Seeing as its a gorgeous spring afternoon in Melbourne, I thought I’d keep it in theme and add a quick post about a study on Melbourne parks from the journal Managing Leisure.
It’s by Sharyn McDonald and Garry Price from La Trobe University. Their paper “Addressing declining metropolitan park use: A case study of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia” [Volume 14, Issue 1 January 2009 , pages 28 – 37] uses data from the government agency Parks Victoria to discover declining patronage in Melbourne’s municipal parks.
This refreshingly straight-forward paper asks:
“With competition for time and money a major constraint on the activities of many leisure seekers, metropolitan parks offer accessible, low-cost activities that can be scheduled into a small amount of free time. So why is there a decline in the number of visitors to Melbourne’s metropolitan parks?”
The reason? A number of factors including lack of playgrounds, strong competition from other leisure activities like shopping and sport, and, interestingly, a lack of parking are mentioned.
Possible solutions? Better marketing, for instance a public campaign informing local residents of alternative transport and lifestyle options, such maps showing bike paths, public transport routes and parks. MacDonald and Price also suggest that partnerships could be developed and strengthened between local municipalities and local sporting clubs who use co-located facilities in parks.