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Analysis reveals U.S. cities with the most (and least) green space

Geotab examined map and census data to measure green space and other land uses across major U.S. cities

Toronto, Ontario - July 9, 2019 - Geotab, the world’s leading connected vehicle company for smart city and fleets, today released a new study analyzing infrastructure density in 15 major U.S. cities. The results depict the allocation of space that an individual resident would receive if a city was divided equally by its population. Highlighting which U.S. cities are deemed the most “liveable” based on their urban footprint, the full interactive report can be accessed here

Analyzing OpenStreetMap data, Geotab established the total area of green space, roads and buildings in each city. These figures were then divided by the respective population of each location as reported by the latest U.S Census data to reveal the size of the allocated ‘plot’ per person. Geotab illustrated these plots to demonstrate the ratio of green space, roads and buildings to one individual. Additionally, the report ranks the cities based on the amount of green space, buildings and roads that are attributed to each person. 

Green space

According to the results of Geotab’s Urban Footprint study, the U.S city with the most green space per person is Atlanta with 1,023 ft2 per person. Meanwhile, Dallas takes second place (870 ft2) followed by Portland (856 ft2). 

Based on Geotab’s findings, Atlanta has seven times as much green space per person than the city with the least green space: New York City (146 ft2). This is closely followed by Miami (166 ft2) and Boston (168 ft2).

“Although Central Park is a popular spot for residents looking to step out of the hustle and bustle of NYC, it falls short in regards to providing residents with a substantial allocation of green space per person,” said Maria Sotra, VP of Marketing at Geotab.

Of the cities included in the research, Washington D.C. was found to be the only city that had a larger plot of green space per person (592 ft2) than roads (495 ft2) or buildings (542 ft2). 

The five most livable cities (according to the largest allocation of green space per person)

City 

Space

Atlanta, GA

1,023 sq ft

Dallas, TX

870 sq ft

Portland, OR

856 sq ft

Washington D.C

592 sq ft

Milwaukee, WI

426 sq ft

Roads

New Orleans was found to be the city with the largest area of roads per person (1,453 ft2), followed by Dallas (1,191 ft2) and Atlanta (1,151 ft2). New York City was found to have the smallest area of roads per person (247 ft2), with San Francisco taking second place (326 ft2) followed by Boston (370 ft2). 

The largest allocation of roads per person 

City

Space 

New Orleans, LA

1,453 sq ft

Dallas, TX

1,191 sq ft

Atlanta, GA

1,151 sq ft

Portland, OR

1,149 sq ft

Denver, CO

963 sq ft

Buildings

New Orleans takes first place again, with the largest plot of buildings per person (1,412 ft2), followed by Dallas (1,367 ft2) and Denver (1,229 ft2). New York City has the smallest plot of buildings per person (311 ft2), followed by Boston (440 ft2) and San Francisco (474 ft2). 

The largest allocation of buildings per person 

City

Space

New Orleans, LA

1,412 sq ft

Dallas, TX

1,367 sq ft

Denver, CO

1,229 sq ft

Atlanta, GA

1,183 sq ft

Milwaukee, WI

1,135 sq ft

“Anyone that has travelled to more than one city in the United States. will know that there are some locations that feel more crowded than others,” added Sotra. “But this research just goes to show how stark that comparison is in reality.”

City-by-city data across all categories:

City 

Green space 

Roads 

Buildings 

Atlanta, GA

1,023 sq ft

1,151 sq ft 

1,183 sq ft

Dallas, TX

870 sq ft

1,191 sq ft

1,367 sq ft

Portland, OR

856 sq ft

1,149 sq ft

1,105 sq ft

Washington D.C

592 sq ft

495 sq ft

542 sq ft

Milwaukee, WI

426 sq ft

861 sq ft

1,135 sq ft

Los Angeles, CA

423 sq ft

785 sq ft

1,081 sq ft

Seattle, WA

360 sq ft

717 sq ft

896 sq ft

Baltimore, MD

335 sq ft

659 sq ft

765 sq ft

New Orleans, LA

264 sq ft

1,435 sq ft

1,412 sq ft

San Francisco, CA

224 sq ft

326 sq ft

474 sq ft

Chicago, IL

189 sq ft

540 sq ft

789 sq ft

Denver, CO

170 sq ft

963 sq ft

1,229 sq ft

Boston, MA

168 sq ft

370 sq ft

440 sq ft

Miami, FL

166 sq ft

517 sq ft

606 sq ft

New York, NY

146 sq ft

247 sq ft

311 sq ft

Methodology

Using OpenStreetMap data, Geotab compiled maps of 15 major American cities showing only buildings, roads, and green urban spaces such as parks. Road widths were calculated using OpenStreetMap data where available, supplemented with city infrastructure manuals and aerial imagery. These maps were then used to measure total areas and divided by population (latest U.S. Census estimates) for the per-person figures. City boundaries are from U.S. Census TIGER/Line, other map shapes © OpenStreetMap contributors. Research was conducted in April 2019.

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About Geotab

Geotab is advancing security, connecting commercial vehicles to the internet and providing web-based analytics to help customers better manage their fleets. Geotab’s open platform and Marketplace, offering hundreds of third-party solution options, allows both small and large businesses to automate operations by integrating vehicle data with their other data assets. As an IoT hub, the in-vehicle device provides additional functionality through IOX Add-Ons. Processing billions of data points a day, Geotab leverages data analytics and machine learning to help customers improve productivity, optimize fleets through the reduction of fuel consumption, enhance driver safety, and achieve strong compliance to regulatory changes. Geotab’s products are represented and sold worldwide through Authorized Geotab Resellers. To learn more, please visit www.geotab.com and follow us @GEOTAB and on LinkedIn.

Media Contact

Maria Sotra
Geotab Inc.
Vice President Marketing
marias@geotab.com

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