Special to the Times
Boston has landed near the top of the 2023 ParkScore list, compiled by The Trust for Public Land, that ranks public access residents and visitors have to parks and park amenities. The annual report uses mapping technology and demographic data to determine how well the largest cities in the United States are meeting the need for parks. Boston tied for tenth place on the 2023 ParkScore index, climbing two spots from its 2022 finish and rejoining the ParkScore top ten for the first time since 2020. Boston shares tenth position with New York City.
“We’re thrilled that Boston has moved up from twelfth place in 2022 to tenth place in this year’s ParkScore list,” said Ryan Woods, Commissioner of the Boston Parks and Recreation Department. “This recognition reflects our ongoing commitment to providing our residents with accessible, high-quality parks and park amenities. We will continue prioritizing services and investment in our parks, ensuring that Boston remains a vibrant, family-friendly, and green city for all residents and visitors.”
Boston and San Francisco are the only ParkScore cities to provide 100 percent of residents with access to a local park within a 10-minute walk of their homes. Boston repeated its perfect park access rating this year despite strong population growth—an impressive accomplishment.
Boston also lifted its ParkScore with solid access for park acreage. Boston reserves 17.7 percent of the city’s area for parks, among the country’s best and far above the national ParkScore average of 9.8 percent. Boston earned top marks for splash pads and other water features, St. Paul received top marks for basketball hoops, and Las Vegas scored best for playgrounds.
ParkScore ratings are based equally on three factors: park access, which measures the percentage of reside
nts living within a 10-minute walk of a park (approximately ½-mile); park size, based on a city’s median park size and the percentage of total city area dedicated to parks; and services and investment, which combines the number of playgrounds per 10,000 city residents and per capita park spending.
Boston is among the national leaders working to promote community health at local parks. For example, the West of Washington Coalition, a neighborhood group in Dorchester, seeks to provide access to parks by sponsoring community events that welcome neighbors to its newly established WOW Family Park. The park offers access to the outdoors by