Report: Boston Has 3rd-Best City Park System In U.S.

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Boston Common is the city's most-visited park. (Coco's Photoshop/Flickr)
Boston Common is the city's most-visited park. (Coco's Photoshop/Flickr)

Boston is tied with New York City for the third-best citywide park system in the country, according to rankings from the Trust for Public Land.

Boston and New York City both received a 72.5 on the ParkScore system, behind just San Francisco (74) and Sacramento (73.5). In total, 40 cities were ranked.

According to Atlantic Cities, the scores are a composite of five factors:

... median park size, acreage as a percent of city area, percent of residents living within a 10-minute walk of a park, park system spending per resident, and the number of playgrounds per 10,000 residents.

Peter Harnik, a director at the Trust for Public Land, told Atlantic Cities that the number of playgrounds may be the most important indicator.

"We feel a playground is really a basic bottom-line measure of what a city park system is doing for its residents," he said. "It's somewhat of a predictor of the other kinds of facilities that a city parks department provides its citizens."

Boston has 3.44 playgrounds per 10,000 residents, according to ParkScore's Boston profile. The median among the 40 cities ranked is 1.89.

Boston's median park size is just 1.3 acres, but park land as a percentage of city area is nearly 16 percent, according to the ParkScore statistics.

ParkScore reports that Boston spends about $106 per resident annually on parks (above the median of $85), and it gives the city high marks for across-the-board access to parks.

The rankings system also has an interactive map of parks throughout Boston.

This program aired on May 23, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

Benjamin Swasey Twitter Digital Manager
Ben is WBUR's digital news manager.