• Who We Are

    City Parks Blog is a joint effort of the Center for City Park Excellence at the Trust for Public Land and the City Parks Alliance to chronicle the news and issues of the urban park movement. Read more about us.
  • Urban Park Issues

  • Enter your email address to receive notifications of new City Parks Blog posts by email.

  • Archives

  • Urban Green Cover Ad

Outside’s Best Cities

Outside magazine is out with its version of “best cities,” trying to put together a measure of “a city’s cultural vibrancy, economic well-being, and overall quality of life.” Though these rankings are always somewhat suspect, they can provide interesting insights into our nation’s cities. Here is the way Outside describes their study, and the top ten.

We started with the 100 most populated cities in America, using public data to rank them on factors like cost of living, unemployment, nightlife, commute time, and access to green spaces. Then we took the 28 candidates…. comparing things like the percentage of the population with college degrees, income level in relation to home prices, and weather. The wild card? Our own multisport factor, which rated each of our finalists on a scale of 1 to 5 for quality and proximity to biking, running, paddling, hiking, and skiing. After adding it all up, we had our top ten.

10. Charlotte, North Carolina
9. Cincinnati, Ohio
8. Minneapolis, Minnesota
7. Portland, Oregon
6. Albuquerque, New Mexico
5. Boston, Massachusetts
4. Austin, Texas
3. Atlanta, Georgia
2. Seattle, Washington
1. Colorado Springs, Colorado

One important factor that this study seems to miss is population density and walkability. In cities with compact living, there is much more of a reason to enjoy the magazine’s namesake theme of being outdoors. In Washington, D.C. and Boston, over ten percent of residents walk to work.

Having access to green space is a wonderful thing, but parks and trails surrounded by foot-friendly neighborhoods can make these places function even better.

2 Responses

  1. CINCINNATI!!!

  2. I agree, walkability and density are key factors missing in their analysis. Do you know if they used CCPE parkland data?

    Also, where did you find that statistic stating over 10% of residents walk to work in Washington, DC and Boston?

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s