May 29 2018

The Trust for Public Land just released its annual ParkScore Index, which evaluates the 100 largest city park systems in the United States.

California has 14 cities included in ParkScore, and many rank near the top. According to ParkScore, San Francisco has the best park system in California—fifth best in the nation. It reports that 100 percent of residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park. San Francisco is the only city in the U.S. to meet that 10-minute standard, which experts say is essential for building healthy communities and healthy people.

Guillermo at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.

Unfortunately, not all California cities are at the top. Compare San Francisco to Fresno, which ranks 94th on the ParkScore list (and that’s a big improvement, thanks to a lot of hard work led by Building Healthy Communities and other local park advocates).

San Francisco spends $279 per person on its park system. Fresno spends $42. Is it any wonder why fewer than two-thirds of Fresno residents live within a 10-minute walk of park?

These kinds of inequities persist throughout the state, whether comparing San Francisco to Fresno or Irvine to Santa Ana. Even so, looking at ParkScore fills me with hope, for two different reasons:

  • First, I see every day how local residents are rising up to demand change. They want safe and healthy communities. That is why advocates across California are calling for park equity and health for all. You can feel it!
  • Second, ParkScore gives advocates and local leaders the information they need to improve their park systems. Visit today and click on your city. You can zoom in to discover the exact location where a new park would expand 10-minute park access the most.

Once you have that information, contact your local leaders and ask them to do something about it. And vote.

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