Health & Environment

Boston Parks Rank #9 in the U.S. for Access, Size, and Amenities

Boston came in ninth in a national ranking of city parks based on citizens’ access to parks and park amenities.

The annual ParkScore list, compiled by The Trust for Public Land, uses mapping technology and demographic data to determine how well the largest cities in the United States are meeting the need for parks.

Boston moved up from 13th place in 2019 to 9th place in 2020. 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:

  1. Park access, which measures the percentage of residents living within a 10-minute walk of a park (approximately ½-mile);
  2. Park size, which is based on a city’s median park size and the percentage of total city area dedicated to parks;
  3. 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 October 2019, Mayor Walsh and The Trust for Public Land announced at Christopher Columbus Park in the North End that the City had reached a major milestone – all Boston residents now have a park within a 10-minute walk of home. Through Imagine Boston 2030, Mayor Walsh allocated over $230 million for Parks and Recreation, the largest-ever capital funding for Boston parks.

See the full ParkScore 2020 report for Boston’s parks, including an interactive map and side-by-side comparisons with other major cities, at tpl.org/city/boston-massachusetts.

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