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Sustainable design, management and appropriation of urban public parks

Applicant Bühler-Conrad Elisabeth
Number 107154
Funding scheme NRP 54 Sustainable Development of the Built Environment
Research institution Geographisches Institut Universität Zürich
Institution of higher education University of Zurich - ZH
Main discipline Social geography and ecology
Start/End 01.07.2005 - 31.10.2009
Approved amount 383'613.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Social geography and ecology
Information Technology

Keywords (5)

spatial appropriation; difference and identity; visualization; time geography; urban planning

Lay Summary (English)

Lay summary
Are public parks really public?

Urban public parks are key land uses in today's cities and huge sums of money are spent by the state on building and maintaining them. Parks have great potential to raise the quality of life of urban citizens and foster social sustainability. Accessible to everyone, public parks are also the sites of growing conflict, however.

The project focuses on specific urban parks in the city of Zurich. It aims to identify elements of design and planning, as well as strategies of management and operation, that foster the socially sustainable use of public areas. Social sustainability in a park ensures equal access and participation, irrespective of gender, age, nationality, ethnicity or the socioeconomic status of a person. The socially sustainable use of space in parks respects cultural and social diversity and does not tolerate either the domination or the exclusion of specific groups.

To collect the necessary data on the presence, activities and interactions of different user groups, controlled field observations will take place. The data will be processed using geographical information systems (GIS) capable of visualizing and analysing complex human behavioural data. Problem-centred interviews with park users and neighbourhood residents, as well as with experts and key persons, will provide additional information.

The results of the research project will be discussed during a one-day international workshop. They will then provide public authorities and planners with decisionrelevant knowledge on the potential as well as the limits of landscape design and park management as part of a sustainable urban policy. Last but not least, taking into consideration the social aspects of sustainability will lead to greater efficiency in the allocation of money spent on public parks.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

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