Ecosystem Service Use and the Motivations for Use in Central Parks in Three European Cities
Pinto, Luis Valença
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The majority of Europeans live in cities, where parks as components of Urban Green Spaces (UGSs) play an important role in well-being and the provision of ecosystem services (ES). UGSs are especially relevant for the implementation of the United Nations (UN) Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals “Good health and wellbeing” (Goal 3) and “Sustainable cities and communities” (Goal 11). This study focused on ES use and users’ motives, which were surveyed during visits at central parks in the cities Leipzig, Coimbra and Vilnius. Park visitors used 17 different ES, dominated by physical interactions such as walking or biking, followed by experiential and aesthetical ES and ES linked to social relations. Age of visitors, cultural setting and distance to homes influenced ES use in the parks differently in each city, limiting the transferability of park-user behavior or motivations across different spatial and cultural contexts. Results also indicate that aligning sustainability objectives and usability, good accessibility of urban parks plays a central role and encourages the use of non-motorized or public transport for park visits. Concrete information about UGS user motivation and behaviour generated in this and similar studies contributes to convert the UN Agenda 2030 strategies at the municipal level into sustainability and user-oriented design and management of UGS.
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