Conservation & Animal Welfare General Social Justice/Advocacy

Trust for Public Land adds equity category for 2021 ParkScore rankings; only 2 North Texas cities make top 50

Written by Laura Wood

The Trust for Public Land, a national nonprofit organization, recently published a five-part report that examines the park equity gap in America and our evolving relationship to parks and public land during this historic crisis. 

New data shows major disparities in access to the outdoors. In the 100 most populated cities, neighborhoods where most residents identify as Black, Hispanic and Latinx, American Indian/Alaska Native or Asian American and Pacific Islander have access to an average of 44 percent less park acreage than predominantly white neighborhoods, and similar park space inequities exist in low-income neighborhoods across cities, highlighting the urgent need to center equity in park investment and planning.

The Trust for Public Lands contends that “parks are essential for public health, climate resilience, and strong connected communities.  And yet, 100 million people in the U.S.—including 28 million kids—don’t have a park within a 10-minute walk of home.”

The Trust for Public Land’s ParkScore index is the national gold-standard comparison of park systems across the 100 most populated cities in the United States. Published annually, the index measures park systems according to five categories: access, investment, amenities, acreage, and—new for
2021—equity. 

This year, the cities of Plano and Dallas ranked in the top 50. Plano ranked number 15 with 78% of resident living within a ten minute walk of a park. Plano residents in neighborhoods of color have access to 7% less park space per person than the city median and 2% more than those in white neighborhoods and residents in low-income neighborhoods have access to 31% less park space per person than the city median and 36% less than those in high-income neighborhoods.

Dallas ranked number 50 with 73% of resident living within a ten minute walk of a park. Unlike Plano, Dallas residents in neighborhoods of color have access to 48% more park space per person than the city median and 25% more than those in white neighborhoods and residents in low-income neighborhoods have access to 12% more park space per person than the city median and 2% more than those in high-income neighborhoods.

Beyond the ranking of 100 cities, the data behind the ParkScore index also reveals park access levels for nearly every city and town in the United States. This tool provides communities with the information needed to help close the park equity gap.

About the author

Laura Wood