Rent.com recently ranked cities in the United States with the most open space. Three Arizona cities are among the top 20, with Peoria ranking the highest at No. 7 and Surprise and Scottsdale at No. 15 and No. 17 respectively.
“With 174 square miles and a population of 172,259, Peoria’s population density is 883 people per square mile,” according to the city of Peoria. “Peoria is known for its scenic Sonoran desert and recreation opportunities, including 740 acres of public open spaces and parks and 27 miles of trails.”
Rent.com goes into detail on why it selected Peoria: “Like much of Arizona, the city is filled with golf courses, senior communities, resort living and big box stores, and is also the spring training home of both the San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners at the massive Peoria Sports Complex. Much of Peoria is quilted with large golf course communities and planned suburban subdivisions south of Happy Valley Road, but once you’re north of the divide, the vast land becomes filled with dry river beds and endless desert-scape.”
To compile the list, Rent.com studied every city in the U.S. with more than 100,000 residents (based on 2018 figures from the U.S. Census Bureau) and divided those population figures by each city’s total land area (according to the Census Bureau’s 2010 land area study). “The cities with the smallest population density were determined to be the best cities for open space,” according to Rent.com.
In the same study, the city with the most open space is Anchorage, Alaska and the city with the least open space is New York City, New York. Rent.com staff note that they were inspired to conduct the study because of social distancing protocols.
“Social distancing and keeping six feet of space between each other as we wander out into the world is the key for society to creep back towards normal,” cites Rent.com. “But in places like New York, San Francisco and some of the densest cities in America, where there are just so many people, it becomes difficult to find your own space in which to walk, bike, jog or shop.”
This isn’t the city’s first time on the national charts. In 2018, Peoria ranked at the No. 1 place to live in Arizona by Money Magazine. It was named 29 overall nationwide.