Park Facts

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 

surrounding submarkets. 

 

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 

follow.” 

 

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 

Center.                                       

 

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 

community. 

 

Reducing Crime 

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 

observed.” 

 

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 

barren concrete. 

 

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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