Concrete recreation or recreation in concrete?: a GIS-based model of spatial accessibility to urban fringe forests
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
People’s use of forests adjacent to urban localities is primarily determined by their accessibility, attractiveness, overall availability, and local population demands. As a poor local provision of forests restricts use and potentially produces public health inequalities, planners, policy-makers, and health officials require knowledge of how the spatial distribution of forests varies across neighborhoods and population subgroups. To this end, the present study proposes a model that integrates the main determinants of forest use in a single measure through spatial analysis in a GIS. The main benefits of the suggested approach include the possibilities to relate the single measure to existing spatial planning policies on forest provision, and to estimate the potential use of a broad selection of forests across different levels of scale. An example application of the model is also provided through a cluster analysis of Swedish urban neighborhoods, which aims to explore how the potential use of urban fringe forests varies across areas with different socioeconomic, demographic, and physical urban characteristics. The results reveal that residents in more affluent neighborhoods have greater access to attractive forests, although people in general are required to travel relatively long distances in order to reach an attractive forest, regardless of travel mode or neighborhood status. Physical urban characteristics such as road density, building density, and road connectivity are less important in explaining forest accessibility than the socioeconomic and demographic characteristics of urban neighborhoods. It is therefore concluded that planners, policy-makers, and health officials should focus on reducing social rather than physical restrictions of forest use, for example through planning and designing attractive and safe forests to encourage physical and psychological wellbeing among urban residents.
accessibility, fuzzy overlay, GIS, spatial interaction, recreation, urban forests
Research subject Social and Economic Geography
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-95905OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-95905DiVA: diva2:761331
This research was funded by the Centre for Environmental Research in Umeå (CMF), Sweden.2014-11-062014-11-062014-11-13Bibliographically approved