Park Audits and Enumerations
Kaczynski, A., Potwarka, L. & Saelens, B. (2008). Association of park size, distance, and features with physical activity in neighborhood parks. Innovations in Design and Analysis, 98(8), 1451-1456.
We studied whether park size, number of features in the park, and distance to a park from participants’ homes were related to a park being used for physical activity.
We collected observational data on 28 specific features from 33 parks. Adult residents in surrounding areas (n=380) completed 7-day physical activity logs that included the location of their activities. We used logistic regression to examine the relative importance of park size, features, and distance to participants’ homes in predicting whether a park was used for physical activity, with control for perceived neighborhood safety and aesthetics.
Parks with more features were more likely to be used for physical activity; size and distance were not significant predictors. Park facilities were more important than were park amenities. Of the park facilities, trails had the strongest relationship with park use for physical activity.
Specific park features may have significant implications for park based physical activity. Future research should explore these factors in diverse neighborhoods and diverse parks among both younger and older populations.
Kaczynski, A. & Henderson, K. (2007). Environmental correlates of physical activity: a review of evidence about parks and recreation. Leisure Sciences, 29(4), 315-354.
Research on physical activity (PA) has expanded in recent years to examine environmental influences that enhance or limit the opportunities people have to be active. The purpose of this study was to review and critically examine evidence related to parks and recreation as features of the built environment and the relationship of these settings to PA. Fifty studies were retrieved from four major databases that reported an empirical relationship between parks or recreation variables and PA variables. Mixed associations with PA were observed for different types of parks or recreation settings, while proximity to parks or recreation was generally associated with increased PA. Shortcomings exist in this literature and many opportunities for researching parks, recreation, and active living are evident for the future.
Bedimo-Rung, A., Mowen, A. & Cohen, D. (2005). The significance of parks to physical activity and public health: a conceptual model. American Journal of Preventative Medicine, 28(2S2), 159-168.
Park-based physical activity is a promising means to satisfy current physical activity requirements. However, there is little research concerning what park environmental and policy characteristics might enhance physical activity levels. This study proposes a conceptual model to guide thinking and suggest hypotheses. This framework describes the relationships between park benefits, park use, and physical activity, and the antecedents/correlates of park use. In this classification scheme, the discussion focuses on park environmental characteristics that could be related to physical activity, including park features, condition, access, aesthetics, safety, and policies. Data for these categories should be collected within specific geographic areas in or around the park, including activity areas, supporting areas, the overall park, and the surrounding neighborhood. Future research should focus on how to operationalize specific measures and methodologies for collecting data, as well as measuring associations between individual physical activity levels and specific park characteristics. Collaboration among many disciplines is needed.
Roemmich, J., Epstein, L., Raja, S., Yin, L., Robsinson, J. & Winiewicz, D. (2006). Association of access to parks and recreational facilities with the physical activity of young children. Preventive Medicine, 43, 437-441.
To determine associations of the neighborhood and home television environments with young children's physical activity.
32 boys and 27 girls age 4 to 7 years wore accelerometers for 3 weekdays and 1 weekend day. The number of televisions in the home and television watching of the child were monitored using TV Allowance™ units for 3 weeks. A geographic information system was used to measure neighborhood environment variables.
Hierarchical regression analysis was used to predict physical activity, initially controlling for sex, age, socioeconomic status, adiposity, and child television watching in step 1. In step 2, the number of televisions did not significantly increase the amount of variability accounted for in the prediction of physical activity. In step 3, housing density and the interaction of housing density by sex accounted for an incremental 12% (p<0.05) of the variability and in step 4 percentage park plus recreation area accounted for a further 10% (p<0.05) of the variability. Greater housing density predicted increased physical activity of boys, but not girls.
Conclusion: Neighborhoods with increased proximity between homes and a greater proportion of park area are associated with greater physical activity in young children.
© 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Addy, C., Wilson, D., Kirtland, K., Ainsworth, B., Sharpe, P. & Kimsey, D. (2004). Associations of perceived social and physical environmental supports with physical activity and walking behavior. Research and Practice, 94(3), 440-443.
