Open public spaces and physical activity facilities: study of systematic observation of the environment

Espaços públicos de lazer e estruturas para atividade física: estudo de observação sistemática do ambiente

Sofia Wolker Manta Adalberto Aparecido dos Santos Lopes Adriano Akira Ferreira Hino Tânia Rosane Bertoldo Benedetti Cassiano Ricardo Rech About the authors

Abstract

The aim of this study was to investigate the quantity and quality of open public spaces (OPS) and physical activity (PA) facilities in Florianopolis, Santa Catarina. A descriptive survey was carried out in 2015 on the quantity, type and quality of OPS and PA facilities. The quality of OPS and PA facilities were assessed by systematic observation. A quality index of OPS (score -3 to 6 points) was divided into three categories, poor (category ≤0), average (0.1 to 2.9) and good quality (category ≥3). For analysis, descriptive statistics were used. Of the 214 OPS, the highest proportion was squares/gardens (n = 128, 59.8%). Of the 214 OPS, 59.8% were squares/gardens. About 51.9% (n = 111) of OPS had good quality. A higher proportion of comfort items obtained good quality, such as lighting (54.7%), trash cans (45.8%) and garden benches (55.1%). In more than 60.0% of OPS, there were no incivilities. Of the 377 PA facilities identified, 53.6% presented good quality and 13.8% poor quality. Playgrounds (29.4%), outdoor gyms (15.9%) and soccer fields/courts (14.9%) were more frequent, only the latter less than half had good quality (28,6%). There were no PA facilities in 29.0% of OPS. A higher proportion of OPSs have good quality, but less than half require improvement, comfort, less incivility and greater diversity of PA facilities. This may promote greater visits to OPS and leisure opportunities, including the practice of PA.

Key words
Healthy environment; Leisure activities; Motor activity

Resumo

Objetivou-se analisar a quantidade e a qualidade dos espaços públicos de lazer e estruturas para atividades físicas em Florianópolis, Santa Catarina. Realizou-se, no ano de 2015, um levantamento descritivo da quantidade, tipo e qualidade dos espaços públicos de lazer (EPL) e estruturas para atividade física (AF). A qualidade dos EPL e estruturas para AF foi avaliada por meio de observação sistemática. Um índice de qualidade dos EPL (escore -3 a 6 pontos) foi categorizado em três níveis, qualidade ruim (categoria ≤0), média (0,1 a 2,9) e boa (categoria ≥3). Para análise fez-se uso da estatística descritiva. Dos 214 EPL, maior proporção foi de praças/jardins (n=128; 59,8%). Em 51,9% (n=111) dos EPL tinham qualidade boa. Maior proporção de itens de conforto obteve qualidade boa como iluminação (54,7%), lixeiras (45,8%) e bancos (55,1%). Em mais de 60,0% dos EPL inexistiam incivilidades. Das 377 estruturas para AF identificadas, 53,6% apresentaram qualidade boa e 13,8% qualidade ruim. Os parquinhos infantis (29,4%), academias ao ar livre (15,9%) e campos/canchas de futebol (14,9%) foram mais frequentes, apenas este último menos da metade apresentou qualidade boa (28,6%). Em 29,0% dos EPL inexistiam estruturas para AF. Maior proporção dos EPL tem boa qualidade, mas ainda menos da metade necessitam de melhorias, em conforto, menores incivilidades e maior diversidade de estruturas para AF. Isso poderá promover maior visitação aos EPL e oportunidade de lazer, incluindo a prática de AF.

