8 October I received the last data export for the Mijn Park app from my colleagues in Vienna. You might ask why all the way from Vienna? That is because my project and my PhD research is part of the European research project ‘LandSense’.  This project is about involving citizens in carrying out science about changes in land use. In France they are asking hikers to update topographical maps digitally with an app. In Spain they are developing an app whereby volunteers can report and map threats to birds. My research is about how people use and experience urban green spaces and how that knowledge can help in improving green green spaces or in developing new green spaces.

Results?
Perhaps you are also wondering why you haven’t seen the final results yet? If you are one of the 156 people who filled in the Mijn Park app before the 8th of September, I am now still busy with analyzing your answers (anonymously of course!). Together with those from the 146 people I interviewed in the park. I am looking at what people did or didn’t want to see change and how satisfied they are with different aspects of the park. I have had a lot of contact with the Gemeente about the first clear results. With those the Gemeente organized an ‘in-depth’ session about the Rembrandtpark.

But there is so much information gathered with the app and the interviews, I am still busy. I will relay my findings to the Gemeente and I actually also want to follow what they will do with them – that is also part of my research: which information can inform good decision-making regarding urban green spaces and how. I will also soon publish some final results on the website – stay tuned!

Further, an important aspect of my research is to look at how the answers in the app differ from those given during the interviews in the park. For example my favourite question about more horeca or not. I find this question very interesting because people are so divided about it – in the app it’s almost a 50-50 issue. It is also super interesting because the answers from the interviews give a whole other  story with >60% against more horeca in the park. But why this difference? Is it because the people I asked in the park were older? Doesn’t look like it. Maybe because they seemed to visit the park more often? Also not. Why then – that’s what I am still busy with! But I do think that if I can understand differences like this that I can also better understand how different people use the park, and thereby also how such knowledge can be passed on to those who decide how, and where, green spaces are developed.

Grote Groen Onderzoek

The Gemeente also has her own research about the parks in Amsterdam – the Great Green Research (het Grote Groen Onderzoek), and that is being carried out again this year. I contrast to previous research you can take park – also a sort of citizen science J  – see the link here (only in dutch ?).

How does Mijn Park differ with the Great Green Research? Well, I want to know what people think of certain locations within green spaces – and preferably asked while they are physically on location – how they experience it and why. I think that you can then say much more about the quality of a green space, good, bad, relaxing, lively etc. Having said that, my research does complement the Great Green Research very well. While they bring the larger scale use of parks in whole of Amsterdam into the picture, my research in the Rembrandtpark was done very locally on specific locations and in only one park.

In addition my research is also really focused on experience of green spaces and how a city can ensure that green spaces are attractive, accessible and functional for everyone. And I hope to delve further into that next year in my follow-up research. And for that I need your help – only I don’t know what I want to do yet exactly and what shape it will take – and I don’t want to make any false promises… you will get more information as soon as possible, so stay tuned!

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