Indicators and Standards of Quality at an Urban-Proximate Park: Litter and Graffiti at Boston Harbor Islands National R Graffiffi Recreation Area


  • Megha Budruk
  • Robert Manning


Carrying Capacity, Graffiti, Indicators and standards of quality, Litter, Urban-proximate parks


Depreciative behaviors in urban-proximate recreation settings are a major cause of concern due to detrimental impacts of these behaviors on park resources and visitor experiences. Managers are often faced with the question of what level of visitor use can be accommodated in a park or recreation area so that the quality of park resources and visitor experiences do not deteriorate to unacceptable levels. This issue is often addressed through indicator-based planning/management frameworks. While harmful effects of litter and graffiti have received some research attention, little is known about the point at which their presence begins to affect visitors. This study identifies litter and graffiti as important indicators of quality and examines visitor evaluations of a range of litter and graffiti at Georges Island, Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. During the first phase, 695 completed questionnaires were collected in summer 2000, yielding information on the most and least enjoyable aspects of visitor experiences. Litter and graffiti emerged as quality indicators of park resources and visitor experiences. A second visitor survey was conducted in summer 2002. A visual litter evaluation method designed by Keep America Beautiful was adapted and combined with a norm measurement method to measure visitor evaluations of litter and graffiti. The study plan resulted in 223 completed questionnaires. Findings indicated that visitors were able to specify norms for various evaluative dimensions of the amount of litter and graffiti, thereby providing managers with a visitor perspective for managing depreciative behaviors.





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