People dancing, people laughing
A man selling ice cream…
Hopefully those two simple lines have sent you into a head-bobbing, joyful rendition of “Saturday in the Park,” a classic ode as to how amazing green escapes can be among city streets. If you’ve ever lived close to a park, you might be one of those people who swears by the ideal of “location, location, location.” Parks are where dogs (and people alike) can run around to get out some of their boundless energy. They’re where kites grace the skies and flowers bloom from the ground. They’re where you can go pretending you’re planning to run, only to decide last minute that you’re cool“just walking for today.” They’re certainly the sight of some ice-cream treats. And last, but certainly not least, they are a breath of fresh air and a place of respite from the day to day rumble that pushes us all along in the city.
District locals, rejoice, because as if we didn’t already know DC was the best city, Fast Company went and confirmed our sneaking suspicions. The trendy, ahead-of-the-times news outlet recently released an article detailing the “10 best U.S. cities for urban parks.” To ensure that the list wasn’t playing favorites, it was developed using a ParkScore index, which “measures how many parks a city has, how close people live to them, and much the city invests in them. “
The ParkScore index, which was created by the Trust for Public Land, reveals that some cities are working overtime when it comes to making sure residents have access to green space. For example, in San Francisco, 100% of residents are a short walk from a local park! If you live in New York City or Minneapolis, you’re probably about 10 minutes away from some kind of grassy refuge.
The Trust for Public Land is a non-profit believes that everyone deserves a park, and fights for that notion, fueled by the fact that 1 in 3 Americans don’t have a park within a 10-minute walk of their home. They also work hard behind the scenes to keep public land public. In a one-liner on their website, the Trust says “Our mission is to create parks and protect land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come.” Speaking to FastCo about what makes parks so important, Charlie McCabe, director, says:
“We want to make sure that people can get to a park on foot, because what we’ve seen in terms of health studies done at both the national as well as local levels is that if people can walk versus ride a bike or get into a car or take the bus –– the usage rate for parks goes up pretty heavily. People stay longer, and people exercise more.”
The District ranked high at #3 on the list, beaten out only by Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota. Others who made the list included:
- Arlington, Virginia
- San Francisco, California
- Portland, Oregon
- New York City
- Irvine, California
With an extensive list of places to sprawl out and snack on a picnic, I’m not surprised that DC is the cream of the crop. Consider the National Mall, where one can layout a gingham blanket in the shadow’s of our nation’s history. Or, reminisce about scooping up a spot in Tidal Basin where you can scope our cherry blossoms as they come to life each and every year. Yes, the living’s good in DC –– and thankfully, it’s green, too.
Now, is it just me or does a Saturday in the park sound like utter perfection?