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JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING https://doi.org/10.1080/13467581.2022.2049800 Importance–performance analysis and improvement of an urban park’s cultural ecosystem services based on users’ perspectives: A Beijing case study a a b c Shijie Gai , Jiaming Fu , Xiao Rong and Linlin Dai a b Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Peking University, Beijing, China; Department of Architecture, Shanghai University, Shanghai, China; Peking University, Urban and Regional Plannning, Beijing, China ABSTRACT ARTICLE HISTORY Received 16 July 2021 To construct urban parks in high-density urban areas is an important strategy for dealing with Accepted 18 February 2022 urban problems caused by rapid urbanization and global climate change, and even small-scale parks can provide cultural ecosystem services (CES). However, the differences in the users’ KEYWORDS perspectives of the supply and demand of CES in small-scale urban parks have been under- Urban park; cultural explored. Therefore, this study takes a newly-built park in a complex urban block in Beijing as ecosystem services; high- a case. It studies different users’ perspectives of the urban park’s CES using importance– density urban area; performance analysis. The results show that: (1) Users’ perspectives of the importance and importance–performance analysis; user‘s perspective performance of the park’s CES significantly differed, and “Recreation” was the sub-item that had the largest gap between supply and demand. (2) Users’ spatial and temporal profiles were the main factors that affected their CES perspective. (3) Users most agreed with improving the two CES sub-items of “Rest” and “Recreation” through design optimization. This study suggests that policymakers and planners can formulate targeted promotion strategies based on an understanding of the mismatch between the supply and demand of CES in urban parks. It can also provide guidelines for the construction and optimization of parks in central areas of high- density cities. 1. Introduction difficult and expensive (Zhang and Han 2021). Accordingly, small-scale parks that can be flexibly Cities constitute the main habitats of human beings at arranged and that use urban scattered land or low- present and in the future. As one of the main carriers of efficiency land, such as that which is designated for the natural environment in the urban context, public renovation and construction, have become important urban parks may become an important resource for alternative measures that may be implemented (Wang improving public health (Jennings, Larson, and Yun et al. 2021). These small-scale parks allow for the rigid 2016). People need to have access to nature through constraint of having “more people, less land” in high- green spaces, such as urban parks in high-density built density cities, and have become potential resources for environments, to restore their bodies and minds natural-based solutions in urban centers (Abd El Aziz (Konijnendijk et al. 2013). Especially as the global 2015). COVID-19 pandemic continues, urban parks form the Urban parks are an important source of cultural eco- most accessible outdoor venues for city dwellers. By system services (CES) in the urban environment as they providing access to the natural environment, the parks have a direct impact on human health and well-being allow people to conduct outdoor activities and pursue (Breuste 2020). Although some studies have focused on psychological recovery, health promotion, leisure, relaxa- the CES provided by urban parks, they have mainly tion, and social interaction (Geng et al. 2021). In most focused on large-scale green spaces, especially those high-density cities, especially in city centers, land is extre- mely limited, and large-scale park implementation is located in city suburbs or coastal areas (Haase et al. CONTACT Linlin Dai Email: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Peking University, Urban and Regional Plannning, Beijing, China © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group on behalf of the Architectural Institute of Japan, Architectural Institute of Korea and Architectural Society of China. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. 2 S.GAI ET AL. 2014; Blicharska et al. 2017), and relatively few studies importance and performance of CES and the correla- tion between the park users’ sociodemographic and have focused on small-scale urban parks (Kabisch, spatial-temporal characteristics and perspectives in the Qureshi, and Haase 2015). Small-scale urban parks are different parts of the same park. We also analyze the often built on existing free or scattered land subject to users’ perspectives of the improvement strategies of land restrictions. Some of these parks are where people CES. The results show that the urban park provides will pass by when traveling from one place to another crucial CES in a mixed-use area in the city center and (Forsyth and Musacchio 2005), therefore are both contributes to social equity to a certain extent. strongly accessible and closely related to people’s daily Simultaneously, the results imply that policymakers lives. Many people can benefit from these parks, while and planners should pay attention to some specific the parks themselves can give full play to CES. In order for types of CES and should adopt a targeted transforma- this type of urban park to improve the physical and tion strategy. Moreover, communicative planning mental well-being of urban residents in a limited setting, should be adopted during policy formulation and plan- it is necessary to maximize the role of CES through plan- ning to effectively improve users’ satisfaction and ning and design. Meanwhile, research has shown that achieve a balance between CES supply and demand. there are differences in the perception of CES between planners and users (Riechers, Maria Noack, and 2. Literature review Tscharntke 