SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department and Mayor Edwin M. Lee announced today that the City of San Francisco is the model city for cities across the nation as The Trust for Public Land (TPL), National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), and Urban Land Institute are launching an historic “10-minute walk” parks advocacy campaign. The campaign is set to establish the ambitious goal that all Americans, and all residents of these 134 cities should live within a 10-minute walk (or half-mile) of a high-quality park or green space.
This bipartisan group includes mayors from all across the country and represents cities large and small, including America’s largest cities (New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston) and diverse communities across the country. The U.S. Conference of Mayors, which represents more than 1,000 U.S. mayors, also unanimously passed a resolution at the 85th Annual Meeting urging all mayors to actively pursue the 10-minute walk to a park goal.
In May this year, Mayor Lee and the Recreation and Park Department announced that San Francisco is the first and only city in the United States where all residents have access to a park within a 10-minute walk. The findings were part of TPL’s Park Score, an assessment of the nation’s 100 largest cities.
“We want all of our residents to take part in the prosperity and beauty of our city, which is why it is particularly meaningful that we have a parks system that is accessible and enjoyable for everyone,” said Mayor Edwin M. Lee. “We have dedicated record funding levels into our parks, and that investment is reflected by San Francisco becoming the first city in the country where everyone lives within 10 minutes of an open space. Our families are healthier and happier when they can easily enjoy our local parks.”
During Mayor Lee’s tenure, the City has invested $335 million in parks and open space projects. For his 2017-2019 budget, Mayor Lee has included $84.4 million in capital projects for the Recreation and Park Department, maintaining record levels of investment in the City’s parks and open spaces. The $84 million investment in capital projects represents an 81% increase from 2015 levels.
“To achieve the distinction as the nation’s first city with every resident living within a 10-minute walk of a park or open space, our Department has been actively maximizing the recreational use of park land citywide as well as acquiring new land to develop into public parks,” said Phil Ginsburg, SF Rec and Park Department’s General Manager. “But we know that we couldn’t have achieved this great milestone if it were not for the support from Mayor Lee, our elected leaders, and park advocates. This impactful accomplishment belongs to all of us.”
In recent years, San Francisco has added the Golden Gate Park CommUNITY Garden, Interior Greenbelt, Geneva Community Garden, Noe Valley Town Square, 17th and Folsom Street Park, Francisco Reservoir, and 900 Innes Ave, also known as Indian Basin, to the City’s list of new parks.
And in addition to planning, developing, and maintaining lands under its jurisdiction, the Department continues to work with fellow city agencies to address open space needs around the City. The Department brings park expertise and perspective to emerging open space projects, working closely to advise on open space needs. As a result, parks such as the SOMA West Skate and Dog Park, Tunnel Top Park, Progress Park, Playground at 43rd Avenue, and others have become neighborhood parks that serve San Francisco residents.
Studies show that high-quality parks provide a wide range of benefits to urban residents and cities themselves.
These include physical and mental health benefits, by providing opportunities to be physically active and to interact with nature; economic benefits by boosting business and helping to revitalize neighborhoods; community-building benefits by providing opportunities for neighbors to interact with each other and work together to improve their surroundings; and environmental benefits by cleaning and cooling the air, improving climate resilience, and providing opportunities for environmental education.
The full list of 134 mayors; cities endorsing the 10-minute walk standard can be found at 10minutewalk.org.
About The Trust for Public Land (TPL)
The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Millions of people live near a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year.
About the Urban Land Institute
The Urban Land Institute is a nonprofit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the institute has more than 40,000 members worldwide representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines.
About the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA)
The National Recreation and Park Association is the leading non-profit dedicated to ensuring that all Americans have access to quality parks and recreation. Through its network of 60,000 recreation and park professionals and advocates, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation, and equitable access to parks.