Recreational benefits of residual open space: A case study of four communities in northeastern New Jersey

Teuvo M. Airola, David Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Numerous undeveloped and ecologically diverse tracts of land within urban communities in the United States are presently being utilized for a variety of unsupervised recreational activities. The present use and perceived value of residual open spaces adjacent to the Palisades to residents of four communities in northeastern New Jersey was assessed. The results of our survey suggest that parks and open space represent a city service that is not as highly valued as other more visible services, that respondents desire a diversity of recreational experiences, that existing parks and open space provide a narrow range of recreational benefits to users, that benefits of existing parks extend primarily to the provision of active pursuits, and that undeveloped residual open spaces are valued for and provide opportunities for a variety of passive pursuits. Residual open spaces are a resource that contributes towards meeting the aesthetic and recreational needs of city residents. Failure by planners and decision-makers to recognize the value and utility of such tracts of land may result in their destruction and in the loss of a resource which provides a range of recreational opportunities that is not adequately provided by formal parks and open spaces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)471-484
Number of pages14
JournalEnvironmental Management
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1982
Externally publishedYes


  • Recreation
  • Residual open space
  • Urban planning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology
  • Pollution


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