What are the Greenest Neighborhoods in Philadelphia?

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What are the ‘greenest’ areas or neighborhoods in Philadelphia?  Green spaces are most often associated with images of quiet areas in which one can relax or engage in individual or group physical activities like running or biking, but greenery provides much more. Greenery can actually reduce stress, improve your mood, and overall health and well-being. So just what are the ‘greenest’ neighborhoods to live in the City of Philadelphia?

The benchmark most often used for measuring greenery (versus lawns) is “tree canopy coverage”. Calculating the size of such areas is the best way to answer the question, “which are the greenest neighborhoods in Philly?”

What is ‘tree canopy’ coverage?

Tree canopy coverage, a benchmark developed by the USDA Forest Service,  is generally defined as the coverage provided by branches, stems, and leaves when viewed from above. This is a benchmark or proxy for “greenery” and it is adopted by cities across the nation.

A tree canopy assessment was published in late 2018 through a collaboration of the City of Philadelphia and the University of Vermont Spatial Analysis Lab.

This study assessed green canopy coverage in Philadelphia from the 2008 to 2018 timeframe.

What are the ‘greenest’ neighborhoods and zip codes in Philadelphia?

The following zip codes are greenest neighborhoods in Philadelphia according to the 2018 tree canopy assessment report by the City of Philadelphia and the University of Vermont Spatial Analysis Lab.

19119 – Mount Airy

In Northwest Philadelphia, Known for its historical and varied architectural styles with a main street filled with local business and bordering the famous 2,000 acre Wissahickon Park (and associated Carpenter’s Woods – Philadelphia’s first bird sanctuary), as well as several pocket parks throughout including Pelham Park, Sedgwick Park, and Trolley Car Park, Mount Airy is just 10 miles from Center City and one of the greenest neighborhoods in all of Philadelphia.

19118 – Chestnut Hill

Another gem in this Northwest section of Philadelphia is Chestnut Hill, known as Philadelphia’s Garden District. It is well known for its lush landscapes, beautiful recreational parks, a quaint main street filled with restaurants, shopping, cafes and spectacular gardens. Locals and visitors love visiting the 92-acre Morris Arboretum and Wissahickon Park making Chestnut Hill one of the greenest zip codes in Philadelphia.

19128 – Roxborough

Also situated in Northwest Philadelphia, just North of the Manayunk neighborhood and south of Mount Airy and Chestnut Hill, Roxborough is characterized by a mix of commercial and vast green spaces, including Manatawna Farms, Upper Roxborough Reservoir Preserve, 340 acres of The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, Andorra Meadows, and Gorgas Park.

19115 – Bustleton

Bustleton is a beautiful neighborhood in Northeast Philly with tree-lined streets, vast green spaces and pocket parks, including Lackman Playground, Hayes Woods fields, and it also borders the expansive 1,600-acre Pennypack Park. Bustleton is an increasing desirable hot neighborhood and was ranked among top 10 hottest affordable neighborhoods in the entire United States of America.

19129 – East Falls

This Northwest neighborhood in Philly has a lot to offer with its dense foliage, charming tree-lined streets, and large open spaces, including Ravenhill Field, Inn Yard Park, McMichael Park, and bordering of the massive Wissahickon Park. Residents enjoy some of the quaint restaurants, affordability, and easy access to Center City.

19144 – Germantown

Just North of East Falls, and 6 miles Northwest of Center City, Germantown is one of the most historic neighborhoods in America. Green spaces include Vernon Park, Wyck Garden, Hansberry Garden (community garden), Howell Park, and Blue Bell Park (in Wissahickon Valley Park). Germantown is one of the most historic neighborhoods in the City, in fact, there is a consortium of 18 historical houses, destinations and museums known as Historic Germantown.

19131 – Wynnefield

Nestled in the lower Northwest of the city, Wynnefield is a neighborhood with a good dose of tree cover and open spaces for residents to enjoy. It is also a perfect example of urban meets suburban as residents enjoy the ability to drive up to large shopping centers and are in close proximity to Center City as well as the near-by suburbs in the Main Line. This neighborhood encompasses a large part of Philadelphia’s largest park – Fairmount Park and within Fairmount Park, the neighborhood includes the Horticulture Center, Shofuso Japanese House and Gardens, and Belmont Grove.

19151 – Overbrook

Geographically West of Wynnefield, and considered part of West Philadelphia is a neighborhood called Overbrook. It is about 7 miles away from Center City and is home to the expansive Morris Park and Haddington Woods.

These 8 zip codes (19119 – Mt Airy, 19118 – Chestnut Hill, 19128 – Roxborough, 19115 – Bustleton, 19129 – East Falls, 19144 – Germantown, 19131 – Wynnefield, and 19151 – Overbrook) are the greenest zipcodes in Philly.

So if you get asked “where are the greenest zip codes in Philly” and can’t remember to name them all, the answer is, generally, around the large park systems of the city in the Northwest and Northeast parts of Philly – which can be great places to live.

Of course there are many other factors than just greenery and you need to do your own research and choose what is best for you, but when it comes to finding green neighborhoods, you know where to look. If you are looking at one of these neighborhoods, the good news is that many of these neighborhoods also have a greater number of apartment complexes with balconies which can make for some great views. Considering 97% of apartments in Philly don’t have balconies, this is a nice benefit.

**Mount Airy, Chestnut Hill, and Roxborough are tied for the greenest areas listed in the category of less than or equal to 55% tree canopy coverage; and Bustleton, Germantown, East Falls, Wynnefield, and Overbrook fall into the category of less than or equal to 33% tree canopy (similarly tied for the second tier). Together, these eight zip codes make up the greenest neighborhoods in Philly.


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