Cause for concern: Evaluating shade for UVR protection in Christchurch playgrounds : A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Landscape Architecture at Lincoln University

Caves, Lucia
Fields of Research
ANZSRC::330109 Landscape architecture
Objectives: Shade cover in parks, particularly park playgrounds, are valuable landscape settings for reducing over-exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR). UVR is emitted from the sun, with over-exposure linked long-term to skin cancer among other health issues. With the highest exposure time in early life stages, children and young adults are among some more at-risk populations. Parks must protect from direct UVR. Furthermore, the distribution and quality of parks tend to be distributed in favour of wealthier neighbourhoods across a parks network. This study aimed to determine whether shade was adequately and equitably provided in parks located within the highest and lowest socioeconomic (SES) neighbourhoods of Christchurch, New Zealand using accessibility as a factor informing park selection. Methods: Between April and December 2022, 63 Parks in Christchurch were audited using a mixed method of desktop modelling and site visits to establish the percentage of shade cover and the amount of direct UVR blocked in shaded areas. ArcGIS Pro was used to conduct spatial analysis informing park selection regarding park location, accessibility, and the presence of play equipment to refine the sample size. Desktop analysis using Vectorworks was undertaken to establish the quantity of shade cover in park activity zones, with site visits also conducted for each park to determine the quality of shade cover in park activity zones. Results: Many parks audited had inadequate shade cover to reduce UVR over-exposure risk. Only one park audited had built shade present and there was limited succession planting for shade noted during site visits. There were correlations noted between park size and shade cover, with smaller parks typically having more shade cover in playground areas. Furthermore, there were some significances observed between SES parks, and by park category. Shade quality was found to be related to the size of canopy cover. However, the quality of shade did not vary significantly between parks, or between SES areas. Conclusions: There is limited shade provision in Christchurch parks, that is, primarily, irrespective of SES status. This is cause for concern in relation to skin cancer prevention and ensuring healthy park environments for the public. The provision of shade in park settings should be prioritised and focus on areas within a park that attract the most use, such as playgrounds. Implications: Shade provision needs to be a primary objective for the future design and upgrade of parks and playgrounds in Christchurch. The issue of shade provision also needs to be considered at the planning and policy levels to help implement these improvements.
Source DOI
Creative Commons Rights
Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International
Access Rights