Neighbourhood design and quality influences the likelihood of residents to use public open space
Sinnett, D., Williams, K., Lindsay, M. and Dair, C. (2011) Neighbourhood design and quality influences the likelihood of residents to use public open space. In: World Planning Schools Congress, Perth, Australia, 4th - 8th July, 2011.
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Publisher's URL: http://www.wpsc2011.com.au/
Good quality public open space (POS) is an essential component of neighbourhood design and planning. The impact of the quality, design and maintenance of POS on their use has been documented. However, the role that the characteristics of the surrounding neighbourhood play in encouraging the use of POS has received little attention. For example, the walkability of the neighbourhood is likely to impact on the use of POS. This paper presents research from a major 4-year post-occupancy research project*, funded by the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council under the Sustainable Urban Environment programme. The study uses data from thirteen relatively new ‘sustainable’ developments in the UK to determine the impact of the design and quality of the neighbourhoods on their residents’ use of POS. Logistic regression was used to analyse data from a survey of the physical characteristics of the neighbourhoods along with responses to a household questionnaire (n=659). The type of household, tenure and socio-economic class all had a significant impact on the use of POS. After adjustment for these socio-demographic factors the predominant street pattern, housing density, local integration and mix of use significantly affected the use of POS. This suggested that those living in well-integrated, dense neighbourhoods with a number of uses were more likely to use POS than those who did not. In addition, residents in developments with a greater number of parks within 0.5 km from the boundary of the study area, attractive features, or designed to fit in with the local style were also more likely to visit POS than those in neighbourhoods without these qualities or features. This study provides quantitative evidence on the importance of walkability and the quality of neighbourhoods in the use of POS. The findings will influence neighbourhood planning and urban design teaching.