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Attractiveness of urban parks for visitors versus their potential allergenic hazard: A case study in Rzeszów, Poland
- Ćwik, Agata, Kasprzyk, Idalia, Wójcik, Tomasz, Borycka, Katarzyna, Cariñanos, Paloma
- Urban forestry & urban greening 2018 v.35 pp. 221-229
- European Union, allergenicity, canopy, case studies, cities, hypersensitivity, land cover, lawns and turf, playgrounds, politics, recreation users, risk, social change, sports, statistical analysis, urban parks, vegetation, Central European region, Poland
- The political and social changes that have taken place in Central Europe after the collapse of the communist regimes in the 1990s, followed by the accession of some countries to the European Union, have initiated the intense development of cities. The development is manifested, among other features, in the renovation of old parks and establishment of new ones. These actions, however, require studies on the role of parks depending on their location in the city, the activities undertaken by park visitors, and the allergenic risks of park vegetation. Taking into account the above assumptions, comprehensive studies of this type were conducted in four urban parks in Rzeszów (Poland) in order to develop recommendations for the city authorities on their spatial management. Harmful impact of parks’ vegetation was described by allergenicity index. Park visitors were counted during eight scans in each park. Types of visitors’ activities were grouped into five main categories: resting, using playgrounds, cycling, other sports, others. Three categories of the parks land cover were studied: canopy, lawns and paths as well as location of the parks. We concluded that the type of activity undertaken in the park was primarily associated with the land cover structure of the park and its location within the city. A comparison with the use of statistical methods and an evaluation of the parks also showed that diversification of the character and functions of parks in the city is a desirable feature. We have identified three major types of parks using results of studies on the role of parks depending on their location in a city, the activities undertaken by park visitors, and the allergenic potential of their vegetation: downtown parks, open parks, and peripheral parks – requiring different spatial development recommendations to ensure their attractiveness for visitors while simultaneously mitigating their allergy hazard impact.