A Smart City Initiative: Urban Greens and Evaluation Method of the Sport and Recreation Potentials (SEM)

A Smart City Initiative: Urban Greens and Evaluation Method of the Sport and Recreation Potentials (SEM)

Anna Pawlikowska-Piechotka (AWF University, Poland & Warsaw Technical University Poland, Poland), Natalia Łukasik (AWF University, Poland), Anna Ostrowska-Tryzno (AWF University, Poland) and Karolina Sawicka (WSTiJO University, Poland & Royal Wilanów Museum, Poland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1978-2.ch024
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This chapter presents theoretical base for the creation of the Smart Evaluation Method (SEM) and an attempt to use this scoring method in practice for measuring environment, sport and recreation potentials of urban greens. A multi-item questionnaire instrument was used to assess selected urban parks: environment quality (air, soil, and water), natural resources (greens, water, and landscape), socio-cultural resources (as public safety), recreation and sport facilities (as children playgrounds, tennis courts, pathways), and park visitor's satisfaction. The survey was carried out in eight selected urban parks in Warsaw and Madrid. With the use of correlation, factor and graphic analysis of their quality, a number of subjective and objective factors which might determine urban greens potentials were identified. They include strong and weak points of the sport and recreation programme of urban parks which were identified. The SEM method was developed with a goal of responding to the challenges of smart city, helping to create sustainable environment and reduce negative consequences of climate change, improve information about public space programme and promote active lifestyle. The knowledge acquired on the base of the SEM innovative scoring method and its outcomes analyse could help to develop smart planning and management of urban greens, enhance the quality of life, provide healthier environment and improve the use of public space.
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Due to economic and technological changes caused by globalisation and integration process, cities must meet the challenge of combining both competitiveness and sustainable development. This challenge has an impact on many factors which influence the quality of urban living, such as:

  • Housing,

  • Economy,

  • Culture, and

  • Environmental conditions.

Most would agree that sport and recreation possibilities in outdoor areas should be part of important segment of governance the urban greens in the smart city. Urban greens are present in everyday life, valuable for all society members. In European civilization since Ancient Greece, due to the specific advantages of environment, public green areas have been seen as the most favourable grounds for recreation and physical exercises. By modern urban society active recreation and relaxation possibilities in a healthy environment are considered as basic human needs. Hence, searching for places for both practicing favourite sports and passive leisure, most residents of overgrowth and overcrowded cities, choose public green areas, such as:

  • Urban parks,

  • Pocket gardens,

  • Squares,

  • Green areas in housing estates,

  • Boardwalks over the rivers,

  • Coastal beaches.

However, an important prerequisite for the efficient use of outdoor sport and recreation area is the question of social expectations and appropriate resources enabling them to practice favourite sport disciplines. As many scholars underline, the Smart City initiative casted light on the current and future status of urban governance policy. (Albino, 2015; Bakici, 2013; Ching, 2015; Clawson, 2011; Goodspeed, 2014; Lee, 2014; Leysdorff, 2011; Neirotti, 2013; Shelton 2015; Townsed, 2013; Vanolo, 2013, Zygaris, 2013). Albino, Berardi and Dangelico (2015) underline, that the term ‘smart city’ is difficult to be precisely defined as this meaning in the context of urban planning might be very complicated and wide. Furthermore the different metrics of urban sustainability (its smartness) might be used. The crucial role of the high quality environment to improve health conditions of urban residents was reported by many scholars (Bull, 2003; Librett, 2007; Pigram, 2003; Spink, 1999; Stoneham, 1994; Thompson, 2007; Torkildsen, 2007; Vael, 2002; Welch, 1991). Most of these scholars (Thompson 2007, Vael 2002, Welch 1991) highlighted the specific role of urban greens. As one should agree, among other issues, clear information about environment quality and recreation possibilities at outdoor green areas should be the basic right in twenty first century metropolis. Ergo, it seems obvious that use of clear information and communication innovations, important to enhance the rational governance of urban greens, should be a part of Smart City strategy. The authors undertook this research issue, because of very limited – so far – knowledge on the subject. As far as they are neither concerned, neither any similar method has been developed and used in practice nor has been described in the literature.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Natural Resources of Smart Cities: Encompass natural resources important for environment quality and biodiversity, for outdoor sport and recreation; include combination of various resources as areas of land, bodies of water, beaches, forest, rocks, and meadows.

Sport and Recreation Activities: Include specific actions of physical activities (physical exercises): organized games, picnics, fishing expeditions, cycling, jogging/ running, walking, bird watching, climbing, hiking, playing ball games, playing tennis, playing golf, Nordic walking - organized for group of people or as individual physical exercises.

Recreation: Means activity or experience carried on voluntarily, undertaken in a leisure time because one wants to do it, is closely related to leisure (but leisure is time of a special kind, while recreation is an activity of a special kind); recreation activity is contrasting with work or other “necessities” of life (for example the same activity, as walking a dog, might be perceived as recreation, chorus or a paid job).

Public Safety and Smart Cities: This term is used to describe subjective feelings of outdoor sport and recreation grounds users as well as objective facilities, which are present at public space (CCTV, gates, lighting, wardens, security service and patrols, municipality inspectors and police patrols, information boards), provided to prevent and protect sport and recreation area visitors from events that could endanger their safety, such as: burglary, harassment, noise, littering, inappropriate social behaviour; protect from danger, injury, harm, crimes or disasters (both natural and human– made). Part of the public safety policy in smart city is information service through displays in public space and applications for smart phones to inform local community about environment conditions and safety regulations in the nearby located urban greens.

Physical Activity: This term is defined as any physical, bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that require energy expenditure. Regular recreation activities such as walking, running, cycling or taking part in sports – have significant importance for health; for example can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases or help to control weight.

Smart City Urban Greens (Public Space) Planning and Management: Were understood as performance in aim to enhance urban quality, reduce negative climate changes, costs and improve sport and recreation possibilities, enhance satisfaction of users and provide healthy environment for the outdoor physical activities. Part of smart governance is information service through displays in public space and applications for smart phones to inform local community about environment conditions, sport and recreation facilities, events organised at nearby located urban greens.

Smart Evaluation Method (SEM): Developed to measure urban green potentials, was understood as the use of information to communicate and inform the government and local community about environment quality, sport and recreation infrastructure available in a given urban park or pocket garden. It was developed with a goal of improving urban governance with regard to natural resources and its functional programme.

Sport and Recreation Outdoor Infrastructure in the Smart Cities: Includes standard sport and recreation equipment for outdoor areas, such as: “green gyms” equipment and other sport facilities, footpaths, bicycle and Nordic walking tracks, marinas, swimming pools, tennis courts, skate parks, sand and grass ball courts, roller rinks, grass fields for picnics, children playgrounds, casual or informal play space, sports pitches, golf courses. It is accompanied by information services through displays in public space and applications for smart phones to inform local community about environment conditions, sport and recreation facilities, events organised at nearby located urban greens.

Potentials of Sport and Recreation Outdoor Areas: Were understood as the possibility of practicing various forms of sport and recreation, undertaken as a daily routine by all society members, regardless of their age or physical condition.

Sport: Physical activity (individual or group activity) that is governed by the set of rules or customs and often competitive (for example: football, tennis, and cricket).

Outdoor Sport and Recreation: Sport and recreation carried out outdoors, require space and resources (infrastructure, special sport equipment); the best grounds for physical activities are areas where natural resources and landscape have the highest environmental qualities.

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