An open space inventory can be done using GIS and incorporated into a priority infrastructure plan. Some steps in the inventory and planning process include:
- Identifying neighbourhoods that lack open space. As a starting point, this can be done relatively quickly, by identifying green space and then transposing 400 metre and 800 metre radius circles (that is 5 and 10 minute walk) around the parks. This will identify the level of walkability or access to open space for residents of the local area. The process can be refined depending on the level of access to resources and time. For example, by reviewing the 10 minute walk, taking into account physical barriers that may impede access, such as railway tracks, multi-lane highways or natural features (including drainage structures and steep land). This may result in removing some parks from consideration as they cannot be successfully used.A more formal approach involves using GIS mapping systems, aerial photography, zoning information, land attribute mapping and inventories to identify existing parks in the local government area. An audit of physical activity facilities can include assessment of community facilities, private facilities, public open space, paths and trails, other community facilities (such as schools and end of trip facilities), programs, community organisations, and sporting and recreation groups.
- Overlaying the GIS map produced with ABS to map community profiles to determine localities that may have a large population at risk of low physical activity levels (such as people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds or low socio-economic status)
- Considering future development areas for incorporation into a priority infrastructure plan and infrastructure charges schedule
- Developing a hierarchy structure and categorising sport and recreation facilities in the local government area. This may include citywide, district and local area with sub-categories such as sports grounds and courts, recreation parks, waterslide parks, linear parks, commercial parks, industrial parks and recreation trails. The provision of parks in commercial and industrial areas is not a traditional consideration in planning but should be. Employees in these areas can use parks during their lunch breaks and for social physical activities with their colleagues. Based on these hierarchy categories, desired standards of service, including benchmarks for provision can be developed
- Using the open space assessment to prioritise areas to target new open space or improvements to existing parks and trails. Large spaces, community gardens and small-pocket parks need to be taken into account. Open space inventories can be combined with other planning considerations — such as residential density, pedestrian and cycle routes and transport routes — to identify strategic links between open space planning and other initiatives
- Considering hazards such as slipping, tripping and maintenance costs, and paying attention to small details which make a significant difference for older adults and people with disabilities
- Conducting a maintenance plan early in the planning with findings informing design decisions, for example soft-path pavement treatment or brickwork may be more difficult and costly to maintain than simple blacktop
- Incorporating Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED). Responses may include lighting, security cameras, emergency phones and landscape treatments with low vegetation that softens the harsh edges of a park or trail while maintaining visibility and eliminating hiding spaces for potential criminals
- Measuring elements such as location of schools, bus stops, corner shops, health care and child care centres while gathering information. Once documented, these can be very useful in future exercises such as Land Use and Public Transport Accessibility Index assessment (refer to Neighbourhood planning in the Corporate Plan Tools section for more details)
- Identifying the need and location of land for future parks for acquisition as part of the above process land acquisition. Although council may have a focus on using and further embellishing existing park land.
Other Sources of Information
- Be Active WA, How to Physical Activity Plans: provides detailed advice on how to prepare a Physical Activity Plan
- Open Space for Sport and Recreation – Planning Principles and Implementation Notes for Local Government:developed for local government to provide specific guidance on how to consider sport and recreation in the land use planning context.Councils can use this publication to assist in the planning scheme and corporate planning process, and to guide the development of associated planning instruments and plans.Issues covered in the publication include providing a diverse range of sport and recreation settings, recreation and sport in rural areas, non-motorised recreation trail networks and open space standards and park planning performance criteria. Implementation measures for each issue are suggested with examples provided.The publication also includes case studies on topics such as multiple uses of open space, waterways and riparian corridors, cross boundary strategic planning, facility location and co-location of facilities, and redevelopment of land (see http://www.sportrec.qld.gov.au )