2017). In the context of understanding the interaction between humans and the environment, users’ In recent years, CES, as a special type of ecosystem perspectives are more important than experts’ opinions service (ES) used to emphasize the connection (Kuller 1991). Therefore, for park policymakers and plan- between natural ecosystems and human well-being ners, it is necessary to accurately understand the needs of as a policy tool, has attracted increasing attention different user groups in order to propose targeted plan- from scholars and policymakers (Table 1). Evaluating the effects of CES can support planning and design ning and design strategies to better meet users’ cogni- practices and policymaking. However, the existing tion and demand preferences for CES, especially for research on CES is insufficient when compared to small-scale parks. that on ES, and scant research exists on the CES of This study selects a park that was built in 2019 in the urban ecosystem (Haase et al. 2014; Blicharska Wudaokou, Haidian District (the central district in et al. 2017), especially in the rapidly developing cities Beijing), as a case study to explore the relationship (Dou et al. 2017). In addition, there are gaps regard- between CES supply and users’ demand in a small ing the application of CES to policy formulation and urban park in a high-density urban area, so as to planning (Erik and Barton 2013; Steiner 2014). As an provide suggestions for the construction of parks in other similar areas. To understand the users’ perspec- important component of the urban ecosystem, tives, we use the importance–performance analysis small-scale urban parks can improve human well- (IPA) method to analyze the difference between the being and are, therefore, very relevant for Table 1. Examples of CES research in an urban green space context. Reference Precis Approach Country Peschardt and Karlsson User’s preferences for park characteristics and perception of restorativeness of Survey Denmark Stigsdotter (2013) small public urban green spaces in Copenhagen Riechers, Barkmann, and Perceptions of CES by interviewees distinguished into three actor groups in Berlin Interviews Germany Tscharntke (2016) Zanten et al. (2016) Compare the relative importance of landscape features of aesthetic and Visual choice Netherlands and recreational values by preferences of visitors experiment Germany Dou et al. (2017) Assess and quantify residents’ perceptions of CES in six metropolitan areas of Survey and China Beijing interviews Vieira et al. (2018) Quantify and compare CES provision for multiple user groups Social media data Brazil and survey Zwierzchowska et al. Assessment of CES by visitor perception and behaviors in three European cities Survey and Austria, Poland (2018) accessibility and Romania assessment Hajung and Son (2018) Perceptions of CES by residents in Gwacheon Survey South Korea Riechers, Barkmann, and Inhabitant diverging perceptions of CES provided by urban green spaces in the city Face-to-face Germany Tscharntke (2018) of Berlin questionnaire Johansson, Pedersen, Perceived contribution of wetland areas to people’s quality of life in urban regions Survey Sweden and Weisner (2019) in southern Sweden Dade et al. (2020) Effects of spatial, environmental, park facility and socio-demographic variables on Participatory GIS Australia the use of urban parks for different CES in Brisbane survey Talal and Santelmann Visitor’s activities, narratives regarding experiences, perceptions of accessibility, Interview and Poland (2021) and desired improvements in 15 urban parks of three types observe Gai et al. (2022) Perceptions of CES by users of different groups in a park in Beijing Survey China JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING 3 policymakers. Urban parks provide citizens with var- than separately study human activity or environ- ious types of CES and are easily accessible and con- mental elements. In turn, a better understanding ducive to people’s daily use. Compared to other ES, and experience of CES can encourage people to CES are relatively difficult to quantitatively evaluate support and participate in various public affairs (Cheng et al. 2019); however, human perception related to urban parks (Dickinson and Hobbs 2017). provides a feasible angle for studying urban parks’ CES are produced by the interactions between peo- CES (Hajung and Son 2018). IPA is a measurement ple and the environment. Different users will have dif- ferent experiences of a place, and users’ different that has been gradually introduced into the manage- sociodemographic characteristics will also affect their ment of both the natural and built environments in feelings (Dickinson and Hobbs 2017). Therefore, there recent years (Ivan 2015). Its basic principle is to are differences in the type, quantity, and quality of CES compare the difference between users’ expectations provided by different urban parks, and there are also of a product with their actual experiences, so as to differences in the strengths or weaknesses and positive understand consumer satisfaction (Oliver 2010). The or negative differences in the perspectives of the CES in IPA method relies on collected survey data and the parks by different groups of people (Dade et al. 2020). As calculations and comparisons of the performance such, it is a challenge to integrate preferences that are and importance scores of different variables to dis- site-specific and have individual-specific characteristics into policymaking (Riechers, Barkmann, and Tscharntke cover the advantages and disadvantages of the pro- 2016). Previous studies have analyzed the CES of urban duct or service, and help policymakers find areas that parks in developed countries such as Germany, need further attention and improvement (Martilla Denmark and Sweden, and have showed that the inter- and James 1977). In the CES research, IPA has been action between people and urban parks is affected by used to evaluate both users’ intuitive experiences of the physical characteristics of the park (e.g., the local CES and the relationship between the supply and environmental conditions, residents’ distance from the demand of CES (Larson et al. 2013). Research on park, the size of the park, and the park’s landscape users’ perspectives of CES can help policymakers features), which impact the performance of the park’s CES through its influence on the users’ activities and planners to properly understand the relation- (Xiaokun, Qiang, and Chand 2020; Peschardt and ship between people and the environment rather Figure 1. The study area. 4 S.GAI ET AL. Karlsson Stigsdotter 2013; Dade et al. 2020). Good 3. Methods design of these features can improve CES from the 3.1. Study location supply perspective. However, little research exists on urban parks in developing countries (Kabisch, Qureshi, This study selected an urban park located in Wudaokou, and Haase 2015). Meanwhile, there is a knowledge gap Haidian District (the central area of Beijing) as its case in the in-depth study of people’s perspectives of CES in study (Figure 1). The park is built as the start-up area of different types of urban parks and even in different parts Jingzhang Railway Relic Park (hereinafter referred to as of the same park (Talal and Santelmann 2021). Jingzhang Park), which is a 1 km long narrow belt- Further, urban park users are diverse and have differ - shaped area that has been built on the old railway site entiated needs (Riechers, Barkmann, and Tscharntke that connects two urban arterial roads. The narrowest 2018). The heterogeneity of the population composition part of the park is 7–8 m wide, and the widest part is less and cultural structure in cities means that urban parks than 20 m. Wudaokou, where the park is located, is an should provide heterogeneous CES. Because urban area with mixed urban functions. It is close to Beijing’s parks are products of the interaction between people first urban light rail station (Line 13) and top Chinese and environmental resources, people’s personal feelings universities. As a result of its superior locational advan- and judgments will seriously affect their perspectives of tage, Wudaokou quickly developed into a well-known the parks’ CES. People’s personal feelings are, to a large education and commercial center in the 1990s. It con- extent, influenced by individual characteristics (e.g., tains large shopping malls and independent shops, new demographic factors, ethnicity, and social status), residential areas (built after 2000) and some old neigh- which form different preferences and value orientations borhoods (built in the 1980s), university campuses, for CES (Mak and Jim 2019; Vieira et al. 2018; Zanten science and technology parks, and small office spaces et al. 2016; Gai et al. 2022). However, few of the existing for university students’ innovation and entrepreneur- studies have explored urban parks using multiple func- ship that are subsidized by the government. To sum- tions to identify the subtle differences in the perspec- marize, Wudaokou is an area with diverse functions, tives of different user types. In addition, it is rare to which means that its citizens are also diverse. conduct research on the supply and demand of urban Moreover, while the vitality of many urban centers in parks’ CES while discussing the relationship between China has declined due to COVID-19, Wudaokou the two from the users’ perspectives. remains full of economic vitality. Figure 2. The plan and photographs of the study area. JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING 5 In the past, the Beijing-Zhangjiakou Railway tracks historical photographs. The south site is a long green corridor that is characterized by natural landscapes with allowed trains to regularly pass through this area, caus- mainly green areas. There is a paved pedestrian prome- ing great disturbance to urban traffic. Moreover, nade in the middle, which is about 1–2 m wide and made because the property rights belonged to the railways of sand and gravel. A few rest areas have been set up. ministry, people were forbidden from entering the A variety of plants have been planted on both sides of the land on either side of the railroad tracks, which trail, while the overall landscape features a natural and resulted in the area becoming desolate and over- wild style. More than 30 local plant species have been grown; a sharp contrast to the vibrant and beautiful selected, such as Sage, Miscanthus, Pennisetum, surrounding areas. Moreover, since the housing prices Coreopsis, and other flowers, while some evergreen in this area are among the highest in Beijing and even shrubs are decorated during the winter. Alike the north mainland China, almost all the vacant lots had been site, the pedestrian walkway features a similar design by built on, and there were almost no public urban parks using bamboo to build a gallery for photographs. In available for citizens. To solve these problems, the addition, old railway sleepers have been used to build Haidian District Government pledged to make this a walkway in the places where the original track was area a focus of urban renewal, although this was not located, and flowers and plants have been planted in implemented for many years. The Beijing-Zhangjiakou the sleepers to form a garden for people to walk in. The Railway is an important support project in Beijing’s planners have intended to not only allow city dwellers to preparations for the Winter Olympics; after the original experience natural scenery but to also provide a habitat railway line was transferred underground, the govern- for insects and other creatures. ment requisitioned a park to be built on the vacant land. Our case study is focused on the start-up area of Jingzhang Park. The park’s design began in July 2019, 3.2. Data collection and its planning, design, and construction lasted for This study adopted a survey to collect data on the users’ only 3 months. The