The general assumption is that New Yorkers are nature deprived — which would be accurate, in a way. However, a new database from The Trust For Public Lands turns that notion completely on its head.

The database, ParkServe, found that 99 percent of New Yorkers live within a 10 minute walk to a park – much higher than the national average of 55 percent. ParkServe, the database used, found there are 2,306 parks in New York City with a total acreage of 29,872.

According to The Patch, “This is the first time in America’s history that every park in each urban municipality has been mapped.”

It doesn’t get better for access to green spaces than in New York City. Photo: Courtesy of The Trust for Public Land

The tool allows people to see who has access to (and who lacks access to) park locations, along with the percentage of residents who live near a park. They use demographic factors like income, ethnicity and age by reporting data at the citywide level for 14,000 municipalities.

“Today, more than 100 million people in communities across America don’t have a park within a 10-minute walk of home – and that’s 100 million too many,” President and CEO of The Trust for Public Land Diane Regas said in a press release. “ParkServe will help us address this challenge, so every person in America can experience the countless benefits of having a park close to home.”

There’s a lot more green space down there than you’d think. Photo: Pixabay/Pexels

The hope is that ParkServe becomes a powerful tool for not only residents but also for city planners to help give everyone equal access to green spaces. By creating shareable and printable GIS-generated maps that residents can use for evidence, hopefully ParkServe can help The Trust for Public Lands achieve their goal of putting a park or natural area within a 10-minute walk of every American.

“The ParkServe data platform takes the guesswork out of planning where to put a park,” Breece Robertson, The Trust for Public Lands’ Geographic Information System director, said in the press release. “It tells mayors and recreation departments, ‘To serve the most people in need, build a park right here.'”

And apparently, if you’re looking for a prototype for how to incorporate parks into urban planning, just look to New York City.

To check out the database and see how your municipality stacks up, head over to ParkServe.

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