The Trust for Public Land announced the annual ParkScore index, ranking Phoenix area cities, including Gilbert, Scottsdale and Mesa, in the bottom third.
The ParkScore index ranks park systems in the 100 largest U.S. cities and is considered to be the gold standard for park evaluation.
Among area cities, Scottsdale scored best at 66th, Chandler ranked 69th, Gilbert placed 75th; Glendale finished 73rd; Phoenix placed 82nd, and Mesa ranked last at 96th.
For the first time this year, Gilbert was included in the ParkScore index. The city invests $185 per person on parks, well above the national ParkScore average of $96. However, the city’s ParkScore ranking was negatively affected by below-average marks for park amenities.
Washington, DC was rated the nation’s best park system, with Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota following.
The park scores are based on park access, acreage, investment, amenities and equity. This year, ParkScore added a park equity measure to the system, which revealed the racial and economic disparities in park space and distribution. This additional measure affected rankings of many cities.
During the pandemic, city parks became increasingly popular.
According to The Trust for Public Land, 57 of the 100 largest U.S. cities used parks for COVID testing, vaccination, or PPE distribution centers during the past year. 70 cities offered free meals at parks during the pandemic.
Visit https://www.tpl.org/parkscore to view an in-depth report on Phoenix area cities.