Hoboken’s Park Deficit Is Real
Hoboken is suffering from a severe open space deficit. The national average is 6.25‐10.5 park acres
per 1000 residents. NYC has 2.5 park acres per 1000 and Hoboken only has 0.78 park acres per 1000
residents. The time to build more real parks in Hoboken is now!
Why Does Hoboken Need More Parks?
Economic Benefits of Parks
Increased Property Values, both Residential and Commercial
The real estate market consistently demonstrates that many people are willing to pay a larger
amount for property located close to parks and open space areas than for a home that does not
offer this amenity.
This holds true for commercial properties as well. Bryant Park in NYC is a perfect example. By
1980, the 133‐year‐old square behind the New York Public Library was riddled with drug dealers
and had an average of 150 robberies a year – citizens entered at their peril. But after a 12‐year
renovation the park re‐opened in 1992, becoming the site of major fashion shows, a jazz festival,
outdoor movies, and an outdoor café, and attracting thousands of visitors each day. The leasing
activity in the neighborhood increased 60%. The park revived the demand for space in neighboring
office buildings and between 1990 and 2000, the rents for commercial office space near Bryant Park
increased between 115% and 225%, compared with increases of between 41% and 73% in
Economic Revitalization: Attracting and Retaining Businesses and Residents
Quality of Life is a determining factor in real estate values and economic vitality. A 1998 real estate
industry report calls livability “a litmus test for determining the strength of the real estate
investment market….if people want to live in a place, companies, stores, and apartments will
Public Health Benefits of City Parks
Physical Activity Makes People Healthier
Physical activity produces important psychological benefits. It relieves symptoms of depression
and anxiety, improves mood, and enhances psychological well‐being.
America’s Twin Plagues: Physical Inactivity and Obesity
Despite the well‐known benefits of physical activity, only 25% of American adults exercise and
only 27% of students in grades 9 through 12 engage in moderate to intensive physical activity. A
park is a great motivator to improve those dour statistics.
Access to Parks Increases Frequency of Exercise
Strong evidence shows that when people have access to parks, they exercise more. In a study by
the CDC, creation of or enhanced access to places for physical activity led to a 25.6% increase in the
percentage of people exercising on three or more days per week. The same group of studies
showed that access to a place to exercise results in a 5.1% median increase in aerobic capacity,
along with reduction in body fat, weight loss, improvements in flexibility, and an increase in
perceived energy. People gain weight when they have no where to walk and no where to play.
Exposure to Nature and Greenery Makes People Healthier
Contact with the natural world improves physical and psychological health. The concept that
plants have a role in mental health is well established. Horticulture therapy evolved as a form of
mental health treatment, based on the therapeutic effects of gardening. It is also used today in
community‐based programs, geriatrics programs, prisons, developmental disabilities programs
and special education. Research on recreational activities has shown that savanna‐like settings
(grassy plains with scattered trees) are associated with self‐reported feelings of peacefulness,
tranquility, or relaxation.
Environmental Benefits of Parks
Pollution Abatement and Cooling
Green space in urban areas provides substantial environmental benefits. Trees in NYC removed an
estimated 1,821 metric tons of air pollution in 1994. Trees and soil under them also act as natural
filters for water pollution.
Controlling Storm Water Runoff & Flooding
Trees and grass more effectively and less expensively manage the flow of storm water runoff than
do concrete sewers and drainage ditches. Runoff problems occur because cities are covered with
impervious surfaces such as roads, parking lots, and rooftops, which prevent water from soaking
into the ground. A 1‐acre parking lot causes 16 times more run off than a 1‐acre meadow. By
incorporating trees and grass into a city’s infrastructure, managers can build a smaller, less
expensive storm water management system, according to American Forests Urban Resource
Social Benefits of Parks
The most important benefit of city parks, although perhaps the hardest to quantify, is their role as
community development tools. City Parks make neighborhoods more livable; they offer
recreational opportunities, and they provide a place where people can experience a sense of
Access to public parks and recreational facilities has been strongly linked to reductions in crime
and in particular reduces juvenile delinquency. Recreational facilities keep kids off the streets and
give them a safe environment to interact with their peers, and fill up time within which they could
otherwise get into trouble.
In one city, police documented a 28% drop in juvenile arrests after the city began STARS (Success
Through Academics and Recreational Support) Program in 1990. Importantly, building parks costs
a fraction of what it costs to build new prisons and increase police‐force size.
Research supports the widely held belief that community involvement in neighborhood parks is
correlated with lower levels of crime. The Project on Human Development in Chicago
Neighborhoods studied the impact of “collective efficacy,” which it defined as “cohesion among
neighborhood residents combined with shared expectations for informal social control of public
space.” The study found that “in neighborhoods where collective efficacy was strong, rates of
violence were low, regardless of socio‐demographic composition and the amount of disorder
Recreational Opportunities: The Importance of Play
Play teaches children how to interact and cooperate with others, laying foundations for success in
school and the working world. Exercise has been shown to increase the brain’s capacity for
learning in adults as well.
Creating Stable Neighborhoods with Strong Community
Green spaces build community. Research shows that residents of neighborhoods with greenery in
common spaces are more likely to enjoy stronger social ties than those who live surrounded by
Note: Information obtained from The Trust for Public Land, The AJA Journal of Architecture, NJ
Department of Environmental Protection, NC Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources: Storm
Water & Runoff Pollution, U.S. Geological Survey: Effects of Urban Developments on Floods.
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