This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Does Access Imply Usability? Evaluating Social and Physical Barriers to Park Access and Usability within Atlanta, Georgia




Bright, Ansleigh

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis




The mere existence of green spaces doesn't guarantee their usage, and access to them isn't solely dependent on their proximity. This study investigates park use in Atlanta, Georgia with a focus on understanding how park accessibility and usability as well as green infrastructure implementation impact overall park use. Four parks in Atlanta were selected for this study and represented diverse urban characteristics as well as socioeconomically distinct block groups. A mixed-methods comparative case study analysis, including in-situ observations, user surveys, and geospatial analysis was employed to assess contributions and barriers of both usability and accessibility. Findings from this study indicate that parks in low-income and minority neighborhoods face more challenges to park usability while parks located in higher-income areas with well-maintained green infrastructure have increased usability and accessibility. As urban areas, like Atlanta, Georgia begin to implement additional sustainable measures to combat the effects of the urban heat island, addressing barriers to park usability within urban parks becomes essential. Findings from this study highlight the importance of creating inclusive and enjoyable green spaces for all communities.