Urban mayors are working to put parks within reach of city dwellers by developing parks in unexpected and creative places.
All these efforts help provide green space within a ten-minute walk for the millions of urban and suburban Americans who are too far from parks to derive the health, environmental, and rejuvenating benefits they offer. While a number of big-city mayors and even a governor have endorsed the goal of providing parks or other open spaces within a ten-minute walk of residents, adding enough parks to serve all 249 million people living in U.S. cities, suburbs, and urbanized areas—83 percent of the population—will be a challenge.
…many neighborhoods surrounding parks are far from being fully developed. In fact, with many urban communities in a state of almost continuous redevelopment flux, there is often room for gradual densification. A rough calculation shows that if the density around parks in all urban areas were slowly increased so that the half-mile-walk “catchment population” doubled from an average of about 1,850 people to 3,700, the number of new parks needed to provide the ten-minute walk to all city dwellers would be cut in half. by Peter Harnik, Director, Center for City Park Excellence at the Trust for Public Land and author of Urban Green: Innovative Parks for Resurgent Cities (Island Press, 2010) in Urban Land, the magazine of the Urban Land Institute.