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Abundant green space makes Atlanta nation's ‘most livable’ city, per research

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The Southern city boasts more green space per resident than any other

an image depicting the amount of green space, roads, and buildings in various cities
On the flipside, GeoTab’s data also illustrates disparities in density.

Atlanta might frequently be knocked for its relative dearth of public parks. But if true “livability” can be calculated by how much green space a single resident can enjoy, the ATL takes the cake as the nation’s “most livable city.”

That’s according to a newly published study by transportation-focused data analytics company GeoTab.

Per GeoTab’s new report, “Urban Footprint: The Allocation of Space in U.S. Cities,” Atlanta boasts more green space per person than any other major U.S. city.

The city includes 17.8 square miles of green space, meaning each of its 486,290 residents could, in theory, enjoy their own 1,023 square feet of parks, forests, and other greenery within an urban landscape.

Dallas and Portland claimed second and third place in the livability rankings, tallying 870 and 856 square feet of green space per person, respectively.

A map of green-space varieties in Atlanta.

Although it flaunts a whopping 45.2 square miles of green space, New York City fell to the bottom of the list when it came to green space per capita, at just 146 square feet.

On the surface, GeoTab’s ranking seems to contradict findings of the closely watched ParkScore Index, compiled annually by The Trust for Public Land, which found in May that Atlanta’s standing among large cities remains mediocre: No. 42.

But the TPL analysis takes into account a variety of factors beyond sheer amount of green space, including the availability of park restrooms, splash pads, and the overall size of public parks.

GeoTab’s study analyzed more than just how green a person’s life could be; it also broke down the density of roads and buildings.

It’s hardly shocking that Atlanta was near the top of the list calculating the amount of roads per person in major cities.

Each Atlantan could theoretically lay claim to their own 1,151 square feet of roadway, should they wish for some reason, trumped only by residents in New Orleans and Dallas, respectively.

New York City came in last on that category, too—a testament to the dense nature of the city—with just 247 square feet of roads per resident.

On the building density front, Atlanta fared okay—fourth place—with 1,183 square feet of space per person.

New Orleans took the cake in that category, with 1,412 square feet of building per head, and New York City again hung at the bottom of the list with 311 square feet per person.