In 2012, the Trust for Public Land (TPL) created ParkScore® to provide in-depth data to help guide local park improvement efforts. Cities can earn a maximum score of 100 during the assessment, and this year Minneapolis locked in its #1 position with a solid 86.5 ParkScore®. St. Paul scored an impressive 82.5.
According to the TPL, parks are the primary focus of assessment because,
“[They] are important to communities. Close-to-home opportunities to exercise and experience nature are essential for our physical and mental wellbeing. Studies show that parks can encourage physical activity, reduce crime, revitalize local economies, and help bring neighborhoods together.”
By using a sophisticated mapping tool, the ParkScore® is determined on three critical elements of an effective park system: acreage, facilities and investment, and access. However, one of the most important characteristics of a city’s park system is that every person lives within 10 minutes (walking distance) of a park.
A Rich History & A Bright Future
Since 1883, the citizens of Minneapolis have recognized the importance of green space and parks in a rapidly growing city. As the leadership of the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board said in 2007, “The early visionaries of the Minneapolis park system made no small plans; they dared to dream … we still marvel at their vision as we provide ongoing stewardship of one of the finest park systems in the country.”
Connecting Minneapolis residents with nature surrounding them has always been important to the Park and Rec Board, and they’ve consistently believed – and proved – that the city’s park system has enhanced the quality of life for everyone. Minneapolis’s park system has been named the best in the nation by TPL in 2013, 2014, 2015, and now, in 2016. In 2015, Minneapolis was also named the Healthiest Place to Live in the United States by numerous organizations, including Livability, Forbes, and the Travel Channel. Part of these titles can be directly associated with the amazing park system we have available, and the Minnesotan spirit of outdoor activity, regardless of temperature.
We are so happy to see Minneapolis actively embrace our mission of “impacting communities through play,” and it’s so exciting to see that our community is recognized as national leaders of this mission.