It's not just about the park, it's about integration too: why people choose to use or not use urban greenspaces

Seaman, P. J., Jones, R. and Ellaway, A. (2010) It's not just about the park, it's about integration too: why people choose to use or not use urban greenspaces. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 7, 78. (doi:10.1186/1479-5868-7-78) (PMID:21029448) (PMCID:PMC2978120)

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Abstract

Background: Greenspace has the potential to be a vital resource for promoting healthy living for people in urban areas, offering both opportunities for physical activity and wellbeing. Much research has explored the objectively measurable factors within areas to the end of explaining the role of greenspace access in continuing health inequalities. This paper explores the subjective reasons why people in urban areas choose to use, or not use, local public greenspace.

Methods: In-depth interviews with 24 people living in two areas of Glasgow, United Kingdom were conducted, supplemented with participant photography and participatory methods. Data was thematically categorised to explore subjectively experienced facilitators and barriers to greenspace use in urban areas.

Results: From the perspective of current and potential urban greenspace users, access is revealed to be about more than the physical characteristics of neighbourhoods, greenspace resources or objectively measurable features of walkability and connectivity. Subjectively, the idea of walkability includes perceptions of social cohesion at a community level and the level of felt integration and inclusion by individuals in their communities. Individual's feelings of integration and inclusion potentially mitigate the effects of experiential barriers to urban greenspace access, such as evidence of anti-social behaviour.

Conclusions: We conclude that improving access to greenspace for all in urban communities will require more than providing high quality resources such as parks, footpaths, activities and lighting. Physical availability interacts with community contexts already established and a holistic understanding of access is required. A key cultural component of areas and neighbourhoods is the level of social cohesion, a factor that has the potential to reinforce existing health inequalities through shaping differentiated greenspace access between subgroups of the local population.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Ellaway, Dr Anne and Jones, Dr Russell and Seaman, Dr Peter
Authors: Seaman, P. J., Jones, R., and Ellaway, A.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing
Journal Name:International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN:1479-5868
ISSN (Online):1479-5868
First Published:First published in International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 7:78
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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