Escaping to and being active in neighbourhood parks: Park use in a post-disaster setting

Ariane L. Rung, Stephanie T. Broyles, Andrew J. Mowen, Jeanette Gustat, Melinda S. Sothern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Neighbourhood parks may serve as a coping resource in post-disaster communities, yet little is known about the impact of large-scale disasters on park use. The objective of this study is to explore the impact of Hurricane Katrina (August 2005) on park use by visitors from flooded areas of New Orleans, Louisiana, compared to visitors from non-flooded areas. In 2006 and 2007, following Hurricane Katrina, 201 adults who visited 27 New Orleans parks were interviewed. Visitors from flooded neighbourhoods used their parks less often and were less likely to engage in animal interaction than visitors from non-flooded neighbourhoods. They placed more importance on escape and physically-active motivations than visitors from non-flooded areas. Social reasons were also more important to visitors from flooded areas, but these differences disappeared after adjusting for race. Neighbourhood parks are a community asset that may play a role in the post-disaster recovery process by providing opportunities for escape and physical activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)383-403
Number of pages21
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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