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Perceptions of ‘naturalness’ by urban park visitors: Insights from Perth, Western Australia

Krapez, A., Hughes, M.ORCID: 0000-0002-9810-1891 and Newsome, D. (2021) Perceptions of ‘naturalness’ by urban park visitors: Insights from Perth, Western Australia. International Journal of Geoheritage and Parks . In Press.

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Urban greenspaces, such as urban public parks, may provide a range of benefits to people visiting those spaces. The extent and type of visitor benefits may be influenced by a range of park characteristics such as the presence of manicured and naturalistic features, the urban setting and visitor perceptions of park naturalness. Understanding visitor perceptions of park naturalness contributes to understanding the role different types of urban greenspace play in providing nature contact and associated benefits for urban populations. Hence, our study set out to determine visitor perceptions of the naturalness and associated benefits of two parks in different urban settings, suburban and peri-urban, in the city of Perth, Western Australia. Each park had different zones in terms of naturalistic and manicured areas for public use. An on-site visitor intercept survey using convenience sampling was conducted simultaneously at both parks in 2017. Sampling was conducted in the naturalistic and manicured zones of each park. The questionnaire included a seven-point perceived naturalness scale (ranging from completely artificial to completely natural) and a park visitor benefits question, drawn from the literature, where respondents rated seven items on a five-point scale (strongly agree to strongly disagree). We found the suburban park was rated as significantly less natural than the Peri urban park. However, there was no significant difference in perceived naturalness between zone types within each park (manicured versus naturalistic). A moderate positive relationship was identified between perceived naturalness and perceived key benefits at both parks. This study further highlights the importance of retaining naturalistic areas within urban environments.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Environmental and Conservation Sciences
Harry Butler Institute
Publisher: Elsevier B.V.
Copyright: © 2021 Beijing Normal University.
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