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City Park Facts: Cities with most top ten rankings

We’re working to share news and aspects of The Trust for Public Land’s City Parks Facts 2018 report, which debuted on 8/22/18.  The data that we collect is pretty wide ranging and there’s a lot to talk about.  We wanted to share another aspect of City Park Facts and that’s the cities who hav the most top ten rankings in the amentiies, acreage, and visitation categories.

First is Louisville with eleven top ten rankings.

Tied for second are Cincinnati and Madison, each with nin top ten rankings.

Third are perennial ParkScore winners Minneapolis and St. Paul, with eight top ten rankings each.

Fourth are Anchorage and Arlington, VA, with seven top ten rankings each.

Details about each city and where they stnad in terms of individual categories follow.  Download the individual city profiles at www.tpl.org/10minutewalk

Louisville has eleven top ten rankings, the most of any of the 100 largest cities.  Louisville is ranked 1st in restrooms, golf courses, splash pads and tennis courts. Louisville is ranked 2nd in playgrounds, 3rd in baseball diamonds, 4th in trail miles, 5th in community gardens, 7th in nature centers, 8th in basketball hoops, and has the 5th largest city park, Jefferson Memorial Forest.

profile-louisville

Cincinnati has nine top ten rankings. Cincinnati is ranked 1st in nature centers, 2nd in golf courses, 4th in baseball diamonds, 5th in disc golf courses and basketball hoops, 6th in restrooms, 9th in playgrounds and 10th in splash pads.

profile-cincinnati

Madison has nine top ten rankings. Madison is ranked 1st in playgrounds, 2nd in disc golf courses, 3rd in basketball hoops, ice rinks and Pickleball courts, 4th in community garden plots, 6th in dog parks, 8th in volleyball nets, and 10th in golf courses.

profile-madison

Minneapolis has eight top ten rankings. Minneapolis is ranked 1st in ice rinks, 2nd in both recreation & senior centers and baseball diamonds, 3rd in beaches, 4th in restrooms, 6th in golf courses, 10th in volleyball nets and has the 10th most visited park, the Chain of Lakes Regional Park.

St. Paul has eight top ten rankings. St. Paul is ranked first in baseball diamonds and community garden plots. St. Paul is ranked 2nd in ice rinks, Pickleball and restrooms. St. Paul is ranked 7th in basketball hoops and trail miles and 9th in recreation & senior centers.

Arlington, Virginia has seven top ten rankings. Arlington, Virginia ranks 8th in park acreage per 1,000 residents. They are 4th in nature centers, 6th in playgrounds, 7th in tennis courts, 9th in both Pickleball courts and community gardens and ranked 10th in dog parks.

Anchorage has seven top ten rankings. They are number 1 in terms of percentage of the city that is parkland, at a whopping 84%. They have the 9th largest park: Far North Bicentennial Park.  Anchorage is ranked 3rd in trails, 4th in ice rinks, 8th in restrooms and 9th in disc golf courses.

If you have questions, comments or thoughts about City Park Facts, please let us know – ccpe@tpl.org is the easiest way to reach us! @Parks for People

Dog Parks, Splashpads and Pickleball: City Park Facts 2018

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Yesterday, August 22, 2018, the Trust for Public Land released the annual City Park Facts report.  Published annually since 2009 (except for 2013), City Park Facts is an almanac of facts and figures on the park systems of the one hundred largest cities in the United States. City Park Facts contains a superset of the information that we use to produce ParkScore, our annual ranking of the 100 largest U. S. city park systems, which arrives in late May.

In the past, we have produced a 36-page report with a larges number of tables filled with data on acreage, spending, amenities and more.  This year, we shifted our focus, providing a 20-page executive summary titled “the year in parks” and created separate city profile pages (see below for an example) providing details of each city park system in a very visual format.  Like past years, we provide downloadable spreadsheets with all of the facts and figures that we collect.  This all available for free at https://www.tpl.org/10minutewalk 

We welcome questions, comments, and suggestions.  Please contact us at ccpe@tpl.org

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Announcing ParkScore 2018

The Trust for Public Land Releases 2018 ParkScore® Index

Ranking Park Systems in the 100 Largest U.S. Cities

Index Reports Improvements in Park Access and Funding Nationwide, but More Progress Needed to Ensure All Residents Live within a 10-Minute Walk of a Park

San Francisco – Minneapolis has the best park system in the United States, according to The Trust for Public Land’s 7th annual ParkScore® index, which was released today by the nonprofit organization.

Minneapolis narrowly edged neighboring Saint Paul to earn top honors for the third consecutive year. A different regional rivalry claimed third and fourth place, as Washington, DC, barely outscored Arlington, Virginia, to hold on to third. In another big move, Chicago cracked the top 10 for the first time in ParkScore history.

Among the largest 100 ParkScore cities, public spending on parks reached $7.5 billion in 2018, a $429 million increase over the previous year. This additional funding contributed to a slight increase in park access overall. According to The Trust for Public Land, 70 percent of residents in ParkScore cities live with a 10-minute walk (or a half-mile) of a park, up from 69 percent last year.

The national nonprofit organization is leading a movement to put a park or natural area within a 10-minute walk of every U.S. resident. More than 200 mayors have endorsed the 10-minute goal.

“The research is clear: quality, close-to-home parks are essential to communities. Everyone deserves a great park within a 10-minute walk of home,” said Diane Regas, President and CEO of The Trust for Public Land. “These rankings are the gold-standard for park access and quality, and empower people to hold their leaders accountable.”

Charlotte settled at the bottom of the ParkScore list, ranking just below Fresno, CA, Mesa, AZ, and Hialeah, FL. Fort Wayne and Indianapolis declined to participate in ParkScore 2018 and were not ranked. Gilbert, AZ, was not ranked because the necessary data was unavailable.

