Given that recent literature reviews on physical activity in urban parks deliberately excluded qualitative findings, we reviewed qualitative research on this topic informed by a published classification scheme based on quantitative research. Twenty-one studies met our inclusion criteria. These studies relied mainly on semi-structured interviews with individuals or in focus groups; only five studies involved in situ observation. Our synthesis aligns with previous quantitative research showing that attributes including safety, aesthetics, amenities, maintenance, and proximity are important for encouraging park use. Furthermore, our synthesis of qualitative research suggests that perceptions of the social environment entwine inextricably with perceptions of the physical environment. If so, physical attributes of parks as well as perceptions of these attributes (formed in relation to broader social contexts) may influence physical activity patterns. Both qualitative and quantitative methods provide useful information for interpreting such patterns, and in particular, when designing and assessing interventions intended to improve the amount and intensity of physical activity.
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