As the City Council continues to play a critical role in funding New York City’s parks, understanding how parks and open space rank in each of the 51 City Council Districts provides key to local advocacy efforts.
The 2015 City Council District Profiles, released on Thursday by New Yorkers for Parks provide a comprehensive assessment of open space resources throughout the five boroughs, and may be used to educate citizens, elected officials, non-profits and others on park issues and to inform park advocacy in every district.
Each Council District Profile tells a local story about neighborhood resources, but as a collection, they tell us a lot about each borough and the city as a whole. Some interesting findings include:
• 61% of New Yorkers have access to a local park: NY4P measured the proportion of city residents who live within a five-minute walk of a city park entrance.
• Access to parks is highest in Manhattan: 69% of Manhattan residents live within a five-minute walk of a city park entrance. However, Manhattan has proportionately low park & playground acres per residents, with only 1.7 acres of city parks & playground per 1,000 residents.
• Staten Island has the highest amount of city parks & playground acres per resident: There are 11.8 acres of city parks & playgrounds per 1,000 residents in Staten Island. Yet, only 33% of the borough’s residents live within a five minute walk of a city park entrance.
• Brooklyn, compared to other boroughs, is park-poor: Brooklyn has 1.4 acres of city parks & playgrounds per 1,000 residents, well below the city’s average of 2.9 acres. Only 6% of the borough’s area is comprised of city parks & playground properties. Three out of the five lowest-ranked districts for park & playground area are in Brooklyn: District 45 (Jumaane Williams), 1%; District 44 (David Greenfield), 2%; District 34 (Antonio Reynoso), 2%.
• City parks & playgrounds cover 9% of the city’s area: The Bronx has the greatest proportion of city parks & playgrounds by area, at 16%.
Each profile provides rankings for park acreage in each district, maintenance inspection information, population and parks access, and capital spending on parks in each district. New Yorkers can find out how their district ranks on number of parks amenities and measures of civic engagement. Up-to-date maps pinpoint the locations of parks, playgrounds, swimming pools, recreation centers and community gardens. In addition to the data, contact information for political representatives is included to support local advocacy efforts.
The Council District Profiles indicate how well each district performs against other districts and citywide averages in measuring important local indicators such as how many residents live within a 5 minute walk of a park entrance, or the amount of district land that is made up of parks and playgrounds. The profiles take a deeper dive by highlighting the percentage of the local population that is under 18, and the amount of parkland acreage per 1,000 children. The senior population is given the same attention, with population measures and the amount of parkland per 1,000 residents over age 65. For the 2015 district profiles, socioeconomic data is included to measure the open space inventory for the most under-resourced communities by including statistics that reflect the percentage of a district population in poverty, as well as the percentage of children receiving public assistance.