Increasing the density of compact urban places is essential for creating more sustainable cities, particularly in a growing population. One important way to make those compact places more appealing and livable is with public parks.
Many studies have pointed out the benefits of green spaces in cities. They clean rain water in urban watersheds, they promote exercise and good mental health, and they’ve even been cited as a deterrent in criminal activity.
There’s no doubt that Atlanta earns the title “city in a forest” because of our canopy of trees lining our streets, with much credit to the great work done by Trees Atlanta. But don’t let that greenery above your head fool you — we still have some work to do when it comes to creating public green space on the ground and giving communities the full benefits of shared parkland.
A new report from the Trust for Public Land shows that, though Atlanta’s “Parkscore” ranking has improved since last year, it still has a below-average amount of park space. As this news piece points out: “5.3 percent of Atlanta’s city area is devoted to parkland, compared to the national ParkScore average of more than 10 percent.”
Here’s a great interactive map from the Parkscore website of Atlanta’s park space.
Atlanta is moving in the right direction with the Beltline set to create more public parks on the route. But for maximum impact, Atlanta needs to make sure that all places with compact density are served with parks — that’s happening on the NE section of the Beltline for sure, but I think more work could be done elsewhere.
Buckhead Village and West Midtown are two spots that come to mind immediately as lacking good parks and I know there are others.
Photo of the Carter Center park by me!