Accessibility: Distance to Downtown
Quality of Life is difficult to measure since we have a diverse number of cultures and persons with individual differences within those cultures. However access to nature and open space has been proven effective in combating health and behavioral problems (Mitchell & Popham, 2008). Accessibility of public spaces enhances quality of life by offering a physical space for the interaction of people to form community and neighborhood networks (Alexander, Ishikawa, & Silverstein, 1977). Places where we want to encourage a high level of accessibility, and hence frequency of use such as commercial centers, transit lines, and community facilities such as parks should be no more than 1⁄4 mile walking distance from population residences (Ewing, 1999). Houston ranked 32nd among the 63 largest cities in the country for pedestrian activity and incentives to walking (Walkscore, 2012). According to the Trust for Public Land (TPL), Houston ranked 21st among the 63 largest cities in the country, in terms of percentage of area devoted to parks with 13% (The Trust for Public Land, 2011).
Sustainability Benefit: Small public parks are relatively well dispersed across the city.
Sustainability Issue: Half the population does not have a public park within walking distance and few new parks are being developed.