The Economic Benefits of Parks in New York City

NYC park
"Little island" - a floating park in new york city. photo courtesy of jelena dakovic.


Parks are vital infrastructure for healthy, flourishing communities, and are essential to improving quality of life for city residents. In this report, Trust for Public Land (TPL), with support from EFC, quantified benefits of the network of city, state, and federal parks in New York City (NYC). NYC has an extensive park system that residents visit 527 million times per year, with 99 percent of residents living within a 10-minute walk to a park. Parks in NYC create billions of dollars of benefits and savings every year to residents, businesses, and visitors in all five boroughs. Additional investments in parks would have the potential to lead the economic and social recovery of the city.

Results from the economic benefits analysis show that the system of parks in NYC provide the following benefits:

Human Health

  • $9.1 billion in recreational value for residents, an average of $17 per visit for the 527 million visits by residents alone, who use the parks for playing in playgrounds, walking, picnicking, running, relaxing, observing wildlife, biking, visiting beaches, and participating in fitness classes;
  • $1.14 billion in health care savings for over one million residents who report using parks to meet CDC guidelines for physical activity, worth approximately $1,330 annually for those who exercise for 150 minutes per week;
  • Reduced cost of heat stress illnesses due to parks’ shrubs and tree canopies providing shade and lowering nearby ground temperatures, and avoiding the costs for associated emergency department visits or hospitalizations;

Nature’s Services

  • Up to $2.43 billion in avoided stormwater treatment costs through runoff absorbed rather than discharged to sewers, streets, and waterways;
  • Avoided treatment costs for nitrogen in runoff, due to infiltration in parks rather than degrading water quality;
  • $20.3 million through reduced fine particulate matter and $6.2 million through reduced ground ozone, two air pollutants known to impact human health;

Economic Impact

  • Over $15.2 billion in increased property value and $101 million in annual property tax revenues for homes within 500 feet of parks;
  • $17.9 billion in tourism spending, including local and non-local domestic visits related to outdoor activity; and
  • $680 million annually spent on sports, recreation, and exercise equipment by residents attributed to the outdoor recreation economy, supporting at least 479 stores and 4,336 employees in NYC.

*Please contact Jelena Dakovic at for an accessible version of the report. 

Publication Date
March 2022
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