park was completed and opened to perspectives about the park. Before the data collection the public in September 2019. The entire Jingzhang commenced, a 4-week field survey was conducted to Park will continue to be constructed to form a 9 km discover the activity patterns of the park users. In the low-line park. subsequent questionnaire design phase, a pilot was The park planners have divided the park into two conducted with 15 users to test the questionnaire’s sections (north and south) of completely different land- suitability and conduct in-depth interviews. These scape styles based on the shape and location of each site users were not included in the formal questionnaire’s (Fig 2, 3). The north site contains the entrance that is close sample. The purpose of the pilot was to test whether to the city road, and features an artificial landscape. The the questionnaire was in line with the respondents’ ground has been mainly constructed in squares and is reading habits, facilitate understanding, gain knowl- supplemented by green spaces. The landscape has been edge on the users’ dissatisfactions with the park, and mostly covered by hard pavement, and many rest areas collect suggestions for improving the park’s environ- have been densely arranged and contain sculptures, ment so that corresponding options could be displayed signs, and so on that are related to the railway’s history. in the questionnaire. Based on the pilot results, the A small number of green plants have been planted in the questionnaire text was adjusted, and options for mea- flowerbeds, which are manually trimmed into geometric sures to improve the park were formed. The formal shapes on a regular basis. To reflect the history of the questionnaire was divided into four parts. The first part Beijing-Zhangjiakou Railway, the designer has carved concerned users’ sociodemographic characteristics and information about the original railway station on the activities. The second and third parts asked the users ground, and used bamboo to build a gallery that displays Figure 3. Carved history of the Beijing-Zhangjiakou Railway and exhibition of the plan. 6 S.GAI ET AL. Figure 4. People resting in the park. about their perspectives of the importance and perfor- times during weekdays and weekends, such as 7:00– mance of the park’s CES using a five-point Likert scale 9:00, 11:30–13:30, and 17:00–19:00. The participants were selected using stratified random sampling in the (Bernard 2017) (1 = “ strongly disagree,” 2 = “disagree,” north and south sites of the park. Only those who had 3 = “fair,” 4 = “fairly agree,” and 5 = “strongly agree”). been in the park for a while were invited to answer the The fourth part asked the users for their views on the questionnaire. This allowed us to capture participant park’s improvement measures. In the questionnaire, diversity as well as their full perspectives about the nine CES sub-items were listed following Gai et al. park. Four pre-trained graduate students were divided (2022), among which eight sub-items (aesthetic experi- into two groups to conduct the questionnaire. The ences, recreation, nature awareness, social interaction, research team first explained the purpose of the ques- cultural heritage, inspiration, sense of place, and spiri- tionnaire and answered respondents’ questions to tual or religious enrichment) were from Millennium ensure that they fully understood the questionnaire Ecosystem Assessment (MEA) (MA, Millennium and would express their true feelings. Ecosystem Assessment 2005) and one sub-item was an independent type of rest. Rest was added because we have noticed that this function has significantly bene- 3.3. Data analysis fitted certain groups of people. For example, cleaning We used SPSS 27 for the data analysis. First, we verified and restaurant staff who worked in the nearby tertiary the reliability of the data using Cronbach’s α coefficient. industry for more than 12 hours a day but did not have We then used descriptive statistics to analyze the parti- independent work stations and were not allowed to cipants’ socioeconomic and spatial characteristics. In take a short break at their workplaces (Figure 4). Jingzhang Park users had different spatial and temporal The formal face-to-face questionnaire was conducted profiles (hereinafter spa-tem-profiles). We follow the at the end of August 2020. This was because the autumn three main user categories (residents, commuters and season is suitable for outdoor activities in Beijing, and passes-by) of Gai et al. (2022) accordingly, which would people use parks more frequently to conduct their activ- allow us to identify the similarities and differences ities. To enhance the representativeness of the partici- between the perspectives of residents and non- pant sample, the questionnaire took place at different residents. Since the aim of this study is to measure the Figure 5. The flow chart. JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING 7 differences in the importance and performance of the samples) sections. Table 2 shows the participants’ socio- park’s CES, we used Mauchly’s test of sphericity, demographic characteristics. Compared to Haidian a paired-sample t-test, and an analysis of variance District’s latest statistics, the participants are basically (ANOVA) to verify whether the participants’ perspectives the same in terms of gender ratio, while their education of the park’s CES significantly differed (Lai and Hitchcock level is significantly higher than the district average. The 2015). Then, we used IPA to analyze the specific differ - proportion of retired older adults aged over 64 years is ences between the two park sites and the different slightly lower. Nearly one-third of the population are groups. During this process, we used multiple linear blue-collar workers in the service industry who provide regression analysis (MLRA) to identify the characteristics time-intensive labor, such as meal preparation, cleaning, that significantly