The Trust for Public Land just released its City Parks Facts for 2009 and it serves as an awesome reminder that despite the economic crisis, parks should be at the forefront of the discussion of livability in cities. Given my location in Philadelphia, I was most interested to learn about this city’s park system — and of course, to compare it to other cities.
Fairmount Park photo by Tony the Misfit via Flickr.
For example, while Philadelphia’s parks amount to 12.6 percent of its geographic area, they account for an amazing 19.6 percent in New York City and only 8.2 percent in Chicago.
But as the stats get more complex, they get more interesting. For example, Washington, D.C. has the highest amount of park acreage per 1,000 residents — a whopping 12.9 acres. New York has just 6 acres per 1,000 residents ( but maybe that’s ok, it’s what makes Central Park so great for people watching).
Central Park photo by Wally G via Flickr.
There’s more surprising info in the mix. In terms of number of park playgrounds per 10,000 residents, the city of Cincinnati is leading the pack with 4.8 playgrounds per 10,000 residents. While New York City has 10 times as many playgrounds as Cincinnati, it has only 1.2 playgrounds per 10,000 residents.
Which city’s residents spend the most on playgrounds? San Francisco. With about $300 spent per resident on playgrounds. I don’t mean to pick on Buffalo, but it spends only $12 per resident on playgrounds.
Bet you can guess what the most visited park is — Central Park — but can you guess the third most visited? It was a complete surprise to me. Guess you’ll have to download the report to find out.
Diana Lind is the former executive director and editor in chief of Next City.