Interiorbeat

How green is your city,
and how accessible are green areas?

Why are green cities important?

Green cities are healthy cities where it's inhabitants thrive. There are many reasons why green cities are essential and why it's worth looking into how well a city is doing. We have collected a few reasons with links to more reading here.

How we have done this

  1. Our analysis is based on data obtained through cloud-based geospatial processing technologies provided in Google Earth Engine. For details on our data collection and analysis see more here.
  2. We have collected and analyzed data for both total green areas and public green areas. This is important to assess the true accessibility to green areas.
  3. We have analyzed data from 2021 and 10 years back to illuminate the changes over this period. This allows for a better understanding of the development.
  4. The data for each city is ranked on three dimensions for comparability.
    1. Rank in the state: This compares the city relative to all other cities that we have data on in the same state.
    2. Rank in the US: This is the rank among all other cities in the US that we have analyzed.
    3. Rank comparable cities: This compares the city relative to cities that are in the same population interval.

You can read our technical methodology here.

Selected learnings from the research

Based on our data collection and analysis, some selected learnings are presented below for the entire data set (i.e., across the 500 largest cities in the US).

Total Green Area Percentage

Ranged from 0.38% (Hawthorne, CA) to 94.82% (Suffolk, VA), while the median is 54.15%.

Lowest
0.38%
Median
54.15%
Highest
94.82%
0%
100%
To be in the U.S. top a city must have
10% (90th percentile) 78.59% or higher
5% (95th percentile) 86.14% or higher
1% (99th percentile) 89.61% or higher

The greatest increase during the period was observed for El Monte, CA going from 0.01% to 0.40% (equivalent to an increase of 2,693%). At the other end of the spectrum the biggest decrease was observed for Hialeah, FL going from 10.69% to 6.54% (equivalent to a decrease of 38.9%).

Total Green Area per inhabitant (both public and private)

Ranged from 8 to 115,479 sq ft per inhabitant, while the median is 4,365 sq ft per inhabitant.

Lowest
8 sq ft
Median
4,365 sq ft
Highest
115,479 sq ft
To be in the U.S. top a city must have
10% (90th percentile) 14,057 sq ft or more
5% (95th percentile) 17,347 sq ft or more
1% (99th percentile) 26,083 sq ft or more

The greatest increase during the period was again observed for El Monte, CA going from 0.34 to 10 sq ft per inhabitant (equivalent to an increase of 57.8%). At the other end of the spectrum the biggest decrease was observed for Frisco, TX going from 9,019 to 3,743 sq ft per inhabitant (equivalent to a decrease of 58.5%).

Inhabitants living within 10-minute walk of a public green area

Ranged from highest 10.18% (Peoria, IL) to lowest 0.0044% (Lynwood, CA), while the median is 0.907% of inhabitants living within 10-minute walk of a public green area.

Lowest
0.0044%
Median
0.907%
Highest
10.18%
To be in the U.S. top a city must have
10% (90th percentile) 2.53% or higher
5% (95th percentile) 3.15% or higher
1% (99th percentile) 5.20% or higher

The greatest increase (albeit from a very small point of departure) during the period was observed for Buena Park, CA going from 0.016% to 0.271% of inhabitants living within 10-minute walk of a public green area. (equivalent to an increase of 1,592.3%). At the other end of the spectrum the biggest decrease was observed for San Leandro, CA going from 0.177% to 0.0886% of inhabitants living within 10-minute walk of a public green area (equivalent to a decrease of 47.3%).