2018 journal article

Can trail spatial attributes predict trail use level in urban forest park? An examination integrating GPS data and space syntax theory


author keywords: Urban forest park; Trail; Use level; Spatial attributes; GPS; Space syntax theory
UN Sustainable Development Goal Categories
11. Sustainable Cities and Communities (Web of Science; OpenAlex)
Source: Web Of Science
Added: August 6, 2018

Understanding users’ spatial distribution in forest park is crucial for providing visitors with quality recreation experiences and for park planning and management. Utilizing users’ spatial distribution data, this study aims at investigating associations between trail use level and trail spatial attributes, through examining two large urban forest parks (Gongqing forest park and Paotaiwan forest park) in Shanghai, China. Users’ spatial distribution was measured utilizing GPS trackers with the interval of 10 seconds. This study conceptualizes trail spatial attributes as trail metric attributes and trail configurational attributes. Trail metric attributes include trail mean distance to gates, length, width and level of enclosure, which are calculated based on park map and on-site observation. We computed trail configurational attributes utilizing space syntax theory, which comprise measures of global integration, control, and connectivity. Trail connection with features/facilities, visual connection with water and shading are included as covariate variables. In total, we obtained 134 valid samples in Gongqing forest park and 210 valid samples in Paotaiwan forest park for analysis. Multivariate regression analyses indicate that when involving covariate variables, consistently in both parks, a greater trail usage is significantly related to trail shorter mean distance to park gate, trail width wider than 3 meters, higher global integration and higher control values. Collectively, these four trail spatial attributes explained 31.7 % (p < 0.001) and 27.3 % (p < 0.001) of the variances in trail use level in Gongqing forest park and Paotaiwan forest park. These findings provide direct implications to park designers and managers for providing visitors with different desirable social conditions, and ultimately improve users’ experiences and satisfactions.