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17,555 Basketball Hoops

480xauto-NYC_BK_PS 32_Opening_6.5.07_Avery Wham_153

Opening of New York City Park, Assist by Dad.

Other than playgrounds, basketball hoops are something that you can count on in nearly all city parks. City continue to add them, the current total in the 100 largest cities is 17,555, an average of 2.97 per 100,000 residents. That’s an increase of 915 from last year’s total of 16,640.

In terms of sheer numbers, New York City bounces to the top with 3,110, followed by Chicago with 1,076, Philadelphia with 640, Houston with 514 and San Diego with 385.

In terms of our City Park Facts measurement of “per 100,000 residents,” Madison is first with 9.8 (239 hoops), Norfolk, VA second with 8.2 (203 total), St. Paul third with 7.46 (220 hoops), Richmond fourth with 6.6 (146 hoops) and Buffalo fifth with 6.3 (165 hoops.)

Learn more about City Park trends in the 2017 edition of City Park Facts, coming April 20 to tpl.org. If you have questions or comments about this or other city park facts, contact us at ccpe@tpl.org and follow @cityparkfacts on Twitter.

Study Finds Recess Recharge for Kids

The NY Times has an article this week on how “involuntary attention” such as being in a park or children going out for recess during school hours can foster better learning, health and development. Turns out, not so shockingly, that we need to recharge every once in a while. Sitting in front of a computer, inside a classroom or office all day is best accompanied by a break: a walk in the park, sitting on a bench during lunch, and for kids, as the article illustrates, going outside for recess (as the research is showing):

A study published this month in the journal Pediatrics studied the links between recess and classroom behavior among about 11,000 children age 8 and 9. Those who had more than 15 minutes of recess a day showed better behavior in class than those who had little or none. Although disadvantaged children were more likely to be denied recess, the association between better behavior and recess time held up even after researchers controlled for a number of variables, including sex, ethnicity, public or private school and class size……… [Says lead researcher, Dr. Romina M. Barros of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine] “We should understand that kids need that break because the brain needs that break.”

All the more reason why schoolyards in our cities should look like this:

NYC Playground After

Rather than this:

NYC Playground Before, Photos: Julieth Rivera

NYC Playground Before, Photos: Julieth Rivera

Newark: Site of Tragic Shooting Turned to New Playground

Mt. Vernon Playground (click image for more pictures)

Mt. Vernon Playground (click image for more pictures)

An excellent example of renewing cities through parks and playgrounds and private-public collaboration to do so was highlighted in Newark, N.J. last week, where The Trust for Public Land dedicated the Mount Vernon School Playground, completing the transformation of a site where the tragic shooting of four young people occurred just over a year ago.

From a cracked asphalt lot to a vibrant community playground, TPL created a safe haven for the nearly 900 students enrolled in Mount Vernon School as well as the 2,200 children who live within walking distance of the new park. Along with a coalition of community, civic, philanthropic, and nonprofit partners, TPL dedicated $1.3 million and countless hours of work to creating the park, which now features a multi-use field, track, playground equipment, a performance space, basketball courts, and a learning garden.

An in-depth participatory design process was used to help establish community investment, and TPL worked with the Greater Newark Conservancy and landscape architects to meet with students and local residents to create the design. “The transformation of this park is an incredible benefit for our students,” said Dr. Clifford B. Janey, superintendent of Newark’s schools.