DC parks are the 6th best in the nation, according to the ParkScore Index. The index was created by the Trust for Public Land, a national nonprofit organization working to create and improve neighborhood parks. The city that took the top spot was Minneapolis, but the second best, New York City, only beat DC by 2 points. Boston, Sacramento, and San Francisco tied for third place at just one point higher than Washington, DC.
The ParkScore Index is based on three factors: park access, park size, and service and investment. This year, the survey looked at the 50 largest US cities to determine the final rankings.
ParkScore Index found that the median DC park size is 0.67 acres and that parkland makes up 19.7% of the city. That park size garnered the city the lowest score possible, but the percentage of parks compared to city area fetched the highest score. The study also noted that there are 1.7 playgrounds per 10,000 city residents. DC also earned the highest possible score on spending per resident on park services and investment.
Washington, DC contains 7,679 acres of parks, with the largest park being Rock Creek Park at 1,754 acres. Not surprisingly, the oldest and most visited DC park is the National Mall, which was established in 1790.
Neither age nor income has a significant impact on access to DC parks according to the study. Access was measure by residents living within a ten-minute walk of a public park. This earned DC the maximum possible score on access.
Parks are wonderful for communities. The opportunity for exercise and proximity to nature are important for physical and mental health. In addition, studies have shown that parks reduce crime, revitalize local economies, and bring neighborhoods together. Get out this summer and enjoy our beautiful DC parks!