The characteristics, behaviors and preferences of urban-park users are seldom gleaned and analyzed to improve park planning and management. This study addresses the research gap using Hong Kong case studies, aiming at four objectives: firstly, to establish socio-demographic profiles of park users; secondly, to evaluate their visit-related preferences; thirdly, to examine the effect of socio-demographic variables on visit-related preferences; and fourthly, to apply the findings to improve urban parks. A questionnaire survey covered 872 users in eight urban parks in four districts. Non-Chinese respondents, married with children and less educated visited parks more often. Users were mainly residents of the district, usually visiting at least once per week, in all four seasons, and preferably in good weather. Three habitual companions were family or relatives, friends, and partner or boyfriend or girlfriend. A factor importance index (FII), summing Cramer's V statistic adjusted by significance level, was computed to indicate relative contributions of individual factors. Six of the 15 socio-demographic variables were significantly associated with visit-related variables, including in order of FII: economic activity status, age, number of children, ethnicity, educational attainment, and marital status. Seven of the ten visit-related variables were significantly associated with socio-demographic variables, including habitual companions, residential years, park-visiting frequency, and familiarity with other park users. The findings allowed formulation of a comprehensive, socially-relevant and community-sensitive strategy to improve urban parks. Applicability of the findings highlighted the pertinence of objective research data to match parks with the leisure and recreational needs of urban residents. Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
CitationMak, B. K. L., & Jim, C. Y. (2019). Linking park users' socio-demographic characteristics and visit-related preferences to improve urban parks. Cities, 92, 97-111. doi: 10.1016/j.cities.2019.03.008
- Urban park management
- Visitor socio-demographic profile
- Visit-related preference
- Community-sensitive park planning
- Nighttime park visit
- Migrant workers