Exploring associations between social interaction and urban park attributes: Design guideline for both overall and separate park quality enhancement

Shuolei Chen, Ole Sleipness, Keith Christensen, Bo Yang, Keunhyun Park, Ryan Knowles, Zhuoheng Yang, Hao Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, social interaction in parks became important outdoor activity for urban residents to mitigate social isolation and achieve mental health benefits internationally. While literature primarily researched what park feature and characteristics influence the self-reported social interaction, the purpose of this study is to expand the overall park quality measurement by incorporating both objective and subjective park attributes from multiple aspects, and explored their associations with social interactive behaviors assessed through an established protocol. A case study in Utah was conducted to assess the relationships between both overall and separate park qualities and social interaction through hierarchical linear models (HLMs). The results indicated overall park quality was the most significant predictor of social interaction, followed by sub-areas, including green space and playground, and park size. Aesthetic features, maintenance and cleanliness can promote social interaction while numbers of facilities and amenities didn't show effects. The subjective attributes of park environment are more effective in influencing social interaction than the objectives. To assist municipal planners and policy makers to create socially harmonious and cohesive communities in various cities, we provided a general design guideline to encourage social interaction and promote health benefits through the enhancement of urban park quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104714
JournalCities
Volume145
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2024

Keywords

  • Mental health benefits
  • Outdoor
  • Park features and characteristics
  • Physical activity
  • Social cohesion
  • Urban

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

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