Observing the Parks: Public Park Usage Patterns in High and Low-Income Neighbourhoods of Toronto.

Authors: Basil Southey*, Queen's University
Topics: Urban Geography
Keywords: Urban Geography, Public Space, Parks, Human Behaviour.
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 2:00 PM / 3:40 PM
Room: Marshall East, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

It has been widely recognized that access to greenspace benefits the residents of urban centres in many ways. Correlations between access to greenspace and lowered rates of both mental and physical health issues have been shown in several studies. The health benefits of public greenspace are more notable in lower income areas where residents have less access to private greenspace. While there is a great deal of scholarship showing that higher income areas have greater access to greenspace, there has been little quantitative research on how much parks are used and how parks are used. This study will 1) measure the amount of usage in parks located in areas across the socio-economic spectrum of Toronto and 2) record how people are using these parks. The study will approach parks from a political ecology perspective and attempt to discern potential factors that may impact park usage. These factors will include, socioeconomic status of the neighbourhood, park facilities (benches, sports facilities, washrooms, playgrounds, etc), tree canopy coverage, weather, and seasonality. Four parks have been selected for surveys to be conducted over the next year. Each park is roughly the same size and is located in a differing socioeconomic status area of Toronto. This data can be used to provide quantitative support to studies of urban park usage which can be used by both academic researchers and city-planners.

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