Top US cities with the worst access to parks – 24/7 Wall St.

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Access to park space is an important convenience for city dwellers, especially in the age of COVID when many people want outdoor recreation. However, some cities do a much worse job of providing it than others.

To identify the major US cities where people have the most limited access to parking space, 24/7 Tempo looked at Trust for Public Land 2021 ParkServe Dataset to determine the percentage of city residents living within a 10-minute walk of a park, number of parks per 10,000 people, total park area, and total city population. Population per acre of living space was also obtained from ParkServe.

The loser on the resulting list is Jacksonville, Florida, where only 35% of residents have walkable access to park space. This is unfortunate for several reasons, including that it is the most populous city in the state, with nearly one million residents. It is also the largest city by area in the contiguous United States and one of the most abundant in parks – over 70,000 acres. People just don’t have easy access to it. (These are the largest urban parks in America.)

Three cities tied for second place, with 38% of residents having walkable access: Louisville, Kentucky; Oklahoma City; and Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Perhaps coincidentally, the first two have similar sized populations and about 18,000 acres of parkland each.

Click here to see the top US cities with the worst access to public parks

There are three Arizona cities on our list: Scottsdale, Gilbert, and Phoenix. Scottsdale is famous for its park-like golf courses, but only 40% of its residents have walking access to the parks. (If you prefer golf courses anyway, consider the 35 best cities to go golfing.)

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