Perceptions and patterns of use of blue spaces in selected European cities: Tartu, Tallinn, Barcelona, Warsaw and Plymouth

Anna Wilczyńska*, Gloria Niin, Peeter Vassiljev, Izabela Myszka, Simon Bell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Urban blue infrastructure is an important component of the urban landscape for ecological, economic, social, and cultural reasons. However, there is a clear research gap in relation to preferences and patterns of use in the context of different blue spaces, considering the citywide context and different cultural and geographical settings. Additionally, when compared to green spaces, the location and morphology of urban blue elements are usually geographically predefined, and it is much less possible to ensure their equitable distribution with respect to population. To fill this gap, we decided to explore the effect of distance from residential areas, the role of water, the level of facilities, and the character of blue spaces in attracting visitors of different demographic characteristics in a sample of different European cities. We used a public participatory geographic information system approach (PPGIS) to collect data about residents’ favourite blue spaces in each city and categorize the most popular of these according to whether they were close to or distant from respondents’ homes. We also categorized the types of blue spaces and the level of facilities present. The results show that certain key blue spaces, such as the seaside or beaches, attract more distant visitors and that the pattern of the blue spaces within the city also affects visitation. There are many differences among the studied cities due to the morphology determined by geography. The usage of blue spaces is very site-specific and should be studied in more detail at the city and place levels, focusing on the different roles of everyday and destination places
Original languageEnglish
Article number7392
Pages (from-to)1-30
Number of pages30
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • blue spaces
  • perceptions
  • patterns of use


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