Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




Dr. Jason Gilliland


Parks are an important feature of the local built environment. It is suggested that whether (or not) high quality public parks are available in the local environment has a significant influence on physical activity levels among youth. This study examines the location and quality of neighbourhood parks (n=208) in a mid-sized Canadian city (London, Ontario) to determine if these public facilities are adequately and equitably distributed throughout the city. A geographic information system was used to map and analyze the spatial distribution of public parks in urban and suburban neighbourhoods of varying socioeconomic characteristics. Neighbourhoods were differentiated using 2001 socio-economic data from the Census of Canada aggregated to City of London planning districts. Comprehensive field surveys were conducted at each park (n=208) in every non-rural district in order to assess quality. The preliminary findings of this study suggest that there is no systematic socio-spatial pattern of inequity with respect to park provision. Better information about neighbourhood play spaces is crucial in the struggle against childhood obesity as physical activity is one of the most important ways to curb obesity. With this information, planners and policy makers can begin to make interventions to make neighbourhoods healthier for children.



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