Physical activity patterns in two differently characterised urban parks under conditions of summer heat
Journal article

Publication Details

Author list: Kabisch N., Kraemer R.
Journal: Environmental Science and Policy
Publication year: 2020
Volume number: 107
Pages: 56-65
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 1462-9011
Languages: English-Great Britain

Abstract

Urban parks provide multiple ecosystem services to mitigate challenges from climate change and urbanisation. They promote health and well-being by providing space for physical activity and social interaction, which is particularly relevant for vulnerable groups such as children and older people. As a key element, park vegetation creates favourable environments, as it moderates heat, buffers noise and can be enjoyed by citizens. In this paper, we present the results of a multi-method empirical study conducted in the city of Leipzig, Germany, during the summer heat and drought period in July 2018. Visitation patterns were analysed through qualitative observation and structured counting in two differently characterised urban parks – a newly developed urban park on a former railway brownfield and a long-standing, older park with a mature tree population. The results indicate that park design elements are linked to park use activities and park user age groups such as young children, school children and older people. Young children were identified as mostly using playgrounds and natural lawn areas in the old park, while school children and teenagers tended to use the sports areas and semi-secluded spaces in the newly developed park to play sports or to meet in groups and socialize. For older people, sedentary activity was exclusively observed on benches, and non-sedentary activity such as jogging was nearly exclusively identified in the larger, more shaded older park. The number of counted park users, particularly numbers of children and older people, significantly declined at the highest temperature of approximately 30 °C. Considering the provision and availability of inclusive design elements that support these use behaviours may increase the motivation of all age groups to use green spaces and to benefit from the services they provide. Planning for a more effective and just provision of ecosystem services requires the consideration of age-specific design elements to invite use from all population groups equally and to contribute to distributional justice.


Authors/Editors