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Los Angeles ranks low on public parks list

Los Angeles has one playground per 10,000 residents.
Los Angeles has one playground per 10,000 residents.
Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images

The 100 largest cities in the United States contain more than 20,000 parks. There are more than one and a half million acres of publicly owned and operated urban parks in the U.S. 

But when it comes to public green space, Los Angeles falls a little short. 

Fewer than one-third of Los Angeles children live within walking distance of a park or playground.

A report by the Trust for Public Land broke down urban park data for the 100 most populous cities in the United States.

Parks in the biggest cities suffer from at least $5.8 billion in deferred maintenance costs, wrote Will Rogers, president of The Trust for Public Land. Especially in stressful economic times, public parks suffer.

Los Angeles has about 23,938 acres of parkland within its city limits, about 8 percent of the total land area. That comes out to about 6.2 acres per every 1,000 residents. 

New York City ranks number one, with 19.5 percent of the city's total area as parkland. But, the densely populated city comes out slightly below Los Angeles with 4.2 acres per 1,000 residents. 

Santa Ana comes out second to last on both lists. The city is about 1.9 percent parkland – 342 acres – which comes out to just one acre for every 1,000 residents. 

The median area for the most densely populated cities is 10.3 percent, the same percentage the city Long Beach devotes to public parks.

Angelenos enjoy one playground for every 10,000 residents, 1.1 playgrounds below the median and the lowest out of California's largest cities. Sacramento has the most playgrounds of California's big cities: 3.9 per 10,000 residents.

As for budgets? Los Angeles park agencies spend $221,596,617 on public parks, not including special projects such as aquariums or zoos, which equals about $58 spent per resident. The comes out slightly below the median expenditure of $84 per resident.

The city contains the 14th oldest city park on the list: El Pueblo park, established in 1781. Griffith Park came in as the sixth most-visited park, with 12,000,000 annual visitors. 

The trust is involved in a number of projects to increase public green space in Los Angeles County, including the Cornfield near Chinatown, Maywood Riverfront Park, and the Reseda River Loop.