Opportunity or orientation? Who uses urban parks and why

Lin, Brenda B., Fuller, Richard A., Bush, Robert, Gaston, Kevin J. and Shanahan, Danielle F. (2014) Opportunity or orientation? Who uses urban parks and why. PLoS One, 9 1: e87422.1-e87422.7. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0087422

Author Lin, Brenda B.
Fuller, Richard A.
Bush, Robert
Gaston, Kevin J.
Shanahan, Danielle F.
Title Opportunity or orientation? Who uses urban parks and why
Journal name PLoS One   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication date 2014-01-29
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0087422
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 9
Issue 1
Start page e87422.1
End page e87422.7
Total pages 7
Place of publication San Francisco, CA, United States
Publisher Public Library of Science
Language eng
Subject 1100 Agricultural and Biological Sciences
1300 Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
2700 Medicine
Abstract There is growing recognition that interactions with nature provide many desirable human well-being outcomes, yet increasing urbanization is degrading the quality and quantity of nature experiences. Thus, it has become increasingly important to understand how and why urban dwellers interact with nature. Studies of urban green space use have largely focused on the availability and ease of access to green space, suggesting that greater opportunities to experience such space will lead to increased use. However, a growing literature emphasizes the potential for an individual's nature orientation to affect their interaction with green space. Here we measure the importance of both opportunity and orientation factors in explaining urban park use. An urban lifestyle survey was deployed across Brisbane, Australia in November 2012 to assess patterns of green space use. Participants (n = 1479) were asked to provide information on demographics, private yard use, park visitations in the past week, and their orientation toward nature. About 60% of those surveyed had visited a park in the past week, and while this park user population had significantly greater nearby park coverage (within a 250 m radius; p = 0.006), a much stronger determinant of visitation was their higher nature orientation (p<0.00001), suggesting that while both opportunity and orientation are important drivers for park visitation, nature orientation is the primary effect. Park users also spent significantly more time in their yards than non-park users (p<0.00001), suggesting that yard use does not necessarily compensate for lower park use. Park users with stronger nature orientation (i) spent more time in their yard, (ii) traveled further to green spaces, and (iii) made longer visits than park visitors with weaker nature orientation. Overall, our results suggest that measures to increase people's connection to nature could be more important than measures to increase urban green space availability if we want to encourage park visitation.
Keyword Multidisciplinary Sciences
Science & Technology - Other Topics
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Grant ID DP120102857
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes CCBY open access paper

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Public Health Publications
School of Biological Sciences Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 48 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Mon, 03 Feb 2014, 17:53:45 EST by Dr Richard Fuller on behalf of School of Biological Sciences