Attitude and Perception of Residents towards the Benefits, Challenges and Quality of Neighborhood Parks in a Sub-Saharan Africa City
Urban parks provide various environmental, socio-cultural and economic benefits, also called ecosystem services, as well as challenges. Urban park planning and management needs to consider the perception and attitude of people towards the benefits, challenges and quality of the parks. However, such information is largely lacking for cities of Sub-Saharan Africa. The objectives of this study are to understand the perception and attitude of residents towards the benefits, challenges and qualities
... enges and qualities of neighborhood parks in a formal settlement area in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and to investigate whether these aspects are affected by the socio-demographic characteristics of respondents. Data were collected through a household survey (n = 398) and three focus group discussions. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and Chi-square tests. The focus group discussion resulted in the selection of 18 ecosystem services (benefits) and five challenges. Supported by a very high response rate (96.6%), the household survey shows that respondents recognize the environmental, socio-cultural and economic benefits provided by neighborhood parks, but that the socio-cultural and environmental benefits are perceived as more important than the economic benefits. The socio-demographic characteristics of age, gender and education level were found to have no significant effect on perceptions or attitudes. The cost of managing neighborhood parks and the attraction of nuisance insects were the two most important challenges, respectively. The majority of respondents rated the quality of the existing neighborhood parks excellent or good, with the existing safety condition and the presence of high plant diversity receiving the highest number of high scores. The availability of park facilities was the aspect of park quality considered poor by the most respondents. This study highlights the importance of place-based studies for assessing the perceived benefits that attract people to use urban parks, as well as the challenges that deter use. One important lesson that cities in Sub-Saharan Africa could draw from the development and management of neighborhood parks in Addis Ababa is the vital importance of public participation in urban park development and management.