ParkIndex: Using Key Informant Interviews to Inform the Development of a New Park Access Evaluation Tool

Elizabeth Oliphant, S. Morgan Hughey, Ellen Stowe, Andrew Kaczynski, Jasper Schipperijn, J. Aaron Hipp

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

The relationship between park availability, physical activity, and positive health outcomes has been documented across the globe. However, studying how people access parks and why they use the parks is difficult due to a lack of consensus with respect to measurement approaches and assessment of park environments. Establishing a parsimonious method and tool for quantifying both park availability and park quality represents a major step that could advance park and physical activity research and practice. This paper describes phase one of the effort to develop such a measurement tool, known as ParkIndex. ParkIndex is a two-year National Institutes of Health (NIH)- funded study to create an evidence-based tool that will assist citizens and professionals in understanding and using information regarding community park access and use. Phase one consisted of key informant interviews conducted with research and practice leaders to inform development and provide insight on the essential foundations of ParkIndex. Twelve professionals from practice and academia, including parks and recreation, landscape design, and public health sectors, were interviewed in fall 2016. Key informants were interviewed on four topics concerning the content, value, feasibility, and dissemination of ParkIndex. Trained research assistants employed double, emergent, open, and axial coding methods to develop key themes and concepts to guide phase 2 and further development of ParkIndex. Key themes throughout the interviews included measures for park use, including distance, safety, neighborhood characteristics, route and travel mode to park, and overall park characteristics. Park elements discussed included quality of, and availability of, amenities, activity spaces, programming, and park management, as well as the context of the park and the engagement of the local community. Respondents determined that ParkIndex could benefit park planning and community development and provide for a standardized method for evaluating park access. Interviews and themes offer parks and public health practitioners and researchers—and this specific ParkIndex development team-the opportunity to refine and evaluate measures to be included in a comprehensive park access and use tool. Key informants repeatedly referenced the need, especially within parks and recreation management, for consistent, reliable, and valid measures of park access and use, such as ParkIndex seeks to provide. We believe a well-conceived, integrated index will at the very least allow for greater comparison between parks and park systems and at best will facilitate the many park stakeholders to best design, maintain, program, research, and advocate for their local parks. Subscribe to JPRA
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Park and Recreation Administration
Volume37
Issue number1
ISSN2160-6862
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20. Feb 2019

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physical activity
public health
park management
tool use
community development
amenity
research program
stakeholder
safety
method
evaluation
health
recreation
comparison
planning
travel
citizen
need
index

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Oliphant, Elizabeth ; Hughey, S. Morgan ; Stowe, Ellen ; Kaczynski, Andrew ; Schipperijn, Jasper ; Hipp, J. Aaron. / ParkIndex: Using Key Informant Interviews to Inform the Development of a New Park Access Evaluation Tool. In: Journal of Park and Recreation Administration. 2019 ; Vol. 37, No. 1.
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ParkIndex: Using Key Informant Interviews to Inform the Development of a New Park Access Evaluation Tool. / Oliphant, Elizabeth; Hughey, S. Morgan; Stowe, Ellen; Kaczynski, Andrew; Schipperijn, Jasper; Hipp, J. Aaron.

In: Journal of Park and Recreation Administration, Vol. 37, No. 1, 20.02.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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AU - Hughey, S. Morgan

AU - Stowe, Ellen

AU - Kaczynski, Andrew

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AB - The relationship between park availability, physical activity, and positive health outcomes has been documented across the globe. However, studying how people access parks and why they use the parks is difficult due to a lack of consensus with respect to measurement approaches and assessment of park environments. Establishing a parsimonious method and tool for quantifying both park availability and park quality represents a major step that could advance park and physical activity research and practice. This paper describes phase one of the effort to develop such a measurement tool, known as ParkIndex. ParkIndex is a two-year National Institutes of Health (NIH)- funded study to create an evidence-based tool that will assist citizens and professionals in understanding and using information regarding community park access and use. Phase one consisted of key informant interviews conducted with research and practice leaders to inform development and provide insight on the essential foundations of ParkIndex. Twelve professionals from practice and academia, including parks and recreation, landscape design, and public health sectors, were interviewed in fall 2016. Key informants were interviewed on four topics concerning the content, value, feasibility, and dissemination of ParkIndex. Trained research assistants employed double, emergent, open, and axial coding methods to develop key themes and concepts to guide phase 2 and further development of ParkIndex. Key themes throughout the interviews included measures for park use, including distance, safety, neighborhood characteristics, route and travel mode to park, and overall park characteristics. Park elements discussed included quality of, and availability of, amenities, activity spaces, programming, and park management, as well as the context of the park and the engagement of the local community. Respondents determined that ParkIndex could benefit park planning and community development and provide for a standardized method for evaluating park access. Interviews and themes offer parks and public health practitioners and researchers—and this specific ParkIndex development team-the opportunity to refine and evaluate measures to be included in a comprehensive park access and use tool. Key informants repeatedly referenced the need, especially within parks and recreation management, for consistent, reliable, and valid measures of park access and use, such as ParkIndex seeks to provide. We believe a well-conceived, integrated index will at the very least allow for greater comparison between parks and park systems and at best will facilitate the many park stakeholders to best design, maintain, program, research, and advocate for their local parks. Subscribe to JPRA

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KW - park management

KW - park use

KW - parks and recreation

KW - physical activity

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KW - qualitative research

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