Presentation Title

Urban Park Visitor Preferences for Vegetation – an On-site Qualitative Research Study in Portland, Oregon

Start Date

2-3-2020 1:50 PM

End Date

2-3-2020 2:00 PM

Abstract

Urban parks provide numerous cultural and ecological benefits, but may not always meet visitor preferences. The purpose of this study was to better understand vegetation preferences and accessibility by performing on-site semi-structured interviews at 15 different parks of three general park types, using a case study in Portland, Oregon. We asked: how does vegetation in urban parks currently meet visitor preferences? The data include detailed descriptions of the participants’ viewpoints provided during the interviews, which were coded for themes and patterns of meaning. Vegetation was often related to visitation, and across park types, visitors discussed trees, plant size, colors, and diversity as some of their favorite aspects of the vegetation. Trees were important for many visitors, particularly for their large size and shade in recreational-active use and multi-use parks. While the plants met many of the preferences of the park visitors, more than half of them recommended changes. Many visitors to recreational-active and multi-use parks described their desire for more flowers, color, middle growth/shrubs, and improved placement, while those in natural-passive use parks oftentimes preferred additional invasive/harmful plant removal. Some primary accessibility concerns were proximity, maintenance (e.g., of vegetation and trails), trail and path access, and relaxation opportunities. Management actions can integrate these vegetation preferences into park planning and maintenance to improve park experiences and accessibility for urban communities.

Subjects

Environmental social sciences, Land/watershed management, Plant ecology

Persistent Identifier

https://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/33854

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Mar 2nd, 1:50 PM Mar 2nd, 2:00 PM

Urban Park Visitor Preferences for Vegetation – an On-site Qualitative Research Study in Portland, Oregon

Urban parks provide numerous cultural and ecological benefits, but may not always meet visitor preferences. The purpose of this study was to better understand vegetation preferences and accessibility by performing on-site semi-structured interviews at 15 different parks of three general park types, using a case study in Portland, Oregon. We asked: how does vegetation in urban parks currently meet visitor preferences? The data include detailed descriptions of the participants’ viewpoints provided during the interviews, which were coded for themes and patterns of meaning. Vegetation was often related to visitation, and across park types, visitors discussed trees, plant size, colors, and diversity as some of their favorite aspects of the vegetation. Trees were important for many visitors, particularly for their large size and shade in recreational-active use and multi-use parks. While the plants met many of the preferences of the park visitors, more than half of them recommended changes. Many visitors to recreational-active and multi-use parks described their desire for more flowers, color, middle growth/shrubs, and improved placement, while those in natural-passive use parks oftentimes preferred additional invasive/harmful plant removal. Some primary accessibility concerns were proximity, maintenance (e.g., of vegetation and trails), trail and path access, and relaxation opportunities. Management actions can integrate these vegetation preferences into park planning and maintenance to improve park experiences and accessibility for urban communities.