Perceived health benefits and willingness to pay for parks by park users: quantitative and qualitative research
journal contributionposted on 2017-05-15, 00:00 authored by Claire Henderson-WilsonClaire Henderson-Wilson, K-L Sia, Jenny VeitchJenny Veitch, Petra StaigerPetra Staiger, P Davidson, P Nicholls
Whilst a growing body of evidence demonstrates people derive a range of health and wellbeing benefits from visiting parks, only a limited number of attempts have been made to provide a complementary economic assessment of parks. The aim of this exploratory study was to directly estimate the perceived health and wellbeing benefits attained from parks and the economic value assigned to parks by park users in Victoria, Australia. The research employed a mixed methods approach (survey and interviews) to collect primary data from a selection of 140 park users: 100 from two metropolitan parks in Melbourne and 40 from a park on the urban fringe of Melbourne, Victoria. Our findings suggest that park users derive a range of perceived physical, mental/spiritual, and social health benefits, but park use was predominantly associated with physical health benefits. Overall, our exploratory study findings suggest that park users are willing to pay for parks, as they highly value them as places for exercising, socialising, and relaxing. Importantly, most people would miss parks if they did not exist. The findings aim to provide park managers, public health advocates, and urban policy makers with evidence about the perceived health and wellbeing benefits of park usage and the economic value park visitors place on parks.