Social interactions in urban parks: Stimulating social cohesion?

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Abstract

People from all ethnic backgrounds spend some of their leisure time in green areas. This study found that urban parks are more inclusive green places than non-urban green areas, and that urban parks can promote social cohesion. The objective of the research was to establish the extent to which urban parks facilitate social cohesion and how social interaction and place attachment can contribute to such cohesion. Quantitative research (a survey) and qualitative research (observations and interviews) carried out in five urban parks in the Netherlands revealed that there are many similarities in the ways that ethnic groups use urban parks and in the meanings of such parks to these groups. Urban parks are sites where different ethnic groups mingle and where informal and cursory interactions can stimulate social cohesion. Furthermore, being involved and concerned with parks can facilitate attachment to these places. Urban parks can provide a vital locality where everyday experiences are shared and negotiated with a variety of people. The design of a park, its location and people's image of the park in combination with the cultural characteristics of various ethnic groups inform the opportunities for intercultural interactions
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-100
JournalUrban Forestry and Urban Greening
Volume9
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Keywords

  • neighborhoods
  • management
  • attachment
  • values

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