ParkScore recently released their annual rankings and Seattle came in at number nine. Seattle’s score is 71.5 out of 100, which looks low until you see that Minneapolis as the #1 ranked city has a score of only 84. We received four out of a possible five park benches. There’s some room for improvement, but still, not bad for the 20th largest city in the country!
ParkScore is a project of The Trust for Public Land, and the ParkScore index measures how well the 75 largest U.S. cities are meeting the need for parks.
Like any project of this type it’s not difficult to find things to quibble with in terms of methodology and scoring. For instance, Seattle’s score for median park size is only 4 out of a possible 20. That looks like a problem. But it could be argued that part of that stems from Seattle’s dedication to pocket parks in the urban environment, which I think is a good thing.
Overall, I think ParkScore does a pretty good job using available data and maps to come up with their scores. The only way to come up with a truly accurate ranking would be to send human surveyors to all 75 cities to randomly sample city parks in person in order to also rate quality and factor in local quirks, in addition to using the hard data. So as it stands, I think ParkScore is pretty useful to the cities in the ranking.
If you’d like to see for yourself, the rankings are found here and the detailed Seattle city scoring is found here. There are some interesting stats on the page for Seattle, including the fact that I had guessed correctly, Greenlake Park is indeed Seattle’s most-used park.