Healthy Communities Count!
Acres of Parks
Why are Parks Important?
Parks and open, green space play an important role in the health of the community, especially in large cities. Parks provide places for children and adults to play, gather, exercise, and hold community events. The number and size of parks in a community can influence the health and well-being of residents. Counting the number of parks, their size, and condition can help public health and community experts understand why some neighborhoods have higher rates of obesity or less people participating in community activities.
Neighborhood parks provide many additional benefits to the community. Communities with parks and gardens encourage people to live in the neighborhood longer and improve how people view the neighborhood. Parks and gardens in good condition can also help reduce crime in the area. Studies have found that neighbors of parks and gardens that are in good condition report fewer drug and alcohol related crimes, reduced graffiti, and a safer environment.
Parks and Health
Parks and recreation areas provide many health benefits. Research shows that spending time outdoors increases physical activity, improves recovery from illnesses, relieves stress, and can reduce obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
What the Map Shows
The Central Corridor has 24 parks that total over 696 acres of parkland. One way to count parks and the influence of parks on a community is to count the number of park acres for every 1,000 residents. The National Recreation and Parks Association recommends a minimum of 6 - 10 acres of parkland for every 1,000 residents. In 2007, St. Paul ranked the highest on a list of 12 U.S. cities with over 18 acres of parks for every 1,000 residents; Minneapolis had 16 acres of parkland for every 1,000 residents. In 2008, the Twin Cities had 15.8 acres and the Central Corridor had 11.8 acres for every 1,000 residents. (Click on the map for a larger image.)
This count includes formal public parks only. Other public spaces used for recreation, such as school playgrounds and community centers, are not included.
Printable information sheet, with map: Acres of Parks (PDF: 276KB/2 pages)
Click on the map below for a larger image