Can Church Gardens Represent a Valuable Recreation Alternative in Cities?

Onose, Diana Andreea and Ioja, Ioan Cristian and Slave, Andreea Raluca and Gradinaru, Simona R. and Gavrilidis, Athanasios Alexandru and Popa, Ana Maria (2021) Can Church Gardens Represent a Valuable Recreation Alternative in Cities? CITIES 20.50 – Creating Habitats for the 3rd Millennium: Smart – Sustainable – Climate Neutral. Proceedings of REAL CORP 2021, 26th International Conference on Urban Development, Regional Planning and Information Society. pp. 143-152. ISSN 2521-3938

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Urban green infrastructure is a key element in improving quality of life and creating an appropriate framework for sustainable, resilient and inclusive cities. Also, achieving a coherent spatial planning based on development of urban green infrastructure can be an useful solution to negative changes related to environmental quality, segregation and ecosystem services. We use church gardens in Bucharest as a case study to understand how these small green spaces can be integrated into urban planning. The paper aims to analyse the potential of church gardens as recreation areas at city level in Romania. The analysis focused on three major aspects – the spatial distribution of churches, the accessibility of green spaces located in church gardens (calculated both for adults and elderly people as most important groups accessing the gardens) and the characteristics of those gardens in terms of facilities, use and problems (based on a field survey filled for a 20% sample of the 287 churches in Bucharest). The results showed that the homogenous spatial distribution of churches with green gardens makes them accessible for residential areas located far from traditional green recreational areas. In Bucharest, the service areas of churches with green spaces cover 84% of the residential areas when accounting for the adult’s walking speed and 61% when accounting for elderly people. Green spaces in church gardens amount to over 25 ha in Bucharest, with an average of 1737 square meters per garden, representing a surface which could be designed to respond better to the population needs. The major challenges identified in the church gardens are (a) the use of green space for other purposes than recreations, such as storage space for construction materials (31.5%), waste (17.5%), temporal constructions (12.3%) or car parking (21%), and (b) quality of vegetation. Our study highlights that through their number and distribution church gardens can represent an alternative to large green areas if they are opened to the population and used for organising activities and events. Their importance and potential could be increased if designed for such purpose. Such analysis can be useful in the planning process of small urban green areas in order to integrate them into urban management process.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: recreation, accessibility, church gardens, green infrastructure, inclusion
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
N Fine Arts > NA Architecture
Depositing User: REAL CORP Administrator
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2021 11:07
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2021 17:14

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