Differential community effects on perception and use of urban greenspaces

Alex Y.H. LO, Chi Yung JIM

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91 Citations (Scopus)


The social profiles of residential communities exert differential effects on expectations and demands on urban greenspaces. We studied the diversity of public perception towards urban greenspaces in compact urban Hong Kong. Random household samples were selected from four dominant residential communities: old-core public housing (OP), old-core residential (OR), suburban residential (SR), and new-town public housing (NP). They denote gradations in income, housing quality, physical and social milieu, and development age. Face-to-face interviews were conducted using a structured questionnaire. Residents' attitude, visiting pattern, greenspace preference, and assessment of neighborhood quality were investigated. SR presented distinctive results in comparison with others. The moderate differences between the remaining three communities were mainly linked to local traits in park environs. OP more emphasized the function of communal places for neighborly interactions associated with better social relationship of an older population. Parks in OR were the more frequently visited, even though its residents were sensitive to the negative impacts of urban greenspaces, which was related to urban blight in the environs. SR respondents highly appreciated greenspaces as pleasant settings for family activities and aesthetic enjoyment. NP residents were less frequent visitors despite generous park provision, due to the youthful population, weak social cohesion, and limited integration of new migrants. Community quality factors such as neighborhood relationship and urban density influenced the perception. Social qualities were more important than the physical aspects of parks in influencing visitorship. The findings suggest future research to deepen understanding of public perception towards urban greenspaces to inform park design. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)430-442
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010


Lo, A. Y. H., & Jim, C. Y. (2010). Differential community effects on perception and use of urban greenspaces. Cities, 27(6), 430-442. doi: 10.1016/j.cities.2010.07.001


  • Urban greenspace
  • Public perception
  • Community effect
  • Social function
  • Outdoor recreation
  • Compact city


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