University of Twente Student Theses


Identifying factors that influence tertiary students’ preferences, choices, perceptions and use of urban parks in Enschede

Elbondira, Tahani Ahmed (2013) Identifying factors that influence tertiary students’ preferences, choices, perceptions and use of urban parks in Enschede.

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Abstract:Although tertiary students are becoming large, active and unique population in cities, they are still unrecognized in research on urban green space (UGS) preference studies. It is argued that the way tertiary students perceive and use public spaces, generally, differ from other population groups, in particular the older and the less active groups. Therefore, their preferences are important to be understood and realized when creating and managing UGSs if it is sought to attract them, and potentially other groups, to use these UGSs. This study then addresses this lack of understanding by capturing the preferences, choices, perceptions and use of urban parks, particularly, in Enschede by tertiary students who are assumed to be a potential source of creative ideas that may help in re-imaging the city parks to be more interesting, attractive and inviting for use. An adapted socio-ecological framework was used to understand the factors that influence these preferences, choices, perceptions and use patterns. These influences are organised into individual and environmental factors, at two levels; city and park level, to facilitate determining whether social or environmental interventions are more needed. In total 43 semi-structured interviews were conducted with students from both Saxion School and Twente University, and a participatory GIS (PGIS) approach was used to enable students’ views to be communicated and visualized in a selected case study parks. The results show that individual factors were the main influences on the non-use behaviour among the interviewed students. These factors mainly were; availability of free time and personal preferences for recreating in other outlets. In terms of preferences; managed and unmanaged nature of the landscape and presence of other users were found to differentiate between students in their park preferences. A more ecologically oriented group preferred Ledeboerpark and Van Heekpark for their more natural landscape setting and less presence of other users that enhance the feeling of being in a forest, while the other group preferred Volkspark for its managed nature and more presence of people that make the park more pleasant. When it comes to choice, although youth are hypothesized to be less influenced by proximity, distance appeared as the main factor influencing students’ choice of their most frequently used park. Lack of free time availability coupled with the quite unnoticeable difference between the characteristics of the different case study parks could be a possible reason for them to choose closer parks. At park level, the use of mapping approach during the interviews allowed to identify activity, favourite and problem areas. Places where natural landscape elements like lakes and fauna exist were the most utilized and appreciated for providing pleasant sceneries, while, more trees are needed in some parts to provide a visual separation from the city, especially in Volkspark. On the other hand, lack of some facilities could explain adapting some areas for studying, playing soccer or picnicking in some parks by students. However, generally the parks are perceived positively as safe and satisfactory. These findings were used in formulating recommendations for urban parks planning, design and management in the city; in particular the case study parks, in addition to specific recommendations for follow-up this research. Also recommendations for UGS preference studies to utilise socio-ecological models and to develop more innovative methods that ensure effective consideration of communities’ preferences in the creation and management of UGSs were formulated.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:ITC: Faculty of Geo-information Science and Earth Observation
Programme:Geoinformation Science and Earth Observation MSc (75014)
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