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NEER026 Density and displacement of users of urban greenspaces and routes (NEER026)

This rapid evidence assessment explores the density of users in urban greenspaces and green routes, examining the displacement impact of high and low usage levels and specific recreational activities. The study identified evidence on user displacement and activities that may contribute to it. Through a comprehensive search and screening process, 40 studies were selected, primarily focusing on urban greenspaces in Europe, North America, and Asia.

The evidence suggests that displacement does occur in crowded urban greenspaces, but triggers vary and are often self-reported. Social factors such as group size, gender, culture, and prior experience influence perceptions of crowding. While some users prefer fewer people, others see social interaction as part of the recreational experience. No direct evidence was found linking displacement between user groups, but conflicts can arise, particularly involving mountain bikers, cyclists, and dog walkers.
For urban green routes, displacement was not identified except for micro-scale adjustments to avoid conflicts. Low usage levels, per se, were not found to deter users, but concerns about personal safety may arise with specific user dominance.

The study acknowledges limitations, including reliance on questionnaire-based data and the low participation of cyclists in some studies. Recommendations for further research highlight the need for site-based monitoring, consistent methodology for studying crowding factors, and understanding the impacts of high greenspace use on user well-being.

Practical challenges for greenspace managers and urban planners include addressing conflicts between user groups, anticipating future greenspace provision, and understanding displacement-based approaches. This study provides valuable insights for shaping policies and practices to manage urban greenspaces effectively.

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NEER026 Density and displacement of users of urban greenspaces and routes, PDF, 1.8 MB 2024/03/08

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