affected the users’ perspectives, and repairs, express delivery, sales, and so on. Their average grouped them accordingly. Finally, we used frequency wage is lower than that of the entire district. The ratio of statistical analysis to measure the perspectives of the residents and commuters is similar, whereas the ratio of different user groups in the two sites regarding the passers-by is considerably lower. park’s improvement measures (Figure 5). We applied IPA and used importance as the abscissa and performance as the ordinate to form four quad- 4.2. IPA of the two park sites rants. The average value of each CES sub-item was The results of Cronbach’s α coefficient show that each contained in the quadrants. Using the center of the CES sub-item basically exceeds 0.6, indicating that the data method, the average of all importance and per- questionnaire data can be used for further statistical formance scores was used as the origin of the coordi- analysis. As Mauchly’s test of sphericity failed, the nate so that the relative difference between Huynh-Feldt estimate of sphericity (ε = 1.000) was importance and performance could be better com- used to correct the degree of freedom, and the results pared (Azzopardi and Nash,2013). The first quadrant show that the hypothesis is valid. The result of the was the supply-demand matching area and indicated individual paired-samples t-test shows that both that the supply of CES could meet people’s needs. p-values are 0.000, while the ANOVA result The second quadrant was the supply redundancy (F = 50.712, p < 0.01; F = 27.843, p < 0.01) further zone and indicated that supply exceeds demand. The verifies that there are significant differences in the third quadrant was the relatively weak area of supply users’ perspectives of the importance and perfor- and had low importance and performance scores. The mance of CES in the two sites. fourth quadrant was the area in which the supply and Table 3 shows the results of the IPA. Generally, the demand were in urgent need of improvement, and users’ understanding of the park’s CES is consistent indicated that there was a large gap between the two. with other studies; that is, the importance score is higher than the performance score. This shows that users attach great importance to the park’s CES, but 4. Results are not satisfied with its performance. The nine sub- 4.1. Participants’ characteristics items all show similar results. It is noteworthy that “Social interaction (E)” has the lowest importance A total of 225 people were invited to participate in the score, which shows that the users’ demand for socializ- questionnaire. After deleting incomplete and insincere ing in the park is relatively low. “Cultural Heritage (F)” questionnaires, we obtained 204 valid questionnaires from the park’s north (100 samples) and south (104 has the highest performance score, indicating that the Table 2. Socio-demographic of respondents. Sample (%) Variables Category South site North site Gender Male 25.5 23.5 Female 25.5 25.5 Age 16–30 11.3 13.7 31–40 10.8 7.8 41–50 10.8 7.8 51–64 12.3 13.7 >64 5.9 5.9 Education With college degree or greater 26.0 23.5 Monthly household income <RMB10,000 26.5 27.0 ≥RMB10,000 24.5 22.0 Occupation Blue-collar workers 18.1 16.7 White-collar workers 19.6 15.7 Unemployed and others 13.2 16.7 Spa-tem-profile Resident 21.1 16.2 Commuter 17.6 21.6 Passers-by 12.3 11.2 8 S.GAI ET AL. Table 3. Results of performance and importance ratings. Mean of importance Mean of performance Gap Cultural ecosystem services South site North site South site North site South site North site A Aesthetic experiences 4.369 4.606 3.796 3.663 0.573 0.943 B Rest 4.515 4.644 3.893 3.817 0.622 0.827 C Recreation 4.534 4.481 3.660 3.452 0.874 1.029 D Nature awareness 4.379 4.365 3.864 3.558 0.515 0.807 E Social interaction 3.398 3.779 2.825 3.096 0.573 0.683 F Cultural heritage 4.515 4.548 3.942 4.010 0.573 0.538 G Inspiration 4.234 4.260 3.631 3.587 0.603 0.673 H Sense of place 3.796 3.923 3.447 3.337 0.349 0.586 I Spiritual or religious enrichment 4.369 4.510 3.718 3.683 0.651 0.827 Overall 4.230 4.346 3.642 3.578 0.588 0.768 history and culture of the railway has been well dis- Fig. 6 shows the users’ overall perspectives about the two sites. It shows that the nine CES sub-items fall played. “Social interaction (E)” has the lowest perfor- unevenly in the four quadrants. The first quadrant mance score, indicating that there is a lack of suitable contains the most sub-items, which shows that the venues to conduct social activities in. users’ overall experience of the park is positive. Four The different landscape characteristics of the sites sub-items of “Aesthetic experiences” (A), “Rest” (B), address the different aspects of the users’ evaluations. “Cultural heritage” (F), and “Spiritual or religious When comparing the users’ ratings of the two sites, we enrichment” (I) show commonality, which means that can see that the importance score of the south site (4.230) the users think that these four services for the two park is smaller than the north site (4.346). Regarding the per- sites are very important, and the users are also very formance score, the score of the former site (3.642) is satisfied. The second quadrant distributes “Inspiration” greater than that of the latter site (3.578). This result (G), which shows that users have a consensus on this shows that the users from the different sites have a very service; that is, “Inspiration” (G) is an important func- clear understanding of the importance of CES in this park, tion, but the performance is not satisfactory. “Social and believe it is very important. However, these users are interaction” (E) and “Sense of place” (H) are in the third not satisfied with the performance. This result shows that quadrant for both sites. This means that users believe like most urban parks or green spaces, CES have received these two functions are not important, and the perfor- much attention from users