Jun 5, 2024 - News

Detroit drops in park ranking

Bar chart showing the 2024 ParkScore for the city of Detroit, overall and across five metrics. Overall, Detroit scored 47.2 out of 100 for the quality of its parks system, lower than the national median score of 53. The city scored highest in park access, at 79 points, and lowest in acreage, at 19.5 points.
Data: Trust for Public Land; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Detroit ranks 65th out of the country's 100 most populous cities for its public parks — down five spots from last year — according to a new report by the pro-park nonprofit Trust for Public Land.

Why it matters: Parks confer a wealth of health benefits, and the report found that residents in high-scoring cities are also more socially connected with their neighbors.

How it works: The Trust for Public Land annually scores cities' park systems based on access, acreage, amenities, equity and investment.

  • Each city is awarded points based on those factors and then given an overall "ParkScore" of up to 100.

Here are more findings from the report:

  • 84% of Detroiters live within a 10-minute walk to a park, higher than the median for all the top cities of 74%.
  • However, Detroit received just 20 out of 100 points for its park acreage and 21 out of 100 for the park system's financial health.
  • Neighborhoods with the highest concentration of people of color have access to 38% less park space per person than neighborhoods with the most white people.

The big picture: Detroit is overhauling its green spaces, including using more than $10 million of its pandemic-recovery American Rescue Plan Act funding for parks and $11 million for the Joe Louis Greenway.

  • The parks and rec department debuted a five- to 10-year vision in 2022 with goals including more walking paths, expanding natural habitats to 1,500 acres and increasing engagement and programming.
  • Challenges remain like trash maintenance, safety concerns and lack of distributed information about offerings.
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