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DC Park System Tops US Cities: Everyone Lives in Walking Distance From a Park

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Washington, D.C. is the country’s “park capital” with almost its entire population living within a 10-minute walk of a park, according to the 2019 ParkScore rankings by the Trust for Public Land, a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization.

The Trust for Public Land, which claims to be dedicated to “create parks and protect land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come,” named the District as the best city for its park systems.

The study indicated that portion of residents within a 10-minute walk of a park in D.C. is 97.5 percent, while the national average is 54 percent. D.C.’s median park size and percent of area dedicated to parks is 55 (out of 100.)

As for investment, park spending per resident turned out to be 100 percent in D.C. and 21 percent of the city’s total area is allocated to parks.

While evaluating park systems, the Trust for Public Land included “land owned by all public agencies within the 100 most populous U.S. cities that functions as a park.”

D.C. ranked first (with a score of 83.8 out of 100) for the first time on the index, which had been topped by Minneapolis since 2016. The city came in third this year.

“We’ve invested more than $200 million to ensure all residents have access to playgrounds, nature trails, and other public parks that have made D.C.’s park system the envy of cities across the nation,” D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said in response to the results.

The 2019 ParkScore ranking by the Trust for Public Land is as follows:

  1. Washington, D.C.

2. Saint Paul, Minnesota

3. Minneapolis, Minnesota

4. Arlington, Virginia

5. Portland, Oregon

6. Irvine, California

7. San Francisco, California

8. Cincinnati, Ohio

9. New York, New York

10. Chicago, Illinois

“Today, 100 million Americans don’t have a park within a 10-minute walk of home. We have the most comprehensive data on park access for almost every city and town in the United States—and we’re using it to pinpoint the neighborhoods where parks are needed most,” the Trust for Public Land says, adding “Everyone deserves access to a great park. We need your help to make it happen.”

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