The following article by Laila Kearney for Reuters was published in the May 29, 2014 issue of the Huffington Post:
Minneapolis Park System Ranked Best In The U.S.
The Minneapolis parks system scored highest in the nation for the second straight year in a report ranking U.S. urban greenspace that was released on Thursday.
The Midwestern city topped the Trust for Public Land’s third “ParkScore” survey, which ranks the quality of parks in the 60 largest U.S. cities.
The trust looked at how many residents could reach a park quickly by foot, median park size, the percentage of total city area dedicated to parks, per capita spending, and the number of playgrounds available per 10,000 city residents.
“This year’s ParkScore results show that even outstanding park systems must improve to stay on top,” Peter Harnik, director of the Trust for Public Land’s Center for City Park Excellence, said in a statement. “When population grows, more parks and playgrounds are needed, but when city leaders get creative, they can meet the increased demand.”
Minneapolis received high marks for its parks system partly because some 94 percent of its residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park.
While second-ranking New York registered 97 percent of its residents within a 10-minute walk of a park, its low median park size – 1.1 acres compared with Minneapolis’ 7.1-acres – took points from its score.
In this year’s survey, Boston, San Francisco and Portland, Oregon, tied for third place. Sacramento dropped from the top three, the trust said, because population growth limited access to playgrounds.
On the upswing, Denver climbed 10 places this year to land in the 7th slot with Sacramento.
Overall, West Coast cities dominated the top 10 local park systems, while southern and southwestern cities such as Louisville, Charlotte and Mesa, Arizona, were among the five cities with the lowest-ranking park systems, the trust said.
Fresno, California, was rated as having the worst park system, unchanged from last two year’s ranking.