Park Quality

Park Quality is measured using “Parkscore®,” a comprehensive rating system developed by the Trust for Public Land that evaluates how cities are meeting the need for parks based on acreage; service and investment; and access. Positive health outcomes are associated with proximity to well-maintained and accessible parks and open spaces. The number of parks near a household and the types of amenities available are associated with increased physical activity. Conversely, lack of physical activity is a central risk factor for many diseases. Individuals with access to opportunities for physical activity and healthy foods have lower incidence of type 2 diabetes, higher physical activity levels, and lower body mass index. Low-income communities are most likely to lack parks or other recreational spaces, or have well-designed and maintained equipment. Parkscore® is available from the Trust for Public Land for the 75 largest U.S. cities.

Key Citations:
1. Auchincloss, A.H., et al. “Neighborhood resources for physical activity and healthy foods and incidence of type 2 diabetes (the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis)” (2009). Archives of Internal Medicine.
2. Cohen, D.A.et al. “Public Parks and Physical Activity Among Adolescent Girls” (2006). Pediatrics.
3. Humphrey, Nancy P. and Carrie I. Szlyk. “Does the Built Environment Influence Physical Activity? Examining the Evidence” (2005). Transportation Research Board, Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.
4. Kahn, E.B. “The effectiveness of interventions to increase physical activity” (2002). American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
5. Roemmich, J.N., et al. “Association of access to parks and recreational facilities with the physical activity of young children” (2006). Preventive Medicine.
6. Voicu, Joan and Vicki Been. “The Effect of Community Gardens on Neighboring Property Values” (2008). Real Estate Economics.