Department of Geography and Environmental Studies

M. Jean Oja, 1979

Open Space as a Factor Affecting the Demand for Neighbourhood Parks in Halifax, Nova Scotia


The purpose of this report is to study the effect of urban open space as a factor in determining the demand for existing neighbourhood recreational facilities in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It is assumed that open space provides alternative opportunities for outdoor recreation and, therefore, any increase in its extent within the urban area will result in a decreasing demand for low-level public parks.

In order to discover the effect of open space on park use, it was necessary to remove the possible influence of other spatial, population and park variables. The technique of multiple regression showed that a total of 71.88% of the variation in demand for existing sites was explained by the twenty-five selected variables of neighbourhood character. The variable which was shown to have the greatest relative importance was the percentage of the total neighbourhood area in open space.

However, this open space variable was shown to have a positive effect on the demand for existing recreational facilities. Within the study area the recreational quality of open space and there, its ability to attract users, tended to decline as its extent increased. Furthermore, the general housing type and ownership appeared to effect not only the quality and size of available open space but also how residents reacted towards it. It is concluded that size alone is an insufficient measure of the attractiveness of urban open space.