Last week, TPL released the results from its annual survey of park systems in the nation’s 77 largest cities. We thought it worthy to delve into the data a bit in a couple of posts. We’ll start off with acreage, a measure that can be looked at a couple of different ways, using the top 20 cities for the most parkland as a percent of land area.
What stands out and differentiates cities? First off, Anchorage is practically off the chart. The reason it has so much parkland is because of the gargantuan Chugach State Park of mountains and forests, that technically falls within the city’s border. Not as large, but still very sizable natural areas lie within the city boundaries of Albuquerque, El Paso, Jacksonville and Phoenix as well.
Then there’s the cities with a lot of parkland but a lot of compactly living people, too – which causes the parks per resident figure to shrink. Places such as New York City, Jersey City, Boston, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. may be densely populated, but they are very green places when it comes to the amount of parkland as percent of their land area. There are also cities such as St. Paul, Minneapolis and Oakland which have quite a bit of land area in parks while under 20 acres per 1,000 residents.
In fact, the statistics generally show that more spread out cities have less parkland as percent of their land areas. (View the full lists here.) With fewer private yard space, these cities are providing that space in their public parks.