Think of New York. Didn't Central Park come to mind? Boston - the Commons and Public Gardens. San Francisco - Golden Gate Park.
A recent post by Paul Ogden over at Ogden on Politics, referred to The Trust for Public Land's survey of U.S. cities by population density. The mission of the Trust focuses on conserving land for recreation - passive and active. As part of that mission, they aggregate information so that communities can size themselves up from a number of angles.
In their 2012 City Parks Facts, they look at parks acreage, spending, and more.
Here are some of the Indianapolis rankings:
Acres as percentage of city area - 18th of 29
Comparing the 29 cities ranked with 'Low' population density, Indy ranked 18th with 4.8% of is total area used as parkland. The median of this group was 5.5% and the median of all 101 cities was 7.9%.Acres per 1000 residents - 22nd of 29
Within the 'Low' population density group, Anchorage weighed in with 46.0% of total area and Corpus Christi had only 2.1% of total land devoted to parks.
Again comparing only those 29 cities ranked with 'Low' population density, Indy ranked 22nd with 13.6 acres of parkland per 1000 residents. The median of this group was 20.5 acres per 1000 residents. The median of all 101 cities was 13.1 acres per 1000 residents.Acres of parkland by daytime population - 17th of 27
Within the 'Low' population density group, Anchorage was abnormally high with 1719.3 acres per 1000 residents and Corpus Christi was lowest with 7.0 acres per 1000 residents.
Again, cities were ranked in groups, this time according to the daytime influx of population. Indy finds itself in the 'Intermediate' group that have anywhere from 16% to 30% population growth during the day. Indy has 17% influx. Of this group of 27 cities, Indy ranked 17th for number of acres of parkland per daytime occupant, with 11.6 acres per daytime occupant. Median for this group was 15.9 acres per daytime occupant. Median of all 100 cities was 11.5.Park playgrounds per 10,000 residents - 75th of 100
Highest of this group was New Orleans, with 73.1 acres of parkland per daytime occupant. Lowest of the group was Norfolk, VA, with 1.9.
Comparing the 100 larges cities, Indy ranked 75th in playgrounds per 10,000 resident with 1.6. The median was 2.2 playgrounds per 10,000 residents.Total spending on parks and recreation per resident - 83rd of 89
Highest was Madison, WI, with 7.1 playgrounds per 10,000 residents. Lowest was Laredo, TX, with 0.1 playgrounds per 10,000 residents. Honolulu/Honolulu County and Fremont, CA, did not have information available for the study.
Comparing the 100 largest cities, Indy ranked 83rd with $35 per resident. Median spending was $82 per resident.Total spending on parks and recreation per resident adjusted for the cost of living index - 80th of 89
Highest was Washington, D.C., with $397 per resident. Lowest was San Bernardino, CA, with $24 per resident.
11 cities were listed as not having information available for the study.
Even after adjusting for cost of living, Indy came in 80th with $37 adjusted dollars per resident. Median spending was $82 adjusted dollars per resident.Percent of city population with walkable park access - tied for 36th of 40
Highest again was Washington, D.C., with $275 adjusted per resident. Again, San Bernardino was lowest with $21 adjusted per resident.
The 11 cities without sufficient information above, were not included.
Comparing the 40 largest cities, Indy tied for 36th with San Antonio and Louisville at 32% of population with walking access of a park. Park access was defined as "the ability to reach a publicly owned park within a half-mile walk on the road network, unobstructed by freeways, rivers, fences, and other obstacles". Average access was 68%.I've said it before and I'll say it again - Indy should be as nice a place to live as it is to visit. Our priorities need to be adjusted to improve those things that most impact the quality of life of our residents. Parks, be it number, spending or access, are one of those things that need to be improved.
San Francisco came in first with 98% and Charlotte/Mecklenburg last with 26% of its population having walkable access to a park.