UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A public recreation planning model based on current recreation theory Nichols, Thomas Matthew


The basic question facing recreation planners is: how much and what kinds of recreation opportunities should public agencies provide? This thesis attempts to answer this question by examining recreation theory in order to determine just what it is that public recreation is expected to accomplish. Early recreation theories, while they provided an answer in the form of nationwide standards, were found to be too simplistic. More recent theories, particularly those based on humanistic philosophy or "recreational need", are too open ended to give any qualitative or quantitative guidance to the public recreation planner. In order for it to be worthwhile for society generally to provide recreation opportunities, society generally must benefit. For this reason, theories based on the individual (humanistic theories) are unsatisfactory as a sole basis for recreation planning. It appears that it is not possible to take a purely positivistic approach to recreation planning at the present time because too little is known about what recreation (or its absence) does to an individual to be able to determine how much is enough. It is concluded that until such time as the necessary information on the effects of recreation is forthcoming, normative approaches employing community values will be necessary. In the first part of the thesis a recreation planning model is developed. The model begins with community values, as expressed through public participation, in the form of goals. The goals are then converted via objectives into facilities and programs. The recreation opportunities thus provided produce personal satisfactions and social benefits. The latter are compared with the original goals to determine the effectiveness of the recreation program (program evaluation). In Part II the Planning Model is compared with current recreation planning practice, as exemplified by the Vancouver (B.C.) Master Plan for Parks and Recreation. The following significant differences are noted: 1) the model is devoted to fulfilling long-term goals while the Master Plan emphasizes meeting demand for facilities and programs 2) the model relies on citizen input for direction while the Master Plan places greater emphasis on professional judgment 3) The Model requires a commitment to program evaluation and ongoing planing while the Master Planning process is oriented toward the production of a single end product. These differences imply that implementation of the Planning Model will require a significant amount of effort on the part of the community in terms of choosing the right planning techniques, committing sufficient resources, and developing the necessary political will power. It is hoped that recreation planners will find the Model sufficiently compelling Intellectually to go to the effort that its implementation will entail.

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