Los Angeles's green space situation could be getting way better soon, thanks to this week's announcement that the Army Corps of Engineers will be recommending a a huge $1-billion makeover for the LA River, and it's not a minute too soon. The Trust for Public Land has released this year's ParkScore, their analysis of the public parks system in the country's 60 largest cities. Bad news: Out of those 60, LA tied for forty-fifth place, with a score of 42 out of 100. (That's a bit worse than the city's overall score two years ago, even though a larger percentage of our land is park space than it was in years past.)
What neighborhoods have the most need? The ParkScore site's interactive map allows users to input their addresses and see how their immediate area stack up. It also helpfully lists the closest parks and their distance from that address. Red on the map means the area has a very high need for parks; orange means there's only a moderate need. Two years ago, Hollywood was mostly covered in red; now it seems to have only a few needy spots left. Despite what looks like progress, LA still had a poor showing compared to nearby Long Beach, which ranked twenty-fourth on the list.
Here are some LA highlights from the report:
· Median park size: 5.2 acres (smaller than the 2012 average of 6.6 acres)
· Park land as % of city area: 16 percent
· Park spending per resident: $59.66
· Playgrounds per 10,000: 1
· Most visited park: Griffith Park
· Park acreage: 47,221 acres
· People served per park acre: 82
TPL considers "acreage, services and investment, and access" when calculating ParkScores. Access is measured in terms of "the percentage of the population living within a ten-minute walk of a public park," giving more points the higher the percentage.