Good Health and Parks Access Go Hand in Hand

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Katy Lang Tweet Us @walkarlington@walkarlington August 12, 2019

Katy Lang is the Program Director for Active Transportation. She started living car-free in Arlington in 2010 and is passionate about finding great running routes and safety for people walking and biking.

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Research has shown that access to parks supports health, and Arlington is one of the top cities for park access in the country.

The Importance of Parks

Parks make cities great. They give us opportunities for play, a place to gather, and access to nature. It has been proven that nature has a direct and positive impact on our health and well-being: being in nature improves our mood, reduces stress, reduces our risk of depression, and fosters creativity. In addition to increasing our well-being, parks and natural areas make our cities beautiful, can reduce violent crime, counter social isolation, and help manage storm water.

To find out which cities are providing their residents with the chance to enjoy the benefits of parks, The Trust for Public Land compiles a ParkScore for the country’s largest cities. The ParkScore is based on four criteria: how many residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park, land area dedicated to parks, spending per resident, and park amenities.

Arlington Park

How Does Arlington’s Park Access Measure Up?

The Trust has rated Arlington one of the country’s most livable urban areas, thanks to its superior access to parks. Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Washington DC are also among the top cities for parks in the country. The Trust’s analysis found that 98 percent of Arlington residents live within a 10-minute walk—or half-mile, of a park—compared to an average of 70 percent of urban residents nationally.

Because this 10-minute walk measurement takes into account actual walking routes and not just ‘as the crow flies,’ the walkability of a city and neighborhood become even more important. As the Trust for Public Land’s Senior Vice President Mr. Adrian Benepe notes, park access doesn’t just mean that people can drive there: “People have to be able to walk there. They can’t grow wings to fly over a highway or river.” Arlington’s walkable neighborhoods and trail network support park access.

The National Meets the Local

ParkScore has sparked a national conversation about access to parks and the importance of park access and walking to public health. The Trust, the National Recreation and Park Association, and the Urban Land Institute have partnered together on a movement to ensure that every American has a great park within a 10-minute, or half-mile, walk. Over 220 mayors have signed on to the initiative.

The benefits of parks and the benefits of walking make a powerful, positive combination for individuals and cities. Contribute to the movement by enjoying all that Arlington’s parks have to offer.

Walk to your local park today!

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Photo Credit:

Sam Kittner/

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