Anchorage, AK – According to The Trust for Public Land’s 6th annual ParkScore index, which was released today, Anchorage lands in 31st place in park systems, earning 3.5 “park benches.” In first place, is the city of Minneapolis.
Minneapolis narrowly edged cross-town rival Saint Paul to earn top honors for the second consecutive year. San Francisco climbed into third, pulling ahead of Washington, DC, and Arlington, VA, mostly because of improved access to basketball courts at schoolyards now open after hours and on weekends. Portland, Irvine, New York, Madison, and Cincinnati rounded out the top 10.
“Joint use of school facilities is a major national trend, and a very positive development. Keeping playgrounds and athletic fields open to the public when schools are closed helps cities significantly increase park access at relatively low cost. The Trust for Public Land enthusiastically supports joint use, but it does not replace the need for new park acquisition and open space preservation,” said Will Rogers, President of The Trust for Public Land in a press release.
“Everyone in America deserves to live within a 10-minute walk of a park. Parks are proven to improve physical and mental health, increase property values, and bring neighbors together to nurture the personal bonds that make our communities special,” said Charlie McCabe, Director of The Trust for Public Land’s Center for City Parks Excellence in the same press release.
ParkScores are based on three factors: Park Access, Park Size and Facilities and Investment. ParkScore uses advanced GIS (geographic information system) computer mapping technology to create digital maps evaluating park accessibility. For example, if residents are separated from a nearby park by a major highway, ParkScore does not count the park as accessible to those residents (unless there is a bridge, underpass, or easy access point across the highway).
Also, ParkScore features an in-depth website that local leaders can use as a roadmap to guide park improvement efforts. The website, parkscore.tpl.org, provides extensive data and analysis that pinpoints the neighborhoods where parks are needed most critically.
For more information about ParkScore, visit: parkscore.tpl.org