but need to be upgraded to mance is also relatively weak in both sites. meet users’ needs (Oteros-Rozas et al. 2018; Junyi and The biggest difference lies in the two sub-items of Chen 2019). The analysis of the difference of the gap of “Recreation” (C) and “Nature Awareness” (D). The users the importance and performance in the two sites demon- agree that these two items are of high importance, but strates that the gaps of the north site are higher than there are significant differences in their performance. those of the south. This shows that users at the north site In the south site, the users believe that the perfor- recognize the importance of CES more, but they have less mance of these two sub-items is satisfactory but satisfaction. Among the nine sub-items, “Recreation” (C) think the opposite in the north site. This may be related was the sub-item that had the largest gap between to the very different landscape features of these two park sites. The south part has many plants and supply and demand. Figure 6. IPA scatter plots for nine CES sub-items for all respondents. JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING 9 Table 4. Results of MLRA. Importance Performance Variables Site t p F t p F Without Spa-tem-profiles South −1.224 0.587 0.751 −3.180 0.000*** 6.043 North 1.656 0.321 1.187 −2.871 0.025* 2.702 With Spa-tem-profiles South −0.368 0.041* 0.643 −10.234 0.000*** 27.893 North −1.501 0.023* 1.377 −13.251 0.000*** 35.653 *p < 0.05; ** p < 0.01; *** p < 0.001 differentiated landscapes, such as sleeper gardens, conventional sociodemographic characteristics and bamboo corridors, and so on, which can provide richer perspectives, and only age had a slight impact on leisure activity choices. The questionnaire revealed the performance of CES. When we added the three that this aspect was reflected in the users’ activities. spa-tem-profiles as the independent variables to the A considerable portion of the users in the south site MLRA, the R value increased to 0.613 and 0.664 for interacted with the natural environment, such as the the south site and the north site respectively and plants, flowers, birds, and insects. For example, we F-test was passed. observed a grandfather and grandson who came to The results showed that these factors had an this site every day to enjoy the wildlife. impact on both the importance of CES, and the perceived performance. A comparison of the aver- age importance values showed that the residents 4.3. IPA among the user profiles had the highest score and the commuters had the lowest score in both park sites; in particular, the We first used gender, age, education, occupation, “Social interaction” (E) level was far below the and household income as the independent variables average (Figure 7). This may be because the com- in the MLRA. The R value was 0.198 and 0.278 for muters usually communicate more with their col- the south site and the north site respectively, which leagues at work, and their office spaces provide passed the F-test (Table 4). These results were some- ample social space. They may view their private what different from the previous studies, as there were almost no correlations between the users’ social venues as being separate from their work 5.00 4.50 4.00 3.50 3.00 A B C D E F G H I Sub-items of cultural ecosystem services Residents Commuters Passers-by Average of importance The south site 5.00 4.50 4.00 3.50 3.00 A B C D E F G H I Sub-items of cultural ecosystem services Residents Commuters Passers-by Average of importance The north site Figure 7. Importance values of nine CES sub-items of spa-tem-profile groups. Values Values 10 S.GAI ET AL. 5.00 4.50 4.00 3.50 3.00 2.50 A B C D E F G H I Sub-items of cultural ecosystem services Residents Commuters Passers-by Average of performance The south site 5.00 4.50 4.00 3.50 3.00 2.50 A B C D E F G H I Sub-items of cultural ecosystem services Residents Commuters Passers-by Average of performance The north site Figure 8. Performance values of nine CES sub-items of spa-tem-profile groups. venues yet close to their residences, so the groups was very significant. This may be due to the demand for the park to provide this service is lack of green space in the city center’s current residential areas. Most of the residential areas relatively low. around the park, especially the older communities The three groups showed significant differences (built in the 1980s and 1990s), lack green space in the nine indicators of CES performance in both significantly. Therefore, to a certain extent, the park sites (Figure 8). The residents had the highest park has assumed the function of a community scores, which were followed by the commuters and park and satisfies the residents’ needs. then the passers-by, and the difference between the 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% A B C D E F G H I Optimizing measures in the sub-items of cultural ecosystem services All respondents Residents Commuters Passers-by Figure 9. Recognition frequency of optimizing measures in the nine CES sub-items of spa-tem-profile groups. Percentage of frequency Values Values JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING 11 mentioned that their shoes were often trapped in the 4.4. Users’ perspectives of the optimizing sand, while the older adults who lived nearby said that measures of CES this terrain was hard to navigate with strollers. The frequency analysis results (Figure 9) showed that the optimization measures of the “Rest” (B) sub-item received the most approval from users; that is, the users believed it 5. Discussion necessary to increase the amount of rest facilities. In the IPA, “Rest” (B) is located in the first quadrant. This result 5.1. Mismatch between the supply and demand of the urban park’s CES shows that the users attached great importance to this function. They believed that although rest options are The IPA results show the differences between the users’ already provided, the number and types of rest