We evaluated perceived social and environmental supports for physical activity and walking using multivariable modeling. Perceptions were obtained on a sample of households in a southeastern county. Respondents were classified according to physical activity levels and walking behaviors. Respondents who had good street lighting; trusted their neighbors; and used private recreational facilities, parks, playgrounds, and sports fields were more likely to be regularly active. Perceiving neighbors as being active, having access to sidewalks, and using malls were associated with regular walking.
Duncan, M. & Mummery, K. (2005). Psychosocial and environmental factors associated with physical activity among city dwellers in regional Queensland. Preventive Medicine, 40, 363-372.
Research has recently adopted the use of social–ecological models in the study of physical activity. Few studies, however, have addressed the influence of the environment on activity using Geographic Information System (GIS)-derived measures of environmental attributes and self-report ratings of other environmental attributes. Even fewer have examined walking behaviors.
Self-report measures of physical activity, social support, self-efficacy, and perceived neighborhood environment were obtained by means of a Computer-Assisted-Telephone-Interview (CATI) survey of 1,281 residents of Rockhampton, Queensland. Over 94% (1,215) of respondents’ residential locations were successfully geocoded into the existing city council GIS database. The self-report data, along with GIS-derived measures, were used to determine the relationships among selected variables of the neighborhood environment for each geocoded location.
GIS-derived measures of street connectivity and proximity to parkland, the number of active people in a 1-km radius, and selfreported perceptions of neighborhood cleanliness showed associations with the likelihood of achieving sufficient levels of physical activity when adjusting for selected psychosocial variables. GIS-derived Euclidian distance to footpath networks, number of dogs in 0.8-km radius, network distance to newsagents, and perceptions of footpath condition were significantly associated with the likelihood of participating in any recreational walking.
Environmental characteristics were found to have differential influences on the two selected measures of physical activity. Aesthetics and safety appear to be important influences of physical activity, whereas proximal footpaths showed increased likelihood of participation in recreational walking. It is proposed that the strength of association between the environmental and physical activity may be improved if future research utilizes a Geographic Information System approach to the study of restricted geographical areas.
Copyright. 2004 The Institute For Cancer Prevention and Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Giles-Corti, B., Broomhall, M.H., Knuiman, M., Collins, C., Douglas, K., Ng, K., Lange, A. & Donovan, R. (2005). Increase Walking: How Important is distance to, attractiveness, and size of public open space? American Journal of Preventative Medicine, 28(2S2), 169-176.
Well-designed public open space (POS) that encourages physical activity is a community asset that could potentially contribute to the health of local residents.
In 1995–1996, two studies were conducted—an environmental audit of POS over 2 acres (n =516) within a 408-km2 area of metropolitan Perth, Western Australia; and personal interviews with 1803 adults (aged 18 to 59 years) (52.9% response rate). The association between access to POS and physical activity was examined using three accessibility models that progressively adjusted for distance to POS, and its attractiveness and size. In 2002, an observational study examined the influence of attractiveness on the use of POS by observing users of three pairs of high- and low-quality (based on attractiveness) POS matched for size and location.
Overall, 28.8% of respondents reported using POS for physical activity. The likelihood of using POS increased with increasing levels of access, but the effect was greater in the model that adjusted for distance, attractiveness, and size. After adjustment, those with very good access to large, attractive POS were 50% more likely to achieve high levels of walking (odds ratio, 1.50; 95% confidence level, 1.06 –2.13). The observational study showed that after matching POS for size and location, 70% of POS users observed visited attractive POS.
Access to attractive, large POS is associated with higher levels of walking. To increase walking, thoughtful design (and redesign) of POS is required that creates large, attractive POS with facilities that encourage active use by multiple users (e.g., walkers, sports participants, picnickers).
ATL Park Access Resources
- ATL Park Access Report (link coming soon)
- ATL Park Access Poster
- Park Enumeration Citations and Resources (link coming soon)