Citywide Social Assessment of New York City Parks and Natural Areas in 2013-2014

Citywide Social Assessment of New York City Parks and Natural Areas in 2013-2014


In 2001, the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation (NYC Parks) Natural Resources Group created the Forever Wild Program to protect nearly 9,000 acres of forests, wetlands, and  meadows citywide. Although these areas were set aside over a decade ago, we have little systematic evidence about how park visitors view, use, and value parks with these resources.

In 2013, an interdisciplinary team of scientists and natural resource managers at the New York City Urban Field Station embarked on a study to investigate the social dimensions and value of  public green space in New York City. This study, a Citywide Social Assessment of New York City Parks and Natural Areas, explores approximately 9,000 acres of New York City parks in an  effort  to better understand the social meaning of these green spaces.

In a nutshell, this resource offers:

  • A methodology for collecting data on the social meaning of natural areas in cities.
  • Data on most common activities performed by city residents in New York City's natural areas, and how often residents visit natural areas.
  • Reasons why New York City residents go to natural areas, including desire to be in nature, the proximity of the park to their home, and to seek a sense of refuge.

How to use this resource:

  • As a methodology to model a similar study in your city. Data sheets are included in the appendix.
  • As a resource or citation that explains why people value natural areas broadly.

Author: D. S. Novem Auyeung, Lindsay K. Campbell, Michelle L. Johnson, Nancy F. Sonti, Erika S. Svendsen

Date published: 2016

Point of contact: Lindsay Campbell, lindsay.campbell@usda.gov; Erika Svendsen, erika.svendsen@usda.gov, Michelle Johnson, michelle.l.johnson@usda.gov 

Citation: Auyeung, D. S. N.; Campbell, L. K.; Johnson, M.; Sonti, N. F.; Svendsen, E. 2016. Reading the landscape: citywide social assessment of New York City parks and natural areas in 2013-2014. Social Assessment White Paper No. 2. New York, NY: New York Department of Parks and Recreation. 69 p.

Resource is available online here.

 

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