Abstract Urban green spaces (UGS), and more specific a higher number of facilities in UGS, have been positively associated with physical activity (PA). However, more detailed studies of which facilities generate high levels of PA, for which type of users, are relevant as existing knowledge is scarce and inconclusive. Using the System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities (SOPARC) we examined the PA levels during use of four different UGS and the use of 36 facilities. Semi structured qualitative interviews with the UGS architects were conducted to reveal the predetermined target groups of the facilities. Facilities that provide the opportunity for games and playing activities are more used for PA than facilities directed at individual training of strength and fitness. The opportunity for socializing and playing while being physically active seems important for many users. A variation in facilities arranged close to each other, as well as the design and quality of facilities, have an impact on use of facilities. Furthermore, males are more vigorously active than females when using facilities. Use of some facilities did not match the predetermined target groups and esthetics was mentioned as a key factor when designing facilities. Our results provide important knowledge to architects, planners and policy makers when aiming at designing activity-promoting facilities in UGS. Future studies need to further investigate the use of facilities among specific target groups, particularly females, and make this information more accessible to planners and architects.
- Physical activity
- Urban green space