Measuring the true distance which residents have to travel to access greenspaces in their local area is of interest to a wide range of groups, researchers and organisations across CSGN. A recently developed pilot project, being led by the CSGN Support unit and funded by FCS and SNH, is looking at building on existing work across the CSGN to develop a straight forward methodology which can be replicated across the network to produce data for monitoring change and guiding strategic development.
Why do we need this data?
The CSGN ambitions include (Vision (CSGN, 2010)):
“Creating attractive, safe, and well-maintained green space or accessible countryside within easy walking distance of every home in Central Scotland.”
“Developing a strategic network of high-quality routes for active walking and cycling and recreation
throughout Central Scotland”
Currently, there is no CSGN wide measure of greenspace accessibility to be able to monitor progress to meet these ambitions. While we now know the situation with greenspace quantity (State of Scotland’s Greenspace, greenspace scotland, 2012), we know little about the population this is serving and how accessible it is.
As work takes place on improving the access network there is currently no way to measure the effect this will have on connecting population to existing greenspaces. We also cannot using mapping to highlight areas where work will make the greatest impact. We are also aware that a number of other groups & organisations are interested in this data being available (including Local Authorities, Regional Partnerships and academics/researchers).
A pedestrian network "model", which could be simplified for strategic use would immediately allow comparisons on residents’ access to local greenspace and identify any areas where there is the need/opportunity for intervention.
Using geographic information systems (GIS), traditional (Euclidean) as-the-crow-flies measurements will not provide the level of intelligence required for either of these tasks. More sophisticated "network analysis" allows calculations which take account of the road and path network, using routing analysis very similar to that used in sat-navs.
What is involved in the pilot project?
The pilot project (being carried out by Forth Valley GIS) is looking to develop an approach which could be followed by a GIS trained professional to generate urban greenspace accessibility data for their area of interest - using Scotland's Greenspace Map data and supporting data from Ordnance Survey and Open Street Map.
The model will use Open Source GIS technology to generate this data, to allow the process to be available to as many organisations as possible.
The consultants are looking at methods of capturing greenspace access points in a semi-automated way (to improve modelling where access points are not available) in addition to the modelling described above.
With the co-operation and assistance of the Local Authorities, the focus area for the pilot work has been Midlothian and Edinburgh, to evaluate the efficiency and accuracy of the method.
Can I find out more?
The project report for the pilot and methodology will be available from the CSGN SU in late April. The pilot data will also be available on request to those with appropriate licencing.
If you have any questions about the project, or have an interest in this work, you can contact Abigail Page for further information.