Last year, The Trust for Public Land began rating cities throughout the nation by their parks. The index, called ParkScore, ranks the largest 50 cities in the USA based equally on three factors: park access, park size, and services and investments. Seven California cities were included in this year’s index; their rankings, anywhere from third to last, show the disparity of green space among California’s largest cities. Cities with the highest scores can receive a rating of as many as five park benches on a scale of zero to five.
San Francisco – last year’s first place winner – and Sacramento tied with Boston for third place; all came in with scores of 72.5 or four park benches. Fresno found itself at the bottom of the list with a score of only 27.5 and a single park bench. No matter where California’s cities fall in this year’s rankings, one thing is true for all of them – there’s room for continued improvement. ParkScore also pinpoints neighborhoods where parks are needed most critically.
Parks, along with the trees and green space they contain, are an integral part of making communities healthy, happy, and prosperous. We challenge the cities of California, whether they’re on this list or not, to make parks, green space, and open space a part of continued city planning efforts. Trees, community space, and parks are all investments that pay off.