The provision of recreational opportunities forms an important and long-standing urban planning and management objective. However, considering a range of experiences encountered when in such spaces currently does not form part of existing open space assessment tools in the UK. In this paper, ‘rec-mapping’, an innovative method of analysing and mapping positive recreational experiences in urban green spaces is explored and piloted within the UK planning context. Originating in the Nordic countries, this on-site method can provide urban planners and designers with data about the extent to which specific green spaces provide and support a range of recreational experiences. The exploration reported here is based on a short review of the methods background and an application in two test sites in Sheffield, South Yorkshire in early summer 2010. This paper critically appraises the application of rec-mapping at smaller spatial scales and recommends further explorations within the UK planning context, as the method adds to existing open space assessment by providing a unique layer of information to analyse more fully the recreational qualities of urban green spaces.
Institution of Civil Engineers. Proceedings. Urban Design and Planning, 2013, Vol 166, Issue 5, p. 296-308