Press Release brought to you by The Trust for Public Land

The Trust for Public Land Unveils ParkScore™ Rankings for 40 Largest U.S.



May 24, 2012               


Jessica Ingram-Bellamy, The Trust for Public Land, 212-677-7171, ext. 205,


The Trust for Public Land Unveils

ParkScoreTM Ratings for 40 Largest U.S. Cities

 San Francisco, Sacramento, Boston, and New York Earn Top Spots;

No City Park System Receives Perfect “5 Park Bench” Rating

 A groundbreaking park rating system developed by The Trust for Public Land ranks San Francisco, Sacramento, Boston and New York as the nation’s top city park systems. Mesa (Arizona), Louisville, Charlotte and Fresno receive the lowest ParkScores among the 40 largest U.S. cities.

 ParkScore rates city park systems on a scale of zero to five park benches. It is the most comprehensive park rating system ever developed and was designed to help local communities identify where new parks are needed most and which park improvements can deliver the greatest impact.

 “You can’t have a great city without a great park system,” said Christopher Kay, chief operating officer of The Trust for Public Land. “Studies show that parks help children and adults get the exercise they need to stay healthy, generate hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity, and help bring neighbors together. The Trust for Public Land hopes that ParkScore inspires cities to focus on parks, and we’re eager to work with municipal leaders and volunteers to help them build the best park systems imaginable,” Kay added.

 According to The Trust for Public Land, the 10 highest ranking city park systems are: 

  1. San Francisco       4.5  park benches
  2. Sacramento          4.5  park benches
  3. Boston (tie)          4.0  park benches
  4.   New York (tie)     4.0  park benches
  5.   Washington, DC  4.0  park benches
  6.   Portland, Oregon4.0  park benches
  7.   Virginia Beach     4.0  park benches
  8.   San Diego                        4.0  park benches
  9.   Seattle                 4.0  park benches
  10. Philadelphia         4.0  park benches

 The 10 lowest ranking city park systems are: 

  1.   Tucson (tie)       2.0 park benches
  2.   Memphis (tie)    2.0 park benches
  3.   Oklahoma City   1.5 park benches
  4.   Jacksonville       1.5 park benches
  5.   San Antonio       1.5 park benches
  6. Indianapolis (tie)1.5 park benches
  7.   Mesa, Arizona (tie)   1.5 park benches
  8.   Louisville           1.0 park bench
  9.   Charlotte            1.0 park bench
  10. Fresno                  0.5 park bench

ParkScore ratings are based equally on three factors: Park access, which measures the percentage of residents living within a 10-minute walk of a park (approximately ½-mile); Park size/acreage, which is based on a city’s median park size and the percentage of total city area dedicated to parks; and Services and investment, which combines the number of playgrounds per 10,000 city residents and per capita park spending. Each city receives a raw ParkScore based on these factors which is converted to a summary park bench rating by ParkScore analysts. City placement on the ranking lists is determined by the raw ParkScore; ties occur only where specifically noted.

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. 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).

In addition to the at-a-glance park bench summary rating, ParkScore features an in-depth website that local leaders can use as a roadmap to guide park improvement efforts.  The website,, provides extensive data and analysis that pinpoints the neighborhoods where parks are needed most critically. The web site includes interactive maps of each ParkScore city, allowing users to zoom in and study park access on a block-by-block basis. Additional detailed information about each public park in all 40 ParkScore cities is also provided. The website is free and open to the public.

“In this inaugural release of the ParkScore rankings, no city received a perfect 5-bench rating, and that means every city can improve. It's critical to act now. A concerted effort to improve local park systems not only means a better ParkScore, but also a healthier, more beautiful, and more vibrant city. That’s something all city leaders should strive for,” said Kay.

For more information about ParkScore, visit

About The Trust for Public Land

The Trust for Public Land is the nation's leading organization in creating parks and playgrounds in urban areas, and in helping communities develop new funding sources for local land conservation. For more, visit



















































05/24/2012 - 10:42


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