Study Finds Boston Lacking in Per-Person Green Space Offerings

Ed Greable Blogger August 24, 2019

According to a recent report released by Geotab, Boston has one of the lowest amounts of green space available per resident of all of the country’s major cities. The company came to this conclusion after analyzing the amount of green space in cities throughout the country. This “green space” included undeveloped land as well as land accessible to the public, such as community gardens, cemeteries, parks, schoolyards, public seating areas, playgrounds and public plazas.

Green Space Availability Per Person

To determine how much green space is available to residents in each of the cities analyzed, Geotab measured the total amount of green space and divided this figure by the number of residents living in the city. Researchers found that Boston residents have about 168 square feet of green space available per person. This left the city in third place amongst the cities with the least amount of green space available per person, with New York topping the list at 146 square feet per person and Miami coming in second with 166 square feet of space. On the other end of the spectrum, Atlanta had the most green space per person at 1,023 followed by Dallas, Portland (Oregon), Washington and Milwaukee.

Access to Green Space in Boston

While this report may have found that there is a relatively small amount of green space available per person in Boston, other reports found that green space is quite accessible to Boston’s residents. In fact, a report released by the Trust for Public Land in May found that every resident of Boston lives within just a 10-minute walk from a public park. Boston was the second city to achieve this milestone, with San Francisco being the first.

The same study found that Boston placed 13th overall among the country’s 100 largest cities when analyzing park quality, acreage, investment, accessibility and amenities. Among these amenities considered were things such as athletic features and restrooms. Overall, the city received a ParkScore of 71.4 out of 100, placing it between Madison, Wisconsin and St. Louis. In addition, 17 percent of the city was found to be covered by parkland, putting it well above the national ParkScore average of 9.4 percent.

Making Room for Dogs

Other studies have found that Boston scores very well in terms of providing ample space for dogs. According to the Center for City Park Excellence, which is a nonprofit at the Trust for Public Land, Boston had 1.8 off-leash dog parks per 100,000 residents in 2018. Overall, the city was found to have 12 of these areas, placing Boston in the 24th place position among the 100 largest cities with a population of 100,000 or more. The top ten cities in terms of dog parks were:

  • Boise, Idaho (13 dog parks at a rate of 5.7 per 100,000 residents)
  • Portland, Oregon (35 parks at a rate of 5.4 per 100,000 residents)
  • Henderson, Nevada (15 parks at a rate of 5.0 per 100,000 residents)
  • Norfolk, Virginia (12 parks at a rate of 4.8 per 100,000 residents)
  • San Francisco, California (35 parks at a rate of 4.0 per 100,000 residents)
  • Tampa, Florida (15 parks at a rate of 4.0 per 100,000 residents)
  • Las Vegas, Nevada (25 parks at a rate of 3.9 per 100,000 residents)
  • Madison, Wisconsin (10 parks at a rate of 3.9 per 100,000 residents)
  • Oakland, California (16 parks at a rate of 3.8 per 100,000 residents)
  • Arlington, Virginia (8 parks at a rate of 3.5 per 100,000 residents)

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