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The fourth park—Mariannenplatz MP —contains intensively used and managed lawns, shrubs that border the street, and a number of large old trees. Further, there are benches, public restrooms, sculptures, and a paved space with a fountain. There is a large playground, a table tennis area as well as a soccer field and basketball court in the adjacent green space. The value for infrastructure elements is accordingly high with 0. The value for the biological dimension is 0.

No young solitary trees or groups of young trees could be found. It contains old trees along the canal and some densely wooded natural areas. There are some lawn areas but no hedge or flowerbed. The value for the biotic diversity is 0. Beside the canal, which can be directly accessed, there is also a fountain.

The value for the infrastructure dimension is rather low at 0. Values for the components of biotic elements, abiotic site conditions, and infrastructure elements for parks in Salzburg and Berlin. Whereas the parks differ widely regarding biotic features and abiotic site conditions, the differences in the number of facilities for active recreation and relaxation are lower. The DP seems to be the most diverse park because its infrastructure diversity is also very high.

In contrast, the smaller parks in Berlin have only one dominant diversity dimension—such as the infrastructure dimension in the MP or the aforementioned abiotic values for the CHU—or have generally lower diversity values. Since park visitors normally engage in various activities during their stay, multiple answers and counts were allowed. This led to a total number of answers and counts in DP and in LP.

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In Berlin, the activities were grouped into passive activities and physical active exercises; in other words, no distinction was made between group and single. The results are shown in Fig. Note : Only in Salzburg, activities were classified into single and group activities and data from observation protocols were included. The results in Salzburg show that in DP most of the people do single active exercises.

By contrast, more than half of the people surveyed in LP rather act passively no matter whether single or group activities. In Berlin, nearly all people do passive activities and rather relax on benches, sunbathe or watch their children playing. In Salzburg, the results of this assessment are nearly identical in both parks Fig. The most important characteristics are naturalness, followed by tranquility, access, and landscape beauty, and then park facilities for passive relaxation and for sports and play.

Visitors of LP placed higher importance on sport facilities and playgrounds, plants, and wildlife than visitors of DP. In Berlin, where we asked in a slightly different way, the most important aspect for park visitors is the accessibility of the park followed by lawns as facilities for relaxation and shade areas. In EB and CHU, each of which contains a water element, the importance of water is higher than in all other characteristics. Further, in the highly managed EB, plants and flowerbeds are also considered important. In the smaller parks in Berlin, visitors rated facilities for relaxation and shaded areas as most important.

This is especially the case in KP and MP where biotic features such as large and old trees are able to provide shade. Proximity to water is highly valued in those parks, where water elements exist and therefore abiotic structures gained higher scores. The EB is a highly managed and designed park but without groups of trees and, thus, not much shaded space. But there are well-manicured flowerbeds and hedges which are obviously appreciated by visitors high importance for attractive plants with 0. In conclusion, specific diversity structures of parks in Berlin are recognized and valued because of their attractiveness e.

These characteristics might be reflected in the activities of park visitors. Visitors rather relax than actively engage in sports with only a slight difference at the CHU. The reason for the slightly higher values for physical activities in CHU might be that it is part of a greenway accompanying an urban canal and therefore is attractive for jogging. Further, the MP is the only park of the four assessed which contains specific designated sport areas but is not represented in the activity results. The low value of active exercise in Berlin might be explained by the smaller size of the parks and the lack of infrastructure for physical activities.

Interestingly in Salzburg, the most important park characteristics are more or less the same although the two parks have a different structural diversity. However, when divided into group and single activities, single activities far exceed group activities such as group sports and games. The scenic DP with its multiplicity of biotic features and a beautiful view to the Alps may encourage solitary activities such as walking or other activities for enjoying silence or nature. In addition, the dog park attracts people walking their dogs.

By contrast, passive activities for recreation are more prominent in the LP. However, active group activities are also important while single activities are marginally represented. Obviously, the LP with a high number of infrastructures for active recreation attracts people who like to play or engage in sports with others.

In addition, the small number of biotic features combined with an open and good all round visibility allows people to watch other people and be watched. As a part of an attractive green corridor, the DP may be an attractive component for a longer walk, bike, or jogging course. In contrast, the LP and most of the assessed parks in Berlin are smaller and located within densely built-up districts, often with no nearby park alternatives.

It becomes apparent that parameters such as area size, recreational alternatives, and connectivity with other urban green structures have to be considered as well when interpreting the differences among park uses. In addition, more people with low income and more foreign nationals live in the densely built-up areas in Berlin as well as in the surroundings of LP than in the area of DP. Accommodation size, access to private green areas, and differences in social interactions, habits, and preferences due to cultural background e.

In conclusion, the surveys in both cities revealed that specific properties are very important to park visitors and their activities. They can, in part, be linked to the three dimensions of structural diversity such as naturalness and the various facilities for active and passive recreation. However, not all park visitor preferences can be directly linked to these three dimensions of structural diversity. Accessibility is highly ranked by visitors in all parks, regardless of size or location in Berlin or Salzburg. Thus, structural diversity might not be the key factor for the entire recreational service of a green space, but one key factor amongst others.

As result of the application in Berlin and Salzburg, the method resulted in being highly recommendable for park comparisons. The presented approach of structural diversity mapping is practicable and not time-consuming and links the man-made facilities and amenities with the biotic and abiotic features.

The linkage with the interviews allows interpreting the various structures in light of their contributions to the provision of various recreational services. Further, we only considered the absolute existence of particular elements, e. Adding the number would certainly lead to more complexities. In addition, some atmospheric characteristics such as the dominance of specific user groups or disturbances in the park may be added to a possible follow-up study.

