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Some perceptions and preferences of residents’ use of community neighbourhood parks in Mitchells Plain, Cape Town

Lodene Willemse


Urban parks help enhance the value of urban settings and provide dynamic recreation facilities for citizens; however, environmental injustice is still noticeable throughout South Africa regarding the unequal distribution of urban parks. This article provides an overview of community neighbourhood park (CNP) conditions in five subsections of Mitchells Plain (Beacon Valley, Portlands, Rocklands, Tafelsig, and Woodlands). Results indicate that 18% of the respondents in Mitchells Plain have to walk further than the accepted norm of 15 minutes to reach CNPs. This negatively influences the CNP usage patterns, and the time spent in CNPs. The most important concerns influencing CNP non-use include safety and improper maintenance (mostly experienced in Portlands), and a lack of facilities and natural features (mostly experienced in Tafelsig). The ways in which CNPs can be improved echo the concerns for not visiting CNPs frequently. Significant policy implications for the City Parks Department are also discussed.

Keywords: Park use; community neighbourhood parks (CNPs); CNP satisfaction; reasons for not visiting CNPs; environmental justice; Mitchells Plain