THE DETAILS:

This year, ParkScore rankings are based equally on four factors: Park Access, which measures the percentage of residents living within a 10-minute walk of a park; Park Acreage, which is based on a city’s median park size and the percentage of total city area dedicated to parks; Park Investment, which measures park spending per resident; and Park Amenities, which counts the availability of six popular park features: basketball hoops, off-leash dog parks, playgrounds, “splashpads” and other water play structures, recreation and senior centers, and restrooms.

The addition of restrooms and splashpads to the Park Amenities rating factor is a significant update and improvement for ParkScore in 2018. The index also now includes volunteer hours and charitable contributions in its calculation of parks spending, providing a ranking boost to cities whose residents strongly support their park systems.

ParkScore champion Minneapolis scored well on all ParkScore rating factors. In Minneapolis, 97 percent of residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park, and 15 percent of city area is reserved for parks. Second-place finisher Saint Paul outscored Minneapolis for park amenities but fell to second overall because of its smaller median park size (3.2 acres vs. 5.7 acres). Fifth place San Francisco remains the only city with 100 percent 10-minute park access, but the city’s small median park size of 1.3 acres negatively affects its overall ranking.

Boise successfully defended its title as the best park system for dogs, with a nation-leading 6.7 dog parks per 100,000 residents. Norfolk, VA received top marks for basketball hoops, Madison scored best for playgrounds, and Cleveland edged out New York for splashpads and water features.

“High quality parks make cities healthier in nearly every way. Proximity to parks increases physical activity levels among children and adults, reducing risk for obesity, diabetes, and other serious health conditions. Parks also help clean the air, mitigate the risk of storm damage, build relationships among neighbors, and contribute to economic growth,” said Adrian Benepe, senior vice president and director of city park development for The Trust for Public Land.

According to The Trust for Public Land, the 10 highest-ranking park systems in the United States are:

Rank       City                             ParkScore  (Max: 100)

  1.        Minneapolis, MN         84.2
  2.        Saint Paul, MN             82.4
  3.        Washington, DC           81.9
  4.        Arlington, VA                81.6
  5.        San Francisco, CA        79.6
  6.        Portland, OR                 78.3
  7.       Cincinnati, OH               78.2
  8.       Chicago, IL                      76.1
  9.       New York, NY                 74.8
  10.       Irvine, CA                        73.4

ParkScore uses advanced GIS (Geographic Information Systems) computer mapping technology to create digital maps evaluating park accessibility. Instead of measuring distance to a local park, ParkScore’s GIS technology takes into account the location of park entrances and physical obstacles to access. For example, if residents are separated from a nearby park by a major highway, ParkScore does not count the park as accessible to those residents, unless there is a bridge, underpass, or easy access point across the highway. The Trust for Public Land collaborated with GIS industry leader Esri on GIS design and implementation.

Municipal leaders can use ParkScore-generated maps to guide park improvement efforts, studying park access on a block-by-block basis and pinpointing the areas where new parks are needed most. The website is free and available to the public, empowering local residents to hold their elected leaders accountable for achieving equitable access to quality parks for all.

For more information about ParkScore, visit http://www.tpl.org/10minutewalk and join the discussion on Twitter @TPL_org, #ParkScore #10minwalk.

The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Millions of people live within a 10-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. To support The Trust for Public Land and share why nature matters to you, visit http://www.tpl.org.

ParkServe 1.0 is released! How far are you from a park?

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The official version 1.0 of ParkServe is released!  Visit parkserve.tpl.org and look up your town or city.  The Trust for Public Land has mapped 13,913 urban communities – 85 percent of the population of the United States – and can show you where you’re nearest park is, what percentage of your community’s population is within a 10-minute walk and even includes the Park Evaluator tool to see how adding parks will help your community and it’s 10-minute walk score.

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Want details on how we developed ParkServe?  We have answers on our methodology page.

We’re looking for feedback and input too, so if you see a park that is missing or is incomplete, please let us know.

 

18 Amazon HQ2 finalists are ParkScore cities

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Like many people, we looked with interest at the list of Amazon HQ2 finalist cities and quickly those that are ParkScore cities. The exceptions are Montgomery County, MD and Toronto. We also substituted Arlington, VA for Northern Virginia. Here’s the list, the percentage of residents within a 10 minute walk to a park, and the 2017 ParkScore ranking:

  • Washington DC – 98%  – 4th
  • Arlington (we counted it as Northern Virginia) – 98% – 6th 
  • New York City – 97% – 7th
  • Chicago -97% – 11th
  • (Seattle is also ranked 11 with 94%)
  • Boston – 98% – 13th
  • Denver -86% – 20th
  • Philadelphia – 93% – 32nd
  • Raleigh – 54% – 35th
  • Pittsburgh – 84% – 39th
  • Austin – 54% –  46th
  • Miami – 80% – 48th
  • Atlanta – 66% – 50th
  • Dallas – 60% – 50th
  • Nashville – 38% – 53rd
  • Columbus – 52% –  56th
  • Los Angeles – 54% – 74th
  • Newark – 90% – 81st
  • Indianapolis – 32% – 98th

Congratulations to all of the finalists. We know that each of the cities listed above have dedicated parks departments and non-profit parks organizations who work together to program, maintain and expand their park systems for all residents. Regardless of which of these cities gets the Amazon HQ2, they could all use more parkland and more funding – for capital projects, programming and maintenance and operations right now. And it goes without saying that the city that gets selected is going to need even more parks and funding.

If you want to learn more about this cities and their park systems, visit The Trust for Public Land or our ParkScore websites.