UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

An approach to urban recreation planning Miller, Keith Frederick


This thesis addresses the problem of determining urban park and facility requirements. Traditionally, the standards approach has been used, however not only does it oversimplify the problem it also fails to reflect the diverse characteristics of urban populations. Standards are insensitive to the availability of community land and financial resources, and often lead to park and facility requirements which are unrealistic, uneconomical and unattainable. Furthermore, they are inadequate for determining development priorities and for making allocation decisions among facilities and planning areas. Although there has been a growing interest in developing methods which determine space needs for non-urban parks, little of this research has been directed toward urban settings. Methods which have been developed translate recreation participation into space required to accommodate expected peak users, taking into account capacity factors. They attempt to estimate space demands which reflect the diverse characteristics, interests and resources of communities. Although an improvement on standards, deficiencies still exist. Participation is used as a measure, thereby producing requirements which reflect the status quo. Imbalances in supply are perpetuated. Severe limitations for determining priorities and making allocation decisions also result from these methods. This thesis has developed an alternative method; a hybrid of methods previously developed. Recreation activities have been classified into parks and facilities which are accommodated in a hierarchy of service areas. A process then translates participation into unit and space requirements for parks and facilities by service areas. A computer program was written to demonstrate the method's applicability in a practical situation and the method applied to data collected in Richmond, B.C. Determined for Richmond service areas was: amount of space required for parks and facilities, parkland and facility deficiencies, and land and facility costs, cost per peak hour user and the number of peak users which can be accommodated in individual parks and facilities. As a planning tool, this method determines requirements which reflect specific activity participation and interests of populations in various service areas and available land resources. Development costs for parks and facilities are provided which enable a realistic assessment of the feasibility of development according to available financial resources. Development priorities and allocation decisions can also be made. The approach developed in this thesis has a number of uses in recreation system and site planning. However, rather than a panacea for decision making, it provides information to aid decision making. It is nevetheless, far from perfect. Several limitations could be improved upon. For instance, more research is needed to enable the development of a comprehensive park and facility classification system for urban areas. The measurement of participation and use patterns could be improved. Also capacity estimates should consider the impact of use on site deterioration while operating cost impacts of recreation development should be considered in addition to capital costs. Although imperfect, the method developed in this thesis is a useful planning tool for determining urban park and facility requirements. The author hopes it may find practical application.

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