Perspectives on Neighborhoods as Park-Planning Units

Mutter, L. R., & Westphal, J. M.

MUTTER, L., & WESTPHAL, J. (1986). PERSPECTIVES ON NEIGHBORHOODS AS PARK-PLANNING UNITS. Journal of Architectural and Planning Research, 3(2), 149-160.


In recent years, a greater emphasis on user analysis and public participation in park planning has resulted in a greater scrutiny of the standards and guidelines used to establish and/or develop park areas within a community. The insensitivity of past "service area" approaches to meet the needs of neighborhood constituencies has created a demand to examine alternative approaches to defining neighborhood boundaries and the subsequent location of neighborhood parks. Two techniques that have been useful in accurately defining neighborhood boundaries and predicting use and nonuse of existing park facilities are examined.

Main finding
This study suggests using a catchment area approach to identify homogenous residential areas instead of traditional service areas to the acquisition, location, development, and/or renovation of park areas in the city. This allows for the park planning process (location, size and level of programming) to be more responsive to the unique social conditions of a given community.

Description of method used in the article
The study site was Bryan, TX. The researchers used five sociodemographic variables (ethnicity, age, housing type, house value and number of occupants/household) to identify homogenous residential areas within a community. The study also included a survey of one household on each residential census block in each subarea (245 total) which included a mental map of neighborhood boundaries.

Of practical use

Organising categories

Other or N/A
Spatial Methods Survey
Physical types
Geographic locations