facilities perspectives of the importance and performance of should be increased. Some users even proposed to open Jingzhang Park’s CES, which also reflects the relationship up a separate area or build a sheltered pavilion for the between the supply and demand of the park’s CES. Dou purpose of resting in. The “Recreation” (C) sub-item (i.e., et al. (2017) states that in high-density urban areas, citi- the addition of leisure and entertainment facilities) was zens are relatively far away from large green parks on the the second-most recognized function by users. During outskirts of the city, and thus have relatively little access to the questionnaire, the participants especially expressed nature. Accordingly, they will pay much attention to an their demand for fitness facilities. In Chinese urban parks, urban park’s CES near to their places of residence and the government usually provides some fitness facilities as work, and their perspectives of the importance of CES a specific measure of China’s national fitness strategy. may be higher when compared to other places. Our However, Jingzhang park is different from other parks. results also verified this point. The users’ perspectives of This also was reflected in the users’ hopes that the park the CES of the two sites within the park showed higher would provide not only differentiated services but would importance than performance just like that of a whole also have some conventional leisure and recreational park (Gai et al. 2022). This also shows a deviation between functions. The “Social interaction” (E) sub-item was con- the high demand for the park’s CES and the actual supply, sidered the least important function by users, and improv- which may originate from the preferences for the differ - ing the social space was the least recognized measure. ent landscape styles within the park. Overall, the satisfac- The users’ expressed that the numerous nearby restau- tion of the north site, which has an urban artificial style, is rants, shops, and so on met their social interaction needs. low. This may reflect the desire of the people who live in We further compared the perspectives of the three urban “cement forests” to get close to nature and experi- groups. The results show that the residents were more ence the rural pastoral style and rich plant landscapes that willing to improve the park and expressed strong sup- the south site has. Among all the CES sub-items, port for eight of the above nine measures; especially “Recreation” has the largest deviation between supply the desire to increase the number of fitness venues. and demand, which means that users are most dissatis- However, the passers-by had the lowest desire to fied with this function, and think that it needs to be transform and upgrade the park. The commuters improved and upgraded, similar to Riechers, Barkmann, were eager to increase the number of rest facilities. and Tscharntke (2016)’s research. The users mainly We also surveyed which of the two park sites was believed that the park lacked sufficient leisure and enter- more urgently in need of an upgrade. The results showed tainment facilities. It is worth noting that this mismatch that 78% of the users believed that the south part between CES supply and demand reflects the cognitive needed to be upgraded by mainly focusing on improving difference between planners and users to a certain extent. the environment. The top three opinions were to: (1) From the questionnaire item on improvement proposals change the paved pedestrian promenade’s use of sand of the park, we learned that the users were generally and gravel land to plastic or cement, (2) remove the wall dissatisfied with the sand and gravel paving in the south between the park and the adjacent plot, and (3) site because it affected accessibility and convenience. strengthen the night lighting. The residents believed However, the designer regarded this feature as an impor- that the park’s fence blocked people’s vision and also tant ecological measure that reflected rural customs while prevented people from quickly entering the park from being conducive to rainwater seepage and recycling. the buildings on both sides. The lighting in the south site These two opinions reveal a huge divergence in the was obviously insufficient, which was not conducive to spatial representation of the park. This highlights the users’ evening activities and made people feel unsafe. challenge for policymakers and planners to match the The most concentrated opinion concerned the renova- actual needs of users with the planning and design of tion of the paved areas. The users believed that having new parks, as increasing the coverage of urban park is an several hundred meters of sandy ground was very incon- important planning strategy promoted in Beijing and venient. In particular, the women who worked nearby many other Chinese cities. 12 S.GAI ET AL. suggests that policymakers need conduct effective stra- 5.2. Influence of users’ spa-tem-profiles on the tegies for parks with specific site, district, and character- perception of the urban park’s CES istic attributes. This research has shown that such parks Our research used MLRA to identify the association provide special rest services that may not be found else- between the sociodemographic attributes of the where, which need be taken into account by planners to users and their perspectives. Alike several of the pre- provide site-specific case references for other similar vious studies, our study verifies that the population areas. characteristics will affect the perception of CES (Vieira This case study shows that recreational functionality is et al. 2018; Hua and Chen, 2019). However, our case considered most important by users, which needs to be study reveals that while the influence of factors such as enhanced by the planners through different measures. age and income is very weak or even non-existent, the The comparison of the users’ perspectives about two user’s