Accessibility of green spaces within the spatial metropolitan network

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Submission Summary
Most people regard green spaces as a necessity to enhance the physical health and psychological well-being of residents in promoting the general health and welfare of citizens and the environment (Röbbel, 2016). In the Modern Era, the availability of green spaces has become an integral component of urban planning for sustaining the quality of life in city environments, especially since the dawn of the 20th century. Due to globalization in rapidly-developing cities around the world, studies about green spaces are becoming an increasingly important part of the urban planning process (Mitchell and Popham, 2007). Accessibility can play an important role in determining the location of green public facilities to maximize their usability for large populations, or otherwise limit use to a smaller community (Ottensmann and Greg, 2008). However, many public green spaces are inefficiently located or distributed in urban environments (Beatley, 2000; Gehl, 2010; Gehl and Svarre, 2013). In this paper, the accessibility of urban green spaces means the ease of reaching such locations from many origins within the urban spatial network from the macro- to the micro-scale. The inaccessibility of urban green spaces, or their near-complete absence in some urban areas, is a notable consequence of rapid urbanization in many cities around the world. It is especially noticeable in the capital city of Doha in the State of Qatar, where rapid urban expansion and globalization has had a significant impact on the quality and quantity of green spaces available (Salama and Wiedmann, 2013). The paper utilizes the network analysis techniques of space syntax to objectively investigate the accessibility of urban green parks and promenades in the metropolitan region of Doha (Hillier and Hanson, 1984; Hillier, et al, 1993; Penn, et al, 1998). At the heart of the paper is the question, does the size and location of urban green spaces follow a discernible spatial logic in terms of accessibility, linked to the design intent of public planning policies? Some findings in the paper indicate there is distinctive spatial and social logic to the physical and spatial characteristics of urban green spaces above a certain size in terms of metric area. In contrast, these characteristics in smaller urban green spaces tend to be more random, primarily due to issues of land availability and amenity provision in private developments. We conclude by discussing the potential implications of the study for public planning policy about green urbanism in the State of Qatar and other rapidly-urbanizing cities around the world.
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6: Creating Healthy and Inclusive Urban Environment
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Research Associate
Qatar University
Assistant Professor of Architecture and Urban Planning
Qatar University
Qatar University
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