Perceptions of park visitors on access to urban parks and benefits of green spaces

Basu, Sukanya and Nagendra, Harini (2021) Perceptions of park visitors on access to urban parks and benefits of green spaces. Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, 57. pp. 1-13. ISSN 1618-8667

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There has been limited research on understanding access to public green spaces in cities of the global South. In a study in Hyderabad, India, we interview visitors in four parks to understand their perceptions of and access to ecosystem services. Of these, two parks charge entry fees and two provide free entry or entry at minimal cost. Most users value the park as a recreational space, but are largely unable to access provisioning services such as food and fodder. This poses a particular challenge for low income residents. In the large parks with high vegetation cover, visitors could identify a variety of trees, plants, and birds, while in the smallest neighbourhood park which has the least amount of greenery, they could only identify a small number of species. Parks were visited more by men than by women, who cited challenges of lack of time, and lack of safety. Park entry fees also acted as barriers, for low income groups. The two parks located in wealthy and gentrifying neighbourhoods were almost exclusively accessed by middle class and wealthy visitors, because of the entry fee. Surveys of willingness to pay found that wealthy visitors were keen to pay an entry fee and did not seem to understand the implications of such a fee on exclusion, low income visitors expressed negative views. A central role of the urban park as a ‘public space’ within a city is to nourish the sense of community. Yet some parks have been converted into landscaped and designed areas with high public investment, and entry charges, with limited provision for harvesting ecosystem services. Thus even in public spaces like parks, we observe stark gender and income inequalities, leading to the uneven access to green space.

Item Type: Article
Authors: Basu, Sukanya and Nagendra, Harini
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ecological justice, Urban green space, Gentrification, Accessibility, Urban ecology
Subjects: Natural Sciences > Life sciences; biology > Ecology
Divisions: Azim Premji University > Research Centre > Centre for Urban Ecological Sustainability
Azim Premji University > School of Development
Full Text Status: Public
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