Acceptability of income generation practices in 21st century urban park management: The case of city district parks

J Environ Manage. 2020 Jun 15;264:109948. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2019.109948. Epub 2020 Mar 28.

Abstract

There is growing interest in understanding the benefits of parks and green space in financial terms, particularly from policymakers and decision-makers. Applying a financial value is an increasingly popular practice designed to communicate urban green space benefits to budget holders. This is pertinent for local governments who routinely struggle to secure funding for parks, given their non-statutory status around the world. To address this, it is perhaps inevitable that the application of a wide range of funding models to parks is being explored. However, there is little empirical evidence that users and residents share this sentiment. This paper aims to address this gap in knowledge by exploring how feasible and acceptable such income generation practices are for stakeholders directly involved in using and managing parks. We asked local residents, parks managers, community groups and academics in one northern English city how feasible and acceptable they considered different income generation practices if applied to their local parks. The findings show that overall, income generated by cafés and organised events were considered acceptable by residents but to a lesser extent by community groups and professionals. Voluntary donations, car parking and increased taxation were considered unacceptable by all stakeholders, while using the planning system to secure funding was considered acceptable. The findings suggest a variety of acceptable, context-specific income-generating practices which may help stakeholders to address pragmatically the current challenges of managing urban parks.

Keywords: Acceptability; Feasibility; Funding; Governance; Green space management; Urban parks.

MeSH terms

  • Cities
  • Income*
  • Local Government
  • Parks, Recreational*
  • Taxes