C. Scott Shafer, John Baker, David Scott & Kirk Winemiller
Scott Shafer, C. , Baker, J. , Scott, D. & Winemiller, K. (1). Recreation and Amenity Values of Urban Stream Corridors: Implications for Green Infrastructure. Journal of Urban Design, 18(4), 478–493. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13574809.2013.800450
‘Green infrastructure’ is a term used to describe systems of parks, greenways, open spaces and other natural landscape elements that provide community benefits. Although we have some understanding of how people use parks and developed greenways, little has been documented about use of the undesignated public and private spaces along green infrastructure features such as stream corridors. The purpose of this research was to examine characteristics that may influence people’s use of undesignated open spaces along the stream corridors that form the skeleton of many green infrastructure systems. Data were obtained from a Recreational Use Attainability Analysis (RUAA), an evaluation performed for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The RUAA was conducted for 85 survey sites along 243 km (151 miles) of streams in Houston’s Buffalo Bayou watershed. Results indicate that the proximity of stream corridors to local residents, the level of pedestrian access available and tree cover were the best predictors of recreational use while the presence of water, fish or other wildlife were not significant predictors. Observations also indicated that urban and suburban stream corridors afford a variety of recreational and aesthetic values to residents. Implications for policy, planning and design of green infrastructure are discussed.
This research finds that proximity of stream corridors to local residents, the level of pedestrian access available and tree cover were the best predictors of recreational use of urban stream corridors while the presence of water, fish or other wildlife were not significant predictors. This research recognizes the recreational and aesthetic values of urban and suburban stream corridors afford to residents and discusses the Implications for policy, planning and design of this green infrastructure.
Description of method used in the article
The RUAA was conducted for 85 survey sites along 243 km (151 miles) of streams in Houston's Buffalo Bayou watershed for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The dependent variable was number of people observed at a stream site. The regression included five macro-variables; stream sinuosity, cover, walking accessibility, locale. and type of property; and six micro-variables; stream flow, aquatic vegetation, fish observed, water birds, and other wildlife.