Public Park Land in Short Supply

May 15, 2004 · by DesignIntelligence

In a time where both childhood and adult obesity is one of the nation's biggest medical concerns, few children in metro areas have a safe, green place to exercise and play outdoors.

In a time where both childhood and adult obesity is one of the nation's biggest medical concerns, few children in metro areas have a safe, green place to exercise and play outdoors. According to a report released last month by the Trust for Public Land, only one-third of the kids in Los Angeles are within walking distance of a public park. In Los Angeles County that represents 1.8 million children under the age of 18 who don't have access to a public place to romp and stretch out. A quarter mile was the standard for what's considered a safe walking distance. Children living within the city of San Diego are equally unlikely to live near a park, but San Diego County residents outside the city limits fare better, according to the report, No Place to Play: A Comparative Analysis of Park Access. The Trust for Public Land study compared the number and percentage of children living within one-quarter mile of a park in seven major metropolitan areas. Los Angeles fared worst among the areas evaluated. Boston was rated best in the study, with 78 percent of children living within walking distance of a park or other open space. The rankings of metro area, percentage of children with access, and the number of children without follow:

Metro Area - w/access - # without

Boston - 78% - 25,000
Newark - 77% - 24,500
Camden - 72% - 9,500
New York - 59% - 745,500
Atlanta - 43% - 64,500
Los Angeles - 34% - 716,500
(LA County) - 31% - 1.8 million
San Diego - 32% - 227,000
(S.D. county) - 58% - 302,000

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