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Best Cities for the Outdoors

Forbes.com is out with its annual list of the “Best Cities for the Outdoors.” The list looks at a combination of issues from climate to parks, using TPL’s data on city parks. (Some cold-weather cities and their cross-country skiers may take issue with using measures such as snowfall.) The winner:  San Francisco. Perhaps one wouldn’t think that the densely-populated city has such a great outdoors, but the fact is that a big chunk of the city’s land area is devoted to parks. From Forbes.com:

The bayside city enjoys sunshine for two-thirds of the year, and the balmy summers turn to mild winters. But it’s not just pleasant weather that makes San Francisco so ideal for its active residents. The city has set aside 18% of its land for parks and spent $268 per resident on parks-related projects in the fiscal year 2007.

Those reasons combined are why San Francisco ranks as the best city for the outdoors for the second consecutive year. In general, Californians are a lucky bunch: San Diego, San Jose and Sacramento all ranked in the top 10, while Los Angeles tied for 11th with Austin, Texas.

View the full list and accompanying story here.

2 Responses

  1. I’m glad to see any story that highlights urban parks. But, personally, I would not rank San Francisco so highly: it has terrific major parks, but I find it somewhat lacking at the neighborhood scale. The best parks aren’t “destinations,” in my opinion, or the ones with killer recreational facilities, but the ones that are simply part of the fabric of everyday life, the ones you walk through on the way to the bus stop or convenience store. I love San Francisco for its urban vitality and creative culture, but for parks I’ll take DC any day. And “balmy” weather?

    Notoriously park-deprived LA as #11 also boggles the mind. Vast stretches of the city have no park access for miles, as even TPL’s own data show. Despite my easterner’s bias, I kinda like LA, but not for the parks. The beaches, yes.

  2. Great thoughts, Kaid. I totally agree, and am tempted to place your comment directly in the post. The parks that are integrated into daily life are the best ones in my book. In a walk to work or a recreational run (as I find), for instance, one can walk through a park, maybe a neighborhood street, maybe a retail cluster and some other urban element — and they all form a diverse and interesting urban experience.

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