Urban Densification and Recreational Quality of Public Urban Green Spaces—A Viennese Case Study
Public urban green spaces play an important role in urban sustainability. These places should provide high-quality recreation experiences for the urban residents. However, they are often overused. The Wienerberg area in the south of Vienna, Austria, was transformed from a waste disposal site into a natural recreation area. During the past years, intensive settlement densification processes have taken place, resulting in a doubling of the local population living within a few minutes walking distance. An on-site survey among green space visitors (N = 231) revealed that the majority of them considered the area to be overcrowded on Sundays/holidays and reported a perceived increase in visitor numbers during the past years. Visitors with more past experience, as well as those who have perceived an increase in visitor numbers during recent years, reported higher crowding perceptions. A significant proportion of them try to avoid these crowds, relying on behavioral coping strategies, such as inter-area displacement. While urban regeneration has provided an attractive recreation area, urban densification around the green space appears to have reduced its recreational quality. Monitoring recreation quality indicators, such as crowding perceptions, seems to be useful for sustainable urban green space management and city planning.
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