Research on the influence of community, neighborhood, and park design on physical activity has gained interest in the 21st century. One dominant park amenity considered by urban planners and park designers are trails and trail hubs to a park system and regional trail network. Trail hubs act as an intersection where multiple trails converge and visitor’s services such as parking, restrooms, water, or exercise areas are provided. Trail hubs are increasingly included in new park designs or in modifications of older parks to facilitate active transportation and active physical activity levels for better health conditions. Few studies have examined how specific park features across different parks influence physical activity levels. This study evaluates physical and social behaviors within and across parks to test the outcomes of park features. Park user data were collected in situ from 1,089 park users with a random sample approach over a three-month period. Data were collected on physical activities, purpose of park visit, social composition of users, and temporal variables at three urban parks of different aged neighborhoods in Singapore. Users were intercepted at two areas within each park -- a multi-use area and the dominant trail hub area. Results suggest that an overall park design, including its age and its park amenities, influences park uses. Self-reported physical activities and motives for park visitation showed that vigorous physical levels and exercise motives occurred at a high proportion at trail hub areas compared to general park facility areas. Solo users were more likely to be located in trail hub areas, whereas park users with families, children or friends were more likely to use general park facility areas. The newest of the three parks studied, which featured a trail hub that provides extensive access to trails and coastal area, particularly exhibited high levels of vigorous and moderate physical activity. The value of these findings is in helping park designers and planners better understand the outcomes of different neighborhood and park design layouts, through the allocated amenities within an area and in relation to the immediate surroundings of the park area. Trail hubs developed in new or existing trail or park systems were associated with greater physical activity levels. Future research could test trail hubs outside of park settings to determine if these findings transfer to additional community areas. With evidence of different behaviors in park settings, park planners can serve the exercise and social needs of urban dwellers.
Vogt, Christine and Kho, Cybil
"Parks and Trail Hubs as Green Gyms,"
Cities and the Environment (CATE):
1, Article 3.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.lmu.edu/cate/vol11/iss1/3