Factors of Spatial Distribution of Recreation Areas in Peri-Urban Beijing

Factors of Spatial Distribution of Recreation Areas in Peri-Urban Beijing

Jiaming Liu (Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, China)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-041-5.ch005
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With the increase of disposable income and leisure time, recreation has become an important lifestyle of urban residents in China. Peri-urban recreation areas, as the important one, could not only meet the outdoor recreational demands of both tourists and residents, but also contribute to sustaining urban ecological security. Rational spatial patterns for recreational land use will mediate the contradictions between urban sprawl and natural preservation, and, economic growth and social development. Based on the case study of peripheral urban areas in Beijing, this chapter aims to identify the factors which will influence the spatial distribution of peri-urban recreation areas, by analyzing the collected data from questionnaires, online survey, documentation and field investigations. In order to achieve sound information, relevant data from different management departments, owners and land-use types involved in the case study area is collected. A sampling database for peri-urban recreation areas in Beijing is established, and GIS spatial analyses as well as statistic analyses are applied. The result indicates that spatial distribution of recreation areas is majorly influenced by four factors, e.g. tourism attractions and environmental conditions, policy and spatial governance, consumption demand and preference, land price and availability. The influencing mechanism of each factor towards different type of recreation areas is various. Tourism attractions and environmental conditions are dominant factors for public recreation areas. Commercial recreation areas are highly related with accessibility. Agricultural recreation areas are usually attached to special farmlands near large-scaled scenic areas. Meanwhile, recreational business clusters have appeared in suburbs influenced by mass recreation market growth. Controlled by the land price, commercial recreation areas are differentiated on their scales and developing intensity. Policy and spatial governance have made arrangements of recreation areas more balancing and more human-oriented. A peri-urban recreation area model is therefore established on basis of this analysis, which can guide urban planning and designing, land-use planning and recreation resource development.
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Peri-urban recreation areas, as the main outdoor playing places for tourists and urban residents at leisure time, are important components of urban recreational system. In the last two decades, with the rapid expansion of urban built-up area in China, the isolation between human and nature turns to be distinct, and the conflict between leisure demands and recreation supplies becomes more and more acute. The tendency of metropolitan residents who escape from their routine life and touch the nature in peri-urban areas on weekends and holidays has turned to be a popularized. Recreation areas could be divided into three types: public recreation area, commercial recreation area and affiliated recreation area, according to suppliers, operators and objectives of land use and its service functions (Figure.1). Based on the case study of Beijing metropolis, the influencing factors of different types of peri-urban recreation areas are analyzed and the dominant factors for each type are identified by the methods of spatial division and statistical analysis, so as to provide significant guides for China’s urban tourism and recreation resources management and planning.

Figure 1.

Classification of recreation areas in suburbs


In contrast to the hundreds years’ development on empirical study in western countries, literature on tourism and recreation literature is still weak in China. Researches on recreation areas involve multi-disciplines, e.g. tourism, geography, urban and landscape sciences. Geographers and urban scholars began to showcase their concerns on the recreation phenomenon from the mid and later 19th Century. They have pointed out a number of theories concerning the distribution of recreation areas, which have been applied to urban planning and construction. At the end of 1950s, the United States initiated a park movement and Central Park, New York, which was proposed by F.L.Olmsterd who pushed the movement to the summit. In the early of the twenties century, Wilderness Protection Regulation was enacted and implemented in national parks. These theories and practices assured that western countries kept harmony between human and nature in the process of urbanization. Functionalism urban planning, sprang up at the early stage of World War II, put the distribution of recreation areas on a very important position. After World War II, a number of researchers began to focus on recreation opportunity. Since 1960s, based on the tourist behavior investigation, researchers tried to divide the tourism space around the urban into different circle layers according to visiting probability. Wilderness Planning Manual recorded a relatively formal zoning method in the early time. In 1962, Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission (ORRRC) proposed a 6-division system. In 1982, the United States Forest Service drew up the 6-division system for Recreation Opportunity Spectrum, which is perceived as a widely used classification for tourism space: primitive, semi-primitive non-motorized, semi-primitive motorized, roaded natural, rural and urban. In 1977, Tourism and Recreation Development was published and its theory was approved and widely applied by tourism planners all over the world. It classified tourist destinations in suburbs according to capacity and described their features from the perspective of urban population, outdoor recreation behavior and types of tourist destination.

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