spa-tem-profiles (i.e., the relative spatiotemporal parts of the park that have completely different landscape relationship between the users’ residence/work place features shows that the use of natural vegetation may and the park) will have a significant impact on their improve nature awareness services. Designers should perception of CES, especially performance. As the adopt relatively fewer artificial landscapes in urban parks three types of park users use the park differently in and incorporate more rural pastoral features. This study terms of the frequency, duration, and type of activities, also investigates the users’ views of promotional measures their perspectives of CES also differ significantly. The and provides guidelines for the next steps of the park’s residents have the highest score for the importance renovation, improvement, planning, and implementation, and satisfaction of CES. This is different from some which could be utilized for similar parks. previous studies, as residents are usually considered Although public participation has become an to have stronger place attachment, which often nega- important tool in urban planning, how to effectively tively affects their evaluation of performance (Vieira absorb opinions and ideas of different stakeholders et al. 2018). In our study, the reason for this different remains a challenge. Jingzhang Park is a product of result may be related to how community surveys are implementation-oriented planning. As a flagship gov- conducted during the planning process. With the help ernment project, the park had to be completed before of community organizations, the planner collects resi- the 100th anniversary of the People’s Republic of dents’ opinions and needs, which may be partially China. The project cycle was very short – only 3 months. reflected in the design. However, due to China’s house- During the implementation process, the government’s hold registration management system, the community political requirements for the park’s planning goals organizations include those who own real estate or coexisted with the designer’s technical flexibility dur- rent a house in the area, but do not include those ing construction; political factors also played an impor- who work in the area. Therefore, the opinions of cer- tant role in the formation of the park’s spatial form. tain groups have not been collected, which affects the During this process, although the designer communi- satisfaction with the park’s CES to a certain extent. cated with some of the residents, it is undeniable that the differences between the planner’s so-called profes- sional (i.e., “expert” or “processed”) knowledge and the 5.3. Implications for urban policy and planning public’s experimental (i.e., “layman” or “personal”) In the current context of increasing social and economic knowledge still exist. That is, there was not enough inequities in cities, urban policy faces a great challenge interaction between the two parties to form regarding strengthening social integration. Many studies a consensus. This also led to the designer’s ideals have shown that urban parks can help strengthen social regarding the park’s beauty and sustainability being connections and the sense of local belonging, while the out of touch with the residents’ desires for practicality lack of urban green space can exacerbate social and and safety. In this case only the residents, who were environmental inequities (Campbell et al. 2016). more satisfied with the park, had the opportunity to However, the existing policies rarely consider the estab- express their ideas. Yet other non-resident groups, lishment of urban green spaces that fairly serve all of who also benefit from the park, did not have the society in every part of the city. Our case study shows chance to express their views. For new urban parks in that when urban policymakers consider the layout of areas with complex urban functions and diverse popu- urban parks, they should pay attention to socio-spatial lations, a communicative planning approach should be unfairness. New urban parks should not be limited to adopted to obtain both the commitment of and con- single-function residential areas but should be extended sensus between stakeholders (Khakee 1998). During to mixed-functional and non-residential functional areas. this process, investigating the potential CES benefici - The beneficiaries of urban parks include not only resi- aries in advance can form interactive discourse dents but also non-residents. The analysis of Jingzhang through which all involved parties can explain their Park, a case study located in a complex functional area, values, problems, and concerns. This will also help JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING 13 with participatory space construction and mainte- Disclosure statement nance management to realize the participation of the No potential conflict of interest was reported by the author(s). stakeholders throughout the entire planning, construc- tion, and maintenance management of urban parks, and thereby promote social justice and integration. Funding This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China [52078003, 51808330]. 6. Conclusion Although there has been much research on the CES of urban parks, there has been insufficient investigation of References specific types of parks in terms of subtle population differ - Abd El Aziz, N. 2015. Potentials of Creating Pocket Parks in ences. Through the analysis of the park users’ perspective, High Density Residential Neighbourhoods: The Case of Rod El this study highlights that in high-density urban areas that Farag, Cairo, City. 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Journal of Asian Architecture and Building Engineering – Taylor & Francis
Published: Mar 4, 2023
Keywords: Urban park; cultural ecosystem services; high-density urban area; importance–performance analysis; user‘s perspective
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