Measuring Accessibility and Equity in a Local Park System: The Utility of Geospatial Technologies to Park and Recreation Professionals


  • Sarah Nicholls
  • C. Scott Shafer


Geographic information system(s) (GIS), ArcView® GIS, park planning, accessibility, socio-spatial equity.


Planning for parks that are accessible and equitable in their placement is important to any local public park system. Geospatial technologies like ArcView®, a geographic information system (GIS), can be helpful in understanding how current and future parks do, or might, serve the public. Two different GIS analysis methods were used here to compare an older, more simplistic method of measuring access and equity with a newer, more complex method. A description of the spatial data acquired is given and detail related to ArcView procedures is also provided. Spatial data were acquired through many different sources and were used to measure and compare access to parks between the two spatial analysis methods. Census block data were overlaid with spatial data to measure and compare spatial equity. The two methods produced different results in the level of access realized by a community but were more similar in the results produced relative to equity. The study has implications for selecting and using a GIS in park planning and for selecting different analysis techniques appropriate to the problem.





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