The use of urban green spaces in high density cities : an investigation of salient attributes and citizen attitudes in Hong Kong

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The use of urban green spaces in high density cities : an investigation of salient attributes and citizen attitudes in Hong Kong


Author: Wan, Kar Ho
Title: The use of urban green spaces in high density cities : an investigation of salient attributes and citizen attitudes in Hong Kong
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2016
Subject: Greenbelts -- China -- Hong Kong.
Greenbelts -- China -- Hong Kong -- Public opinion.
City planning.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of Building and Real Estate
Pages: xviii, 218 pages : color illustrations
Language: English
Abstract: Urban green space (UGS) is an essential element in land use planning. Public authorities have been identifying ways to encourage the use of UGSs primarily because of their contribution to a higher quality of life. Specifically, UGSs provide rejuvenating experiences for stress relief, resources for physical activities, and opportunities for social interactions. Given that land resources are scarce in high-density cities, such as Hong Kong, a sound understanding of the attitudes and preferences of users would help public authorities effectively utilize land resources that, in turn, can meet the needs of citizens and encourage their use of UGSs. As documented in the literature, three knowledge gaps exist in this research area. First, prior studies focused on how the attributes or characteristics of UGSs may influence people's intention to use them. Considering contextual and cultural differences, there is yet a set of consensual characteristics. Second, previous studies excessively focused on intrinsic park features and socioeconomic variables, failing to consider the complexity of the evaluative and psychological processes of users. Third, inconsistent results have been observed regarding the relationship between UGS characteristics and behaviours of users. This study aims to fill the aforementioned research gaps by identifying the key attributes of UGSs in Hong Kong as well as the factors influencing their use. In light of increasing urban intensification, the results of this study would be useful for UGS planning in high-density cities and in the global context.
The three main objectives of this study are as follows: (1) to identify the salient UGS attributes in Hong Kong and examine their influence on the behaviours of users, (2) to develop and validate a conceptual model with which to explain the use of UGSs, and (3) to draw policy and design implications for encouraging the use. To achieve the aforementioned objectives, repertory grid technique (RGT), an interview technique used to elicit implicit individual constructs, was first applied to interview UGS users with the goal of identifying the salient attributes of UGS. Subsequently, the attributes identified via RGT and other established measurement items of the attitudes and behaviours of users were used to develop a questionnaire. A telephone survey was conducted to validate the conceptual model and explain the use of UGS. Finally, the results revealed a specific set of salient UGS attributes in Hong Kong, verifying that the use of UGSs is influenced by attitudinal and social factors apart from the characteristics of UGSs. This research has contributed to the literature and improved the decision-making process of designing and planning UGSs. The main contributions of this research are three-fold. (1) This study identified a set of salient UGS attributes in Hong Kong, which can help policymakers and planners develop a reasoned understanding of the specific needs and preferences of city dwellers in a compact urban milieu. (2) This study added psychological constructs related to UGSs and identified valuable insights into key factors influencing their use. (3) Finally, this study recommended alternative ways to increase the use of UGSs by focusing not only on their attributes, but also on promotional campaigns to influence people's attitudes and to position the use of UGS as a social trend.

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