Evaluation of Public Recreational Greenspace in Halifax for Physical Activity Promotion
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This research investigates features of public recreational greenspace on Halifax Peninsula that promote physical activity. Physical inactivity and its associated poor health outcomes are a major health concern. Past research has determined specific features and characteristics of greenspace that influence physical activity. However, objective measurements of these characteristics have rarely been performed in Canada and never in Halifax. The Quality of Public Open Space Tool (POST), originally developed in Australia, was modified for the Canadian context. The tool was used to audit greenspaces in the study area using direct observation to collect information on the characteristics of greenspace known to influence physical activity. Greenspace quality scores were compared to neighbourhood-level scores of socio-economic deprivation to assess whether parks that promote physical activity are distributed evenly across socioeconomic strata. It was predicted that on average the greenspaces in Halifax Peninsula would have medium quality scores and that these would correlate negatively with neighbourhood deprivation. Most greenspaces scored in the middle of the POST scale calculated from aggregate of activity, environmental quality, amenity, and safety scores. Environmental quality scores were statistically significantly associated with neighbourhood-level socioeconomic deprivation. The results from this project can inform urban planning strategies in Halifax by providing decision makers with current information necessary to identify strengths and weaknesses of public recreational greenspace in support of promoting physical activity.