was provided by the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Surdna Foundation, A Blade of Grass, the North Star Fund, and public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Additional support was provided by Council Member Julissa Ferreras. 

Special Thanks

Dylan House of Hester Street Collaborative, Ron Morrison, Mark Torrey, Frampton Tolbert, Noel Cunningham, and the individuals who gave feedback throughout the process, especially members of NYC Parks and public officials and their staff.


  • CUP
  • Sam Holleran
  • Valeria Mogilevich
  • Christine Gaspar
    • New Yorkers for Parks
    • Advocacy Partner
    • Alyson Beha
    • Jessica Feldman
    • Lucy Robson
    • Emily Walker
    • Robin Weinstein
    • Partnerships for Parks
    • Advocacy Partner
    • Jordan Pender

    • Elana Schlenker
    • Designer

    • Leslie Wood
    • Illustrator


    101 small ways you can improve your city
    • Curbed
    • November 02, 2018

    Fix up your local park. Does barely functional equipment take the fun out of your local playground? Would new basketball courts or equipment make the park next door more enticing? To help guide those seeking to get their public parks in tip-top shape, the Center for Urban Pedagogy created a guide for building coalitions, activating the community, and petitioning local government for change. It’s New York-centric, but the lessons can be applied everywhere.

    New Advocacy Guide Maps Path to Improved Parks
    • Gotham Gazette
    • July 30, 2014

    Park enthusiasts, including members of several community and advocacy groups, gathered to celebrate the publication of the guide and move the flourishing park advocacy movement forward, hoping to broaden involvement across the city.