Saturday, July 5, 2008

For poorer suburbs, it's no picnic paying for a park

Research has revealed that rich suburbs have better-equipped parks: more picnic tables, drink fountains and toilets, trees that provide shade, water features such as a pond or creek, walking and cycling paths, lighting, signs about dog access and about restricting other activities.

The research, which looked at the features of 1500 Melbourne parks in different socio-economic areas, and which involved 540 families, is thought to be a first in Australia. It was led by Professor David Crawford, a VicHealth-supported research fellow at Deakin University, and was published in the latest issue of the international journal Health & Place.

Professor Crawford said the disparity in the quality of park infrastructure from rich to poor suburbs was unacceptable. "We need to provide these kind of resources and opportunities for everyone. We need to do the best that we can across the whole community," he told The Age.

He said the variation in the quality of infrastructure could be dramatic. "These differences are really quite marked, the pattern is quite apparent. When you actually go out and visit these places and look at what there is - it is very stark, some of the differences," he said.

"We looked at 1500 parks - so we had a very close look across a large part of metropolitan Melbourne."

The quality of the park could encourage more family visits and exercise, he said.

Read the whole article here :

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