Although the differentiation of categories and the selection of elements for the mapping are based on an extensive literature review, there still remains a considerable degree of subjectivity. Since the specific differentiation and selection of elements is worth discussing, the method implies a very good adaptability to different urban parks and cities world-wide. It is intended that the catalog of diversity elements is changed and varied by adding or omitting elements according to requirements and conditions. Hence, it is easy to regard the specific characteristics of every urban park considered.

This also applies for parks already investigated by questionnaire surveys and allows easily integrating existing data into the system for structural diversity. Also the data from the additional observation protocols helps a lot to consider activities from people who refused to participate in the survey due to participation in sports, group activities or playing with children active recreation or because of deficient language skills.

Today, with a more and more diverse society, urban parks should meet a variety of different interests and demands and therefore need to be designed accordingly. An important requirement for providing a high multitude of alternatives of activities and enjoyment is certainly the size of the park, but we also have to regard the diversity of biotic and abiotic features as well as man-made facilities for sport and relaxation. Certain biotic features are appreciated such as large trees for shade while water elements seem to be important especially in the cases in which they have visual dominance.

However, as our results show, other properties such as accessibility or tranquility are also very important. The concept of linking the mapping of structural diversity with questionnaires is easy and straightforward to apply and can be adopted easily. By adding or omitting structural diversity elements, it is easy to consider the specific characteristics of every urban park surveyed. In the context of planning and developing urban green, this method provides an instrument for guidance to efficiently plan and manage urban green areas. Some important goals of urban park management are to provide natural and man-made features, facilities, and amenities that allow visitors to have satisfying recreational experiences.

Meeting these goals is not easy; especially in urban areas where space is limited, demand on and use of green space is high, and demands, desires, and activities are very diverse. The proposed integrative method links the demand and the supply of recreational services of urban parks in a nuanced way. The ecosystem service approach assumes that ecosystem functions and biotic elements provide the basis for the supply of cultural services, but infrastructural facilities and amenities have a large impact on the recreational value of an urban park.

Overall, we have to consider the perception, valuation and use by the visitors that may differ a lot depending on socio-cultural background. In this way, the ecosystem service approach has to be more comprehensive. The authors would like to thank S.

Structural Diversity: A Multi-dimensional Approach to Assess Recreational Services in Urban Parks

Lackerschmid, S. Freingruber, D. Krutzenbichler, T. Neidl, C. Stadler, D. Metzke, and S. Wegener for their important contributions to this work. We further thank Z. Hamsteadt for her valuable comments on an earlier version of the manuscript. Her research focuses on urban ecology, overall perception, evaluation, and use of urban nature.

Her interest is in quality of life analysis of urban green spaces. He is interested in ecosystem service research, quantitative GIS, and statistical analysis. Her main interests are in land-use change modeling using cellular automata and agent-based models as well as the quantification and assessment of urban ecosystem services.

He works in urban ecology, urban structural modeling and management, urban nature protection, and urban ecosystem services. Annette Voigt, Email: ta.


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Nadja Kabisch, Email: ed. Daniel Wurster, Email: ta. Dagmar Haase, Email: ed. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Journal List Ambio v. Published online Apr Author information Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Corresponding author. Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author s and the source are credited. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC.

Abstract Urban green spaces provide important recreational services for urban residents. Keywords: Urban parks, Assessment, Structural diversity, Recreation. Introduction Both quantity and quality of urban parks are increasingly recognized as important for the quality of urban life regarding a wide range of benefits and ecosystem services e. Open in a separate window. Conceptual interpretation of structural diversity of urban parks. Mapping and Evaluation of Structural Diversity Two skilled collaborators mapped the parks in September Observation Protocols Some people refused to participate in the survey due to participation in sports, group activities, or playing with children or because of deficient language skills immigrants or tourists , so these groups are under-represented in the findings.

Shaded areas 0. Conclusion Today, with a more and more diverse society, urban parks should meet a variety of different interests and demands and therefore need to be designed accordingly. Acknowledgments The authors would like to thank S. Biographies Annette Voigt is a postdoctoral researcher and lecturer at the University of Salzburg, research group urban and landscape ecology. Daniel Wurster is a research assistant at the University of Salzburg, research group urban and landscape ecology. Contributor Information Annette Voigt, Email: ta.

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References Bixler R, Floyd M. Nature is scary, disgusting, and uncomfortable. Environment and Behavior. Urban landscapes and ecosystem services. Ecosystem services in agricultural and urban landscapes. London: Wiley; People, parks and the urban green: A study of popular meanings and values for open spaces in the city.

Urban Studies. Evaluating the quality of recreation facilities: Development of an assessment tool. Park and Recreation Administration. The role of urban parks for the sustainable city. Landscape and Urban Planning. Contribution of public parks to physical activity.

American Journal of Public Health. Parks and physical activity: Why are some parks used more than others? Preventive Medicine. Biodiversity and the feel-good factor: Understanding associations between self-reported human well-being and species richness. Park-based physical activity in diverse communities of two U. An observational study. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Psychological benefits of green space increase with biodiversity. Biology Letters. Increasing walking: How important is distance to, attractiveness, and size of public open space? Managing urban parks for a racially and ethnically diverse clientele.

Leisure Sciences. The human dimensions of urban greenways: Planning for recreation and related experiences. An indicator-based approach to measuring sustainable urban regeneration performance. Conceptual foundations and methodological framework. Parks and recreation settings and active living: A review of associations with physical activity function and intensity. Journal of Physical Activity and Health.


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