Survey maps out Perth's park life

Yolanda Zaw
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Survey maps out Perth's park life

Jemima Reid, left, Kaela Andrijich and Geneveve Reid enjoy the open space in the park at the end of Royal Street in East Perth. Picture: Ian Munro/The West Australian

Every green space from tiny pocket parks to massive regional reserves has been mapped out in a comprehensive new survey of Perth's great outdoors.

In an Australian first, University of WA researchers have developed an interactive web-based tool to determine just how much green space there is in the metropolitan area.

Fiona Bull, director of UWA's Centre for Built Environment and Health, said the interactive database would help inform planning and development decisions to ensure Perth people have continued access to parks, reserves and other green areas.

"The tool can be used by the general public to look up their nearest parks or check if the park they intend to go to has facilities like toilets or barbecues," Professor Bull said.

"But more importantly it can be used by planners to ensure we preserve and optimise our green spaces.

"As lots become smaller, and we see more people moving into apartments and flats, the need for sufficient green space becomes more and more important."

Collecting data from 32 local government areas across Perth and Peel, the database found that the City of Stirling has the most park areas at 800ha.

Peppermint Grove, Perth's smallest council, had just 7ha.

In the City of Perth, where park areas account for 16 per cent of the total land, residents have the highest access to parks at 110sqm per person.

Cottesloe has the lowest park area per person at 9sqm.

The average local government had between 20 and 45sqm per person.

Professor Bull said proximity to parks was a pivotal factor in the mental and physical health of communities.

"People talk about parks being the lungs of the city, they are also the heart of a city - where people meet, interact and recreate," she said.

Paul Andrijich said his family visited a local park about twice a week.

"We don't really have a backyard so you need to get out to enjoy the trees, grass and fresh air," the Bayswater father of two said.

The database is available on www.postool.com.au .