Land Use

Park Access

Neutral from
2014 to 2015

How are we doing?

Park access received a neutral rating because the number of residents living within a half mile of a park remained at 77% in San Diego and 52% in Chula Vista. San Diego is rich with parkland with most of the county containing more than three acres of parkland per 1,000 residents, however, areas such as Lemon Grove, La Mesa, Vista and El Cajon, which have a lower median income, also have fewer parks per resident. Unfortunately, park acreage and access is not reported for all San Diego County cities in the Trust for Public Land’s annual Park Score survey. See more information.

Chula Vista residents not only have a low amount of park acres per resident but also have more limited park access. Although the city of San Diego has the largest amount of park acres per resident compared to other major urban cities, San Francisco has more walkable park access.

Data Source: Trust for Public Land, 2016 City Park Facts, 2016

Why is it important?

  • While San Diego County has ample green space, many low-income, ethnically diverse communities have limited access to parks and open spaces. Health research suggests there is an association between high childhood obesity rates and low park access. Full report here.

Park Access

(San Diego County, 2016)

The map shows areas where residents have less than three acres of parkland per 1,000 residents (yellow) overlaid with areas that have a low median annual income (red checkered). Most of the county contains more than three acres of parkland per 1,000 residents, however, areas such as Lemon Grove, La Mesa, Vista and El Cajon have fewer parks per resident as well as a lower median income.

Data Sources: SanGIS/SANDAG 2017; 2015 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, 2016

  Idea for Change

Policymakers should explore the formation and potential passage of new park bonds in the San Diego region, countywide or for individual municipalities, which would increase access to parks and open spaces for residents in underserved communities.

  Bright Spot

The San Diego Foundation's Opening the Outdoors program seeks to expand access to nature for San Diegans, with a focus on those living in under-served and park-poor communities. It has had a significant impact in the region, granting more than $1 million to 25 nonprofits and has enhanced, renovated and created more than 40,000 acres of natural habitats and green space. Learn more.

  What are we measuring?

We measure land use by tracking the percent of people who live within a half mile of a park and the number of acres of accessible park space per 1,000 people in various California cities. We also map San Diego County, distinguishing areas with less than three acres of parkland per 1,000 residents in comparison to areas with a median annual income of less than $60,000. Learn more about the data.