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What prevents people accessing urban bluespaces? A qualitative study

Pitt, Hannah 2019. What prevents people accessing urban bluespaces? A qualitative study. Urban Forestry and Urban Greening 39 , pp. 89-97. 10.1016/j.ufug.2019.02.013

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Persistent inequalities in use of bluespaces mean their wellbeing benefits are not fairly shared, a situation which can only be addressed through understanding why people do not access them. This paper addresses complex influences on bluespace accessibility through qualitative research into perceptions of urban waterways, with a focus on non-use. It aims to reveal what distinguishes these as spaces available for outdoor recreation in terms of deterrents to access. Results highlight the significance of spatial characteristics as reasons for avoiding bluespaces: unguarded water and a history of negative narratives limit their appeal. Analysis finds risk perception a strong influence on choice of outdoor destinations, an absolute limit rather than a nuisance, particularly for vulnerable groups. Designers and managers of urban bluespaces can encourage use through enhancing environmental quality. Improved cleanliness, lighting, and surveillance will improve their sense of safety. This research suggests a need to assess sites from varied perspectives, mindful of vulnerable people’s experiences, to identify how perceived risks can be mitigated. To further equitable access to bluespaces future research should recognise that the influence of spatial characteristics means access constraints may not be generalised across types of space. Additional qualitative investigation of non-use of varied spaces is required to inform interventions to promote access amongst under-represented groups.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Sustainable Places Research Institute (PLACES)
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 1618-8667
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 4 March 2019
Date of Acceptance: 27 February 2019
Last Modified: 13 Mar 2020 10:54

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