Investigating the benefits of 'leftover' places: Residents' use and perceptions of an informal greenspace in Melbourne

Mahmoudi Farahani, L and Maller, C 2019, 'Investigating the benefits of 'leftover' places: Residents' use and perceptions of an informal greenspace in Melbourne', Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, vol. 41, pp. 292-302.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Investigating the benefits of 'leftover' places: Residents' use and perceptions of an informal greenspace in Melbourne
Author(s) Mahmoudi Farahani, L
Maller, C
Year 2019
Journal name Urban Forestry and Urban Greening
Volume number 41
Start page 292
End page 302
Total pages 11
Publisher Elsevier GmbH - Urban und Fischer
Abstract Urban greenspaces play a key role in the health and wellbeing and quality of life of residents. Several studies have documented the physiological, environmental and social benefits of parks and formal greenspaces for urban dwellers. The contribution of informal greenspaces and their potential uses and benefits, however, have received very little attention in extant research. Informal greenspaces are found in a variety of forms and types including vacant lots, railway or waterway verges and brownfields. Drawing on an empirical study of Upper Stony Creek in Sunshine North, Melbourne, this paper examines how residents perceive and use informal greenspaces. Upper Stony Creek is a concreted drainage channel with limited access from the residential area. An informal greenspace of around 40,000 square metres is located towards the east of the Creek. Drawing on systematic observations and interviews with local residents, the study examined how residents engaged with and benefited from the presence of informal greenspaces in their neighbourhood. The findings showed that not only did residents use the accessible greenspace, but also they were using channel verges fenced-off at the time. The activities varied based on season and the level of maintenance. Dog walking was the main activity conducted in the informal greenspace, and the lack of regular maintenance, perceptions of unsafety and littering were among the most critical concerns regarding its use. The paper concludes by recommending ways informal greenspaces can be managed and improved to add value to urban environments and fully capitalise on their potential as integral parts of neighbourhoods that can contribute to liveability.
Subject Land Use and Environmental Planning
Urban Design
Urban Sociology and Community Studies
Keyword(s) Greening
Informal greenspace
Landscape architecture
Perception
Planning
Use
DOI - identifier 10.1016/j.ufug.2019.04.017
Copyright notice © 2019 Elsevier GmbH
ISSN 1618-8667
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