Palavras-chave
Atividades de lazer; Atividade motora; Ambiente saudável

INTRODUCTION

Open public spaces (OPS) are important attributes of the urban environment that favor health promotion11 VanCauwenberg J, Cerin E, Timperio A, Salmon J, Deforche B, Veitch J. Park proximity, quality and recreational physical activity among mid-older aged adults: moderating effects of individual factors and area of residence. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 2015;12(46):1-8.,22 Sallis JF, Cerin E, Conway TL, Adams MA, Frank LD, Pratt M, et al. Physical activity in relation to urban environments in 14 cities worldwide: a cross-sectional study. Lancet 2016;387(10034):2207-17.. These spaces favor free access and promote benefits for mental health, environmental and economic sustainability33 Sallis JF, Spoon C, Cavill N, Engelberg JK, Gebel K, Parker M, et al. Co-benefits of designing communities for active living: an exploration of literature. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 2015; 12(30):1-10.. Studies in high-income countries demonstrate that the presence and quality of OPS11 VanCauwenberg J, Cerin E, Timperio A, Salmon J, Deforche B, Veitch J. Park proximity, quality and recreational physical activity among mid-older aged adults: moderating effects of individual factors and area of residence. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 2015;12(46):1-8.,44 Veitch J, Abbott G, Kaczynski AT, Wilhelm Stanis SA, Besenyi GM, Lamb KE. Park availability and physical activity, TV time, and overweight and obesity among women: Findings from Australia and the United States. Health Place 2016;38:96-102. and structures for activities in these spaces can promote higher level of physical activity in different population groups55 Lee RE, Mama SK, Adamus-Leach HJ, Soltero EG. Contribution of neighborhood income and access to quality physical activity resources to physical activity in ethnic minority women over time. Am J Health Promot 2015;29(4):210-6..

Thus, public policies could stimulate the adaptations of urban centers to stimulate the installation of environmental attributes, such as OPSs in order to contribute to the sustainable development of cities22 Sallis JF, Cerin E, Conway TL, Adams MA, Frank LD, Pratt M, et al. Physical activity in relation to urban environments in 14 cities worldwide: a cross-sectional study. Lancet 2016;387(10034):2207-17.. This is necessary since, in low- and middle-income countries, public health expenditures are high due to physical inactivity, representing approximately US$ 42.5 million in per year66 Ding D, Lawson KD, Kolbe-Alexander TL, Finkelstein EA, Katzmarzyk PT, vanMechelen W, et al. The economic burden of physical inactivity: a global analysis of major non-communicable diseases. Lancet 2016;388(10051):1311-24.. Analyzing the urban context of a city in its distribution of public goods and services intended for health promotion, such as parks, squares, allows us understanding how much a city is friendly to the population44 Veitch J, Abbott G, Kaczynski AT, Wilhelm Stanis SA, Besenyi GM, Lamb KE. Park availability and physical activity, TV time, and overweight and obesity among women: Findings from Australia and the United States. Health Place 2016;38:96-102.,77 Dyck DV, Sallis JF, Cardon G, Deforche B, Adams MA, Geremia C, et al. Associations of neighborhood characteristics with active park use: an observational study in two cities in the USA and Belgium. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 2013;12(26):1-9.. In the context of Brazil, this analysis may favor more vulnerable groups, such as those with low income and lower levels of education, to enjoy leisure options in an active and safe way88 Silva IJO, Alexandre MG, Ravagnani FCP, Silva JVP, Coelho-Ravagnani CF. Atividade física: espaços e condições ambientais para sua prática em uma capital brasileira. Rev Bras Cienc Mov 2014;22(3):53-62.,99 Silva I, Mielke G, Nunes B, Böhm A, Blanke A, Nachtigall M, et al. Espaços públicos de lazer: distribuição, qualidade e adequação à prática de atividade física. Rev Bras Ativ Fís Saúde 2015;20(1):82-92..

The city of Florianopolis is among the capitals of Brazil with the highest prevalence of people active in leisure time (43.9%), compared to São Paulo, with the lowest prevalence (30.4%)1010 Brasil. Vigitel Brasil 2014: vigilância de fatores de risco e proteção para doenças crônicas por inquérito telefônico estimativas sobre frequência e distribuição sociodemográfica de fatores de risco e proteção para doenças crônicas nas capitais dos 26 estados brasileiros e no Distrito Federal em 2014. Ministério da Saúde, Brasília, 2014.. The quantity and quality of OPS, as well as the presence of physical activity facilities in spaces can have an important impact on the health of the population, such as adherence, maintenance and motivation to healthy life choices1111 Salvo D, Sarmiento OL, Reis RS, Hino AA, Bolivar MA, Lemoine PD, et al. Where Latin Americans are physically active, and why does it matter? Findings from the IPENadult study in Bogota, Colombia; Cuernavaca, Mexico; and Curitiba, Brazil. Prev Med 2017;103S:S27-S33.. Therefore, investigating the characteristics of these spaces may support municipal and national public policies for the planning of health-promoting urban environments22 Sallis JF, Cerin E, Conway TL, Adams MA, Frank LD, Pratt M, et al. Physical activity in relation to urban environments in 14 cities worldwide: a cross-sectional study. Lancet 2016;387(10034):2207-17..

Thus, this study aims to investigate the quantity and quality of open public spaces and physical activity facilities in Florianopolis.

METHODOLOGICAL PROCEDURES

Study site

The study was carried out in the city of Florianopolis, capital of the state of Santa Catarina, located on the coast of southern Brazil. Florianopolis has population of 421,240 thousand inhabitants, population density of 623.68 inhabitants/km2 and human development index above the national average (0.847 in Florianopolis and 0.727 in Brazil)1010 Brasil. Vigitel Brasil 2014: vigilância de fatores de risco e proteção para doenças crônicas por inquérito telefônico estimativas sobre frequência e distribuição sociodemográfica de fatores de risco e proteção para doenças crônicas nas capitais dos 26 estados brasileiros e no Distrito Federal em 2014. Ministério da Saúde, Brasília, 2014..

Design, study characteristics and ethical aspects

A descriptive observational cross-sectional study of existing OPS was carried out between August 2015 and January 2016. The ethical procedures were approved by the Ethics Committee for Research with Humans of the Federal University of Santa Catarina (protocol No. 47789015.8. 0000.012) and Coordination of Research of the Health area of Florianopolis.

Selection of open public spaces

Initially, OPSs were identified from information available at the Municipal Health Secretariat of Florianopolis based on the 2012 database. In order to update data, an interview with community health agents in health centers was conducted to identify spaces not included in the lists. Finally, OPSs were geo-referenced in the Google Earth program and visited by a team of trained evaluators. The types of OPSs were classified into squares/gardens (≤2 street blocks), parks/woods (≥2 street blocks), garden beds (central streets and avenues), community institutions and/or residents’ association (containing open areas of free access to the population) and free areas, composed of seaside coastal regions.

Data collection

The presence and quality of OPSs and physical activity facilities were obtained through the method of systematic observation of the environment, through the Physical Activity Resource Assessment (PARA) instrument1212 Lee RE, Booth KM, Reese-Smith JY, Regan G, Howard HH. The Physical Activity Resource Assessment (PARA) instrument: evaluating features, amenities and incivilities es in urban neighborhoods. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 2005;2(13):1-9., also used in the Brazilian context99 Silva I, Mielke G, Nunes B, Böhm A, Blanke A, Nachtigall M, et al. Espaços públicos de lazer: distribuição, qualidade e adequação à prática de atividade física. Rev Bras Ativ Fís Saúde 2015;20(1):82-92.,1313 Vieira MC, Sperandei S, Reis AC, daSilva CGT. An analysis of the suitability of public spaces to physical activity practice in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Prev Med 2013; 57(3):198-200.. The instrument is composed of a checklist that evaluates the presence/quantity of physical activity facilities (courts and sports fields, outdoor gym, playgrounds, among others); comfort items (picnic tables, bathrooms, benches, lighting, drinkers, changing rooms and trash cans); and incivility items (broken glass, presence of animals, loose dogs, evidence of alcohol use, graffiti, scattered garbage, signs of vandalism and high grass). The quality of these items is established by a likert scale, ranging from 0 (negative pole) to 3 points (positive pole), thus: a) ‘0’ represents the absence of structures; b) ‘1’ presence of structures with poor quality (established for present items or structures, but that do not offer conditions of use due to poor state of conservation); c) ‘2’ presence of structure with average quality (considered when the structure can be used, but needs improvement); and d) ‘3’ presence of structures with good quality (those that have their characteristics preserved in good state of conservation). For the presence of incivility items, the likert scale is inverted, where ‘0’ refers to the non-existence of incivilities; ‘1’ the place is in good condition, but at least one sign of incivility is observed; ‘2’ 2 to 4 incivility items are present and, ‘3’ more than 5 incivility items are observed, revealing poor quality1212 Lee RE, Booth KM, Reese-Smith JY, Regan G, Howard HH. The Physical Activity Resource Assessment (PARA) instrument: evaluating features, amenities and incivilities es in urban neighborhoods. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 2005;2(13):1-9..

The number of OPS was counted according to classification of the space evaluated. For the quality analysis, a quality index of OPS was computed through the sum of the quality averages of physical activity facilities, the average quality of comfort structures, subtracted from the mean value of the presence of incivilities55 Lee RE, Mama SK, Adamus-Leach HJ, Soltero EG. Contribution of neighborhood income and access to quality physical activity resources to physical activity in ethnic minority women over time. Am J