Access to Open Space

Desired Trend


Current Trend

Baseline (2007-2011): 74.5%
Current: Unavailable

Theme Distinctive


Percent of population that reside within 1 mile of a park or public open space for rural areas or ½ mile for urban areas

Why is it Important?

Publicly accessible recreational open space provides social, environmental, and economic benefits to the region. Residents who live near public open space have affordable recreational opportunities and a public space for relaxing, gathering, and strengthening social ties.1 Public open space can also benefit the environment by improving air and water quality through natural filtering processes, and by providing habitat for wildlife. Furthermore, open space benefits the local economy by improving property values of homes and businesses located nearby.2

How are we Doing?

In the St. Louis region, 74.5 percent of residents have access to a park or open space.3 For residents living in low-to-moderate income census tracts, which are tracts where a majority of households earn 80 percent or less of the HUD area median family income, open space access is slightly higher at 81.9 percent. The map below displays residents with and without access to open space. 

Geographic Level

St. Louis eight-county bi-state region, including Franklin, Jefferson, St. Charles, and St. Louis counties and the city of St. Louis in Missouri and Madison, Monroe, and St. Clair counties in Illinois. View map.


1This indicator is a HUD Flagship Sustainability Indicator. The Flagship Indicators were created for the Sustainable Community Initiative in an effort to develop a common national framework for measuring long-term progress toward sustainable communities.

2Crompton, John L. The Impact of Parks on Property Values: A Review of the Empirical Evidence, Journal of Leisure Research, 2001, Vol. 33, No. 1, pp 1-31; accessed on 14 May 2014 at

3Due to lack of historical data, data is currently only available for the baseline year.

Data Sources

American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau; East-West Gateway Council of Governments