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Seattle is #9 (but also #1 and #5)

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Seattle ranked ninth among 58 large cities that were evaluated for their walkability and outdoor recreation assets. The rankings were compiled by COMMERCIALCafé, a real estate listings and data provider.

Six metrics were used to determine the rankings, with New Orleans coming out on top by scoring 68.29 points on a 100 point scale. Seattle accumulated 47.18 points.

When considering the measurements separately, Seattle ranked first for the metric based on park spending per capita, and fifth when comparing the share of workers who walk to work. Researchers reported Seattle spends roughly $351 per resident on its parks, including both public and private investments in park maintenance and improvements.

In announcing the rankings, CommercialCafe commented on the value of walkability and outdoor recreation. “During the past year, many of us have realized the importance of outdoor spaces by either having or not having access to them, and this is even more true in the more densely populated urban centers,” the author of their blog wrote. “It is difficult to convey simply just how important it is to properly integrated green open spaces with the fabric of our ever-expanded cities,” the writer added.

The rankings included 58 cities with populations of at least 300,000 residents. In addition to park investments per resident, each city was evaluated for:

  • Percentage of walking commuters (Boston was #1);
  • average walking commute time (Virginia Beach, Virginia was #1);
  • public parks to city area ratio (New Orleans was #1);
  • ratio of public lands (in acres) to 1,000 residents (Jacksonville, Florida was #1);
  • a trail index (which considers walking trails, athletic field space, dog parks, and playgrounds) (Minneapolis was #1);

In addition to New Orleans, other cities that ranked ahead of Seattle were #2 Washington, D.C., #3 Minneapolis, #4 Virginia Beach, #5 San Francisco, #6 Portland, Oregon, #7 New York City, and #8 Albuquerque. Rounding out the top 10 was Cincinnati.

CommercialCafe is part of California-based Yardi Systems. Its walkability and outdoor recreation rankings are part of its Urban Sustainability series.

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