Posted on May 13, 2011 by Ryan Donahue
As cities vie to attract talented college graduates and sustain population growth, they are focusing attention on parks to increase livability and support a strong economy. Since parks must be convenient if they are to provide their benefits, many places have set goals for the maximum distance any resident should be from the nearest park. But the goals vary widely, from an eighth of a mile in Chicago to two miles in Atlanta. Many people wonder if it is even possible to establish a universal standard.
This is a complex question. An individual’s willingness to walk varies greatly depending on age, health, time availability, quality of surroundings, safety, climate, and many other factors. On top of the variability in walking patterns, a city’s density has a bearing on what is considered a reasonable distance and where it is cost effective to add new parks.
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