For Immediate Release
May 29, 2014
Parks and Recreation
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For the third year in a row, Boston has landed near the top of the ParkScore list compiled by The Trust for Public Land ranking how much access citizens have to parks and park amenities. The annual report uses mapping technology and demographic data to determine how well the 50 largest cities in the United States are meeting the need for parks.
Boston tied with Portland and San Francisco for the third best overall ParkScore ranking in the nation. Only Minneapolis and New York City received higher marks. Boston earned four “park benches” on the index which rates city park systems on a scale of zero to five park benches. With the majority of Boston residents living within close proximity to a park, the city once again received especially high marks for park access. The city's high percentage of city area dedicated to parks (16.9%) and strong playground access score also boosted the city’s ParkScore rating.
“Boston's open spaces have always been a priority for our neighborhoods," said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “I’m pleased with our ranking and I know we will continue to strive to have the nation's number one park system. I’m proud that we are a leader in access to parks, with 97 percent of residents living within 10 minutes of a park, allowing Bostonians the opportunity to easily enjoy our public open spaces.”
ParkScore ratings are based equally on three factors: park access, which measures the percentage of residents living within a 10-minute walk of a park (approximately ½-mile); park size, which is based on a city’s median park size and the percentage of total city area dedicated to parks; and services and investment, which combines the number of playgrounds per 10,000 city residents and per capita park spending.
"Boston is home to America's first public park, Boston Common, so it’s no surprise that our city’s parks system is one of the best in the country,” said Kevin Essington, The Trust for Public Land Director for Massachusetts. ”We are excited that Mayor Marty Walsh wants to make Boston the number one ParkScore city and are thrilled to work with the city on investments in parks like Hunt-Almont in Mattapan. Together, we’re making it easier for everyone to get outside and get moving in our terrific park system."
ParkScore uses advanced GIS (geographic information system) computer mapping technology to create digital maps evaluating park accessibility, making it the most realistic assessment system available. Instead of simply measuring distance to a local park, ParkScore's GIS technology takes into account the location of park entrances and physical obstacles to access. In addition to the at-a-glance park bench summary rating, ParkScore features an in-depth website, parkscore.tpl.org, that local leaders can use as a roadmap to guide park improvement efforts.
“You can't have a great city without great parks,” said Adrian Benepe, Senior Vice President and Director of City Park Development for The Trust for Public Land. “Parks provide a place for children and adults to be physically active, and they serve as community meeting places where friendships are built and a sense of community is strengthened.”