Park Planning for Ageing Adults Using Grounded Theory Methodology

  • Bernie Dahl
  • Ken Jacobs

Abstract

The importance of understanding park planning issues and implementing planning strategies for ageing adults was the driving force for this study. Literature reviews have identified a variety of scholarly work from fields such as gerontology, psychology, sociology and economics, all of which provide valuable information regarding the special needs of ageing adults. Very few researchers, however, have investigated the leisure behaviours of older adults in outdoor recreation (Croskeys, Tinsley and Tinsley, 2002) and the use of grounded theory methodology has essentially been unexplored in this area. Ageing adults are projected to live more than 20 percent of their life in retirement (MRP, 1998, cited in Croskeys, Tinsley and Tinsley, 2002), allowing for an increased amount of discretionary time. This offers opportunities for ageing adults to participate in outdoor recreational activities and will undoubtedly increase their leisure time. However, with limited research in recreational needs and inclusion for older adults, it is difficult for park planners and administrators to meet the growing needs of this population. Therefore, this research is necessary in order to determine whether ageing adults are being accounted for in park and outdoor recreational planning. The objective of this study was to use grounded theory research methodology to identify and examine ageing adult needs in relation to outdoor leisure activities in a regional park setting. Ten Midwestern regional park visitors (aged 65-75 years old) and four park employees were interviewed. Our research attempts to fill in the gaps between the perceptions of ageing park users and those of park planners, using a methodology that relies primarily on direct contact with park visitors.
Published
2004-06-01
Section
Peer reviewed papers featured in roundtable sessions