A study is underway in urban parks in regional NSW to find out what older Australians value about recreational spaces and where they would like to see improvements.
Researchers from CSU's Institute for Land, Water and Society have this month begun collecting information through focus groups and observations in urban parks.
Research leader Dr Rachel Whitsed said, "We are talking to older Australians in the local Albury region. We are finding research participants through community centres and other avenues such as aged care services. We will also be launching a 'Have a Say' survey through AlburyCity Council, to find out what people, particularly those over 65, value about parks.
"What we are trying to find out in the year-long project is why older Australians use certain parks and how they can be improved to make them more attractive and accessible."<
"We will then do spatial modelling combining data on parks, amenities, demographics, travel networks and indicators of attractiveness, to develop scenarios for current and future parks.
"A prototype of a spatial tool will be developed in conjunction with AlburyCity and piloted in Albury.
"We hope this spatial tool will then be rolled out to other local councils to help local government plan more strategically, and improve the development of new and existing parks."
The research team crosses academic disciplines and includes spatial scientist Dr Whitsed, social scientist Associate Professor Rosemary Black and gerontologist Ms Robin Harvey.
The project has been endorsed by Parks and Leisure Australia - the peak industry body for professionals working in the parks and leisure sector in Australia.
The project is funded by Family and Community Services (FACS) under the NSW Government's Liveable Communities Grants.
Dr Whitsed, from the School of Environmental Sciences at CSU in Albury-Wodonga, said, "We want to ensure urban parks across the state meet the needs of the growing elderly population."
The School of Environmental Sciences offers undergraduate and postgraduate programs in environmental science and a management and applied science. This includes a Master of GIS and Remote Sensing.