Boston has landed near the top of the 2020 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 largest cities in the United States are meeting the need for parks.
Boston’s ninth place score was higher than Chicago, New York City, St. Louis, Seattle, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and San Diego on a list of 100 cities and moved up from 13th place in 2019. With the majority of Boston residents living within close proximity to a park, the city’s highest score was in the category of access where Boston earned 100 out of 100. The city’s high percentage of city area dedicated to parks (17%) and strong playground access score also boosted the city’s ParkScore rating.
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.
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.