A New Way To Measure The Value Of City Parks
A new system for measuring how a city’s parks serve residents has been released by the Trust for Public Land (TPL). The report, “The Excellent City Park System: What Makes It Great and How to Get There,” proposes seven measures of city park excellence, as identified by city park directors and park and urban experts nationwide.
“City park systems should be judged by how they serve their communities,” said Will Rogers, president of TPL, a national nonprofit group. “Until now, we have not had a framework for understanding how cities create and support successful parks. This report is that framework and we are committed to the measures it proposes for city parks’ excellence.”
The measures include a clear expression of the park system’s purpose, an ongoing process of planning and community involvement, as well as sufficient land, staffing and equipment to meet goals. The TPL’s system also measures equitable access to parks, user satisfaction, safety from crime and physical hazards and benefits for the city beyond park boundaries.
“City parks are vital to a city’s well-being,” said study author Peter Harnik, director of TPL’s Green Cities Program. “These measures can help gauge a city park system’s health, and the data offer useful comparisons for how the nation’s biggest cities are making parks better for their communities.”
Based on the criteria in the report, TPL cites park systems in four cities as achieving parks excellence: Cincinnati, Portland, Oregon, Minneapolis, and Seattle.
“We found a wide range in park system quality,” said Harnik. “While all cities have room for some improvement, Cincinnati, Portland, Minneapolis, and Seattle seem to be getting most of the factors right most of the time.
“Not only are they are doing the big things, like maintaining their systems and buying land, they’re also doing the smaller things, like making sure they have fee-reduction programs to assure accessibility to all,” Harnik explained.
Provided by theEnvironmental News Service.