Informal Urban Green Space: Residents’ Perception, Use, and Management Preferences across Four Major Japanese Shrinking Cities
2. Materials and Methods
2.1. Study Sites
2.2. Data Collection, Survey Instrument and Data Analysis
3.1. Sample Characteristics
3.2. Respondents’ Perception, Use, and Evaluation of IGS
3.3. Respondents’ Preferences for IGS Management: Goals, Approaches, Willingness to Participate
3.4. Multiple Correspondence Analysis of Key IGS and Demographic Variables
4.1. Perception, Evaluation, and Use of IGS
4.2. Preferred Management Goals
4.3. Preferred Management Approaches
4.4. Willingness to Volunteer
4.5. Main Contributions of This Study to Our Understanding of IGS
- IGS is an integral part of the everyday urban landscape and residents’ daily lives. As such, planners should consider ways to integrate it into existing green plans.
- IGS has a wide variety of potential benefits and problems, but whether IGS affects residents’ positively or negatively depends on how it is managed. Current (non-)management produces positive outcomes for some residents, but remains suboptimal.
- Residents strongly support recreation, urban agriculture and conservation as three central functions and goals for IGS management. These preferences should form the basis of IGS management planning.
- Residents strongly support recreation, urban agriculture and returning space to nature as overarching uses for space opened up through urban shrinkage. These preferences question current efforts of national, regional and local governments to attract new residents and halt or even reverse urban shrinkage. Instead, residents’ preferences should form the basis for larger strategic urban planning.
- The city administration is expected to play a role in managing IGS, even in participatory planning arrangements. Participatory management should not lead to a complete retreat of government involvement in managing IGS, but actively draw on the local knowledge of residents.
- Realizing the potential of IGS for recreation likely requires a clear framework of rules around IGS use, mechanisms of consent to improve accessibility, and strategies to ameliorate liability issues. These three requirements indicate an important role to play for planners and green space managers.
- Participatory IGS management is expected to improve the urban landscape aesthetic. To achieve this outcome, residents require both financial and non-financial support from the city administration.
- A small but significant minority (~10%) of residents is willing to participate through offering time, skills and donations. As IGS only requires limited management to be evaluated considerably higher by residents, the basis of participatory IGS management likely exists. Participation should be voluntary, not forced.
Conflicts of Interest
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|City status||1902 (founded 1824)||1889 (founded ~600 AD)||1963 (formerly Mojigaseki, founded ~645 AD)||1897 (founded ~642 AD)|
|Population (2015)||1.95 million||1.48 million||961,000||378,000|
|Projected population (2040)||1.71 million||1.28 million||784,000||302,000|
|Population density (inhabitants/km2)||1741||1782||1954||452|
|Green space per capita (2015)||12.5||4.4||12.0||9.4|
|Respondents in their 20s||16%|
|Respondents in their 30s||19%|
|Respondents in their 40s||23%|
|Respondents in their 50s||20%|
|Respondents in their 60s||22%|
|Education (highest attained)||Junior high school||2%|
|Housing||Detached with garden||43%|
|Detached without garden||10%|
|Apartment, shared green space||12%|
|Apartment, no shared green space||33%|
|Income||Under ¥2 million||10%|
|Over ¥1250 million||3%|
|Don’t know/Don’t want to answer||19%|
|Question Asked||Response Options 1||Answers (%)|
|How many informal green spaces (as introduced above) exist in your neighborhood? (n = 1000)||None||30.4|
|A few (1–5)||44.5|
|Many (over 10)||10.3|
|What types of informal green spaces do you know of in your neighborhood? Please only select spaces with vegetation other than parks, gardens or plazas. (multiple answers possible; n = 696)||Vacant lots||73.6|
|Structures (overgrown walls, fences, roofs etc.)||34.8|
|Waterside (river banks, river beds etc.)||54.7|
|Gaps (between walls or fences etc.)||44.8|
|How many species of animals and plants do you think live in informal green spaces? (n = 696)||Very few||4.5|
|I don’t know||15.8|
|Question Asked||Response Options 1||Answers (%)|
|How often do you use informal green space for recreation, exercise or play etc.? (n = 696)||Never||78.7|
|Once a week||6.2|
|Once a month||5.0|
|A few times per year||9.2|
|Why do you use informal green space and not a park or garden? (n = 148)||It’s near my home||66.2|
|It’s wild and exciting||19.6|
|It’s not crowded||39.2|
|There are more or different animals or plants||19.6|
|It has better privacy (nobody watching)||9.5|
|There are no use restrictions (e.g., no dogs, no ball play)||23.6|
|It can be used for many things (e.g., gardening)||11.5|
|There are no nice parks near my home||12.2|
|I don’t have a garden or similar green space||14.9|
|Did you experience any problems when using informal green space? (n = 148)||No||62.8|
|Hard to access (fence, signs etc.)||8.8|
|I was scared to use it||8.8|
|Danger of injury||10.1|
|Lots of litter||19.6|
|Conflict with the owner||3.4|
|Conflict with police||0.0|
|Conflict with other users||2.7|
|Criminals were present||0.7|
|Drug users were present||0.0|
|Prostitutes were present||0.0|
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Rupprecht, C.D.D. Informal Urban Green Space: Residents’ Perception, Use, and Management Preferences across Four Major Japanese Shrinking Cities. Land 2017, 6, 59. https://doi.org/10.3390/land6030059
Rupprecht CDD. Informal Urban Green Space: Residents’ Perception, Use, and Management Preferences across Four Major Japanese Shrinking Cities. Land. 2017; 6(3):59. https://doi.org/10.3390/land6030059Chicago/Turabian Style
Rupprecht, Christoph D. D. 2017. "Informal Urban Green Space: Residents’ Perception, Use, and Management Preferences across Four Major Japanese Shrinking Cities" Land 6, no. 3: 59. https://doi.org/10.3390/land6030059