Which Cities Have Most Swimming Pools? Find Out in City Parks Report

Park directors and advocates hailed the latest report on city parks released Wednesday by The Trust for Public Land, a leading national non-profit in creating urban parks across the country.

The 2014 City Parks Facts report, now available at www.tpl.org/cityparkfacts, is the nation's most complete compilation of data about urban parks in the nation's largest 100 cities. It is created by The Trust for Public Land's Center for City Park Excellence, which is directed by Peter Harnik.

The report calculates several measures of how city park systems serve their citizens, including the number of residents within a 10-minute walk of a park. Using precise, computerized mapping technology, The Trust for Public Land analyzed access to city park systems, and even factored in barriers such as highways, railroad tracks, and unbridged rivers.

"You can't have a great city without a great park system and this report helps measure some of the steps cities are taking to improve their parks" said Will Rogers, President of The Trust for Public Land.

The report has a number of interesting details, including:

  • Two Ohio cities, Cleveland and Cincinnati, have the highest number of municipal swimming pools per resident
  • Three southeastern cities have more disc golf courses per resident than any other city – Durham, N.C.; Tampa, Fla; and Lexington-Fayette, N.C.
  • Arlington, Va., and Norfolk, Va., have the most tennis courts per residents.
  • Arlington, Va., also has the most off-leash dog parks and most nature centers per resident.
  • Central Park in New York has more visitors than any other urban park. San Diego's Mission Bay and Balboa Parks were also among the most visited, making San Diego the only city with two parks among the top 5 most-visited.

The report also includes lists of the nation's largest, oldest, and most visited urban parks.

"Too many people just take parks for granted," said George Dusenbury, Commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs for the city of Atlanta. "City Park Facts really helps us break through the clutter and show the reality of exactly how much parks do for cities. Here in Atlanta, the advocates latched onto one of City Park Facts metrics—the 10-minute walk to a park—and now Mayor Reed has selected that measure as his most important park goal. It's very helpful to see how we're doing on that score every year."

"The Philadelphia Parks Alliance uses City Park Facts every year when it comes out," said the group's Executive Director, Lauren Bornfriend. "It enables us to make a stronger case to both citizens and policy makers by showing how our city compares with others. It also provides us with baseline data and helps us learn how other places deal with their park issues. It answers that perennial question, 'How are we doing?'"

The report also makes the case for private philanthropy to support parks. "Foundations, corporations and high net worth individuals need facts to support their charitable decisions," said Judith Kieffer, President of the Los Angeles Parks Foundation. "City Park Facts report is an essential tool to make the case to donors about the value of philanthropic giving for parks."