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ParkScore: Washington, DC is #4

ParkScore badges_Instagram_2017_4 Washington DC

Washington, DC ranks number #4 out of the 100 largest US cities in the 2017 edition of ParkScore from The Trust for Public Land. (Neighboring Arlington, VA is #6).  Acreage, Access and Investment & Amenities are the three categories that determine a city’s ParkScore and here’s how Washington DC scored in each:

In terms of acreage, the median park size is 1.5 acres (compared to the national median of 5 acres) and the percentage of the city that is parkland is 22 percent (compared to the national median of 9.3 percent.)

In terms of access, 97 percent of the population is within a 10-minute walk to a park, as shown our map below.  Any areas in red, dark or light orange are areas where the population is outside a 10-minute walk.

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10-minute walk map from ParkScore (click on image to go to live map)

In terms of investment and amenities, spending per resident is $270 (compared to the national median of $80 per resident) and scores for playgrounds, basketball hoops, dog parks and recreation and senior centers all score very well.

For complete information, including our ParkEvaluator tool, visit ParkScore.  If you have questions, please email us at ccpe@tpl.org.

 

Community Gardens

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Infographic from City Park Facts, 2017

Community Gardens continue to grow in the parks of the 100 largest US cities. In 2017, there are a total of 1,138 community garden sites with 23,883 individual garden plots. This is an increase of 115 garden sites, adding 1,839 plots in the past year.

We measure community gardens in two ways for City Park Facts. Primarily, we focus on community garden plots – which are the specific garden plots or spaces that individuals or families get access to use for a season. A varied number of plots make up one community garden site, depending on the site, the parks agency and a host of other factors.

Further, it’s important to note that there are many more community gardens in other public and semi-public lands, including sites that might be targeted to build schools, housing or other public facilities. These are not counted in our totals, we we focus specifically on public parkland.

However, there are a number of organizations in US cities focused on providing information, tools and resources to locate and create public spaces, especially community gardens in non-park spaces.  A great example of the tools that these organizing efforts produce is in New York City with LivingLotsNYC.org, which one of several public is mapping tools developed by the Brooklyn based non-profit group, 596 Acres.

The 100 largest US cities with the most community garden sites are New York City with 346, Chicago #2 with 88, Portland #3 with 52, Washington DC with 49, and Seattle #5 with 48.

In terms of community garden plot totals, New York City is #1 with 3,420, Portland with 2,246, Washington DC with 2,300, and Los Angeles with 1,741 and San Francisco with 1,384.  

In terms of plots per 1,000 residents, Portland leads with 3.6, Washington, DC second with 3.5, Madison third with 3.0, and Milwaukee fourth with 1.8 and Seattle fifth with 1.7 plots per 1,000 residents.

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

Promoting Stewardship in Parks

Each month, City Parks Alliance names one “Frontline Park” as a standout example of urban park excellence, innovation and stewardship from across the country. The program identifies city parks that find innovative ways to meet the unique challenges faced as a result of shrinking municipal budgets, land use pressures and urban neighborhood decay. In recognition of its innovative practices in partnerships and volunteer engagement, Priest Point Park has been named a Frontline Park.

Priest Point is a park built by volunteers.  When the park was constructed, the city did not have the staff necessary to complete construction, and relied heavily on community members who donated their time and labor.  Volunteers cleared the landscape, restored historic structures, installed landscaping features, and cleared trails throughout the park.  At 314 acres and more than a century old, Priest Point is both the city’s largest and oldest park, and still relies heavily on volunteer engagement for general maintenance.  This history of volunteerism in Olympia provided the basis for a culture of stewardship that has since grown to encompass all of the urban parks and forests in the city.  Continue reading