Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 2

Green spaces Related Abstracts

2 The Planning and Development of Green Public Places in Urban South Africa: A Child-Friendly Approach

Authors: E. J. Cilliers, Z. Goosen

Abstract:

The impact that urban green spaces have on sustainability and quality of life is phenomenal. This is also true for the local South African environment. However, in reality green spaces in urban environments are decreasing due to growing populations, increasing urbanization and development pressure. This further impacts on the provision of child-friendly spaces, a concept that is already limited in local context. Child-friendly spaces are described as environments in which people (children) feel intimately connected to, influencing the physical, social, emotional, and ecological health of individuals and communities. The benefits of providing such spaces for the youth are well documented in literature. This research therefore aimed to investigate the concept of child-friendly spaces and its applicability to the South African planning context, in order to guide the planning of such spaces for future communities and use. Child-friendly spaces in the urban environment of the city of Durban, was used as local case study, along with two international case studies namely Mullerpier public playground in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and Kadidjiny Park in Melville, Australia. The aim was to determine how these spaces were planned and developed and to identify tools that were used to accomplish the goal of providing successful child-friendly green spaces within urban areas. The need and significance of planning for such spaces was portrayed within the international case studies. It is confirmed that minimal provision is made for green space planning within the South African context, when there is reflected on the international examples. As a result international examples and disciples of providing child-friendly green spaces should direct planning guidelines within local context. The research concluded that child-friendly green spaces have a positive impact on the urban environment and assist in a child’s development and interaction with the natural environment. Regrettably, the planning of these child-friendly spaces is not given priority within current spatial plans, despite the proven benefits of such.

Keywords: Built Environment, Green spaces, urban area, child-friendly spaces, public places

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1 Evaluating the Ability to Cycle in Cities Using Geographic Information Systems Tools: The Case Study of Greek Modern Cities

Authors: Christos Karolemeas, Avgi Vassi, Georgia Christodoulopoulou

Abstract:

Although the past decades, planning a cycle network became an inseparable part of all transportation plans, there is still a lot of room for improvement in the way planning is made, in order to create safe and direct cycling networks that gather the parameters that positively influence one's decision to cycle. The aim of this article is to study, evaluate and visualize the bikeability of cities. This term is often used as the 'the ability of a person to bike' but this study, however, adopts the term in the sense of bikeability as 'the ability of the urban landscape to be biked'. The methodology used included assessing cities' accessibility by cycling, based on international literature and corresponding walkability methods and the creation of a 'bikeability index'. Initially, a literature review was made to identify the factors that positively affect the use of bicycle infrastructure. Those factors were used in order to create the spatial index and quantitatively compare the city network. Finally, the bikeability index was applied in two case studies: two Greek municipalities that, although, they have similarities in terms of land uses, population density and traffic congestion, they are totally different in terms of geomorphology. The factors suggested by international literature were (a) safety, (b) directness, (c) comfort and (d) the quality of the urban environment. Those factors were quantified through the following parameters: slope, junction density, traffic density, traffic speed, natural environment, built environment, activities coverage, centrality and accessibility to public transport stations. Each road section was graded for the above-mentioned parameters, and the overall grade shows the level of bicycle accessibility (low, medium, high). Each parameter, as well as the overall accessibility levels, were analyzed and visualized through Geographic Information Systems. This paper presents the bikeability index, its' results, the problems that have arisen and the conclusions from its' implementation through Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats analysis. The purpose of this index is to make it easy for researchers, practitioners, politicians, and stakeholders to quantify, visualize and understand which parts of the urban fabric are suitable for cycling.

Keywords: Urban Environment, Accessibility, Cycling, Green spaces, Spatial Data

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