An Exploration of the Socioeconomic Benefits of Designating a Regional Park in the Severn Vale, UK

Cookes, Katie Megan and Russo, Alessio ORCID: 0000-0002-0073-7243 (2022) An Exploration of the Socioeconomic Benefits of Designating a Regional Park in the Severn Vale, UK. Journal of Park and Recreation Administration, 40 (4). doi:10.18666/JPRA-2022-11050

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Regional parks are large areas of land preserved on account of the wildlife value, natural beauty, cultural and historic interest, or recreational use of the landscape. They are usually within close proximity to urban areas and can span political and administrative boundaries. This study used qualitative research methods and GIS to explore the potential social and economic benefits of creating a regional park in the Severn Vale, Gloucestershire, UK. Whilst the ecology and environment of the Severn Vale are the driver of the park, this study aims to demonstrate how, by protecting and enhancing this particular environment we can also gain a wider range of benefits for the county and beyond. These wider benefits span social and economic realms while still supporting the ecological goals associated with the regional park’s management. Thus, we first explored where the park boundary could potentially lie by a series of stages of suitability mapping in GIS. Subsequently, a mini focus group and three semi-structured interviews were conducted with experts in relevant fields in order to obtain perceptions on what the socioeconomic benefits could be of establishing a regional park. Thematic analysis of these discussions was then conducted using Qualitative Solution for Research (QSR) NVivo version 12 Software. The analysis identified four main themes related to the research aims, these were improved health and well-being; inclusive accessibility to open space; community building and engagement; and economic opportunity. Perceptions and suggestions obtained from the data recommended how the regional park should incorporate addressing issues such as health inequalities, inclusivity of all segments of society, options for active and sustainable travel, community engagement, and the creation of a positive regional brand, into the managerial practices and design elements of the proposed Severn Vale Regional Park.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Regional parks; Accessible greenspace; Green infrastructure; Inclusive design; Health inequalities; Community engagement
Subjects: S Agriculture > SB Plant culture > SB469 Landscape gardening. Landscape architecture
S Agriculture > SB Plant culture > SB481 Parks and public reservations
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Creative Arts
Research Priority Areas: Place, Environment and Community
Depositing User: Alessio Russo
Date Deposited: 11 Apr 2022 12:55
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2023 15:58

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