Recreation and Amenity Values of Urban Stream Corridors: Implications for Green Infrastructure
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'Green infrastructure' is a term used to describe systems of parks, greenways, open spaces and other natural landscape elements that provide community benefits. Although we have some understanding of how people use parks and developed greenways, little has been documented about use of the undesignated public and private spaces along green infrastructure features such as stream corridors. The purpose of this research was to examine characteristics that may influence people's use of undesignated open spaces along the stream corridors that form the skeleton of many green infrastructure systems. Data were obtained from a Recreational Use Attainability Analysis (RUAA), an evaluation performed for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The RUAA was conducted for 85 survey sites along 243 km (151 miles) of streams in Houston's Buffalo Bayou watershed. Results indicate that the proximity of stream corridors to local residents, the level of pedestrian access available and tree cover were the best predictors of recreational use while the presence of water, fish or other wildlife were not significant predictors. Observations also indicated that urban and suburban stream corridors afford a variety of recreational and aesthetic values to residents. Implications for policy, planning and design of green infrastructure are discussed. © 2013 Taylor & Francis.
author list (cited authors)
Shafer, C. S., Scott, D., Baker, J., & Winemiller, K.