Accessibility & publicness of green infrastructure

December 13, 2018


Observing the users coming to city parks can inform us on the spatial quality of the park and allows us to understand the functionality of the space. Having a diversity of people using the park is important as it is a witness of its publicness, showing how truly open and accessible the city parks are.

The degree of accessibility depends on the mode of travel used by people, how they get to the park, either by car, public transports, bike, by foot… In this regard, proximity is an important factor as the main users are probably coming from the neighbourhood or from the city.

The income level of people is also to be considered as it will influence the mode of transport used, for example a raise of the price of public transport could prevent people who live further away to access the park. Most people that come to public parks are of middle to high income. (Patel 2016) Meaning that the park culture is highly influenced and dominated by these people. This raises the question, what kind of people can afford to come to public parks?

Patel has observed that the main activities in parks are walking, jogging and spending time with others (family, friends…). Then come activities based on relaxation, yoga, alone time, resting, refreshment. (2016) We can observe that the uses of parks are mainly related to physical, metal and emotional well-being, which are all affecting the quality of life. Of course people can use the park for different activities at the same time, for example jogging with friends as a way to relax. The uses cross and overlap between users. One can observe that public space is collectively formed by people. Public space allows for the flexibility to express ourselves freely and practice various ideologies. Steven Johnson writes “Our thoughts shape our spaces and our spaces return the favour” (2011) It is an infinite feedback loop, we design the space and the space shapes us back. That is why users and public space are interdependent.

In regard to Hyde park, the park is very easily accessible. Most people come either by foot or by public transports to the park. (Ipsos MORI 2015) Meaning that most users are locals, either from the area or from London, whether Londoners or visiting tourists. With numerous pedestrian entrances along its border, and a great number of tube stations, bus stops, bike renting stations surrounding it, one can affirm that the publicness of Hyde park is enabled by its excellent accessibility. The Royal Parks stakeholder research program shows that the main activities are quiet and relaxation, then walk and fresh air. (Ipsos MORI 2015) This shows us that the park is used by many as a way to escape the city for a while, the vegetation and the big open spaces allowing them to have a breath of fresh air and silence within the busy city centre.

Marie Le Rouzic


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