National study claims Jacksonville's parks need help

June 6, 2013 28 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

According to the Trust for Public Land, the City of Jacksonville needs significant improvement in providing park access to its residents. Here's a look at the Trust for Public Land's annual ParkScore ranking of the park systems in America's 50 largest cities.

The Trust for Public Land ParkScore index analyzes public access to existing parks and open space. The analysis incorporates a two-step approach: 1) determines where there are gaps in park availability across the landscape, and 2) constructs a demographic profile to identify gaps with the most urgent need for parkland. Park gaps are based on a dynamic 1/2 mile service area (10 minute walking distance) for all parks. In this analysis, service areas use the street network to determine walkable distance - streets such as highways, freeways, and interstates are not considered viable means of walkable travel and therefore are considered to be barriers across the landscape.

Demographic profiles are based on 2010 Census block groups to determine park need for percentage of population age 19 and younger, percentage of households with income less than 75% of city median income (Jacksonville less than $35,000), and population density (people per acre). Each profile uses the city average for that profile as the baseline for determining high and very high level of need as shown in the three inset maps. High need falls below the baseline, while very high need falls above the baseline. The combined level of park need result shown on the large map takes the three demographic profile results and assigns the following weights:

50% = population density (people per acre)
25% = percentage of population age 19 and younger
25% = percentage of households with income less than $35,000

Areas in dark red show a very high need for parks while areas in orange show a high need for parks.

Jacksonville's Urban Core


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