The Excellent City Park System

In 1997, Peter Harnik, now the director for our Center for City Park Excllence, began collecting and publishing data on the nation's park systems. Initially he focused on park funding and acreage in the nation's largest cities. In this publication, Harnik has expanded data collection to 55 cities and expanded the measures of park excellence to include what he calls "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Park Systems," which are:

  • a clear expression of purpose
  • an ongoing planning and community involvement process
  • sufficient assets in land, staffing and equipment to meet the system's goals
  • equitable park access
  • user satisfaction
  • safety from crime and physical hazards
  • benefits for the city beyond the boundaries of the parks

This 34-page report also provides examples of exceptional practices in the cities studied along with a referral to some of the city park facts collected by the Center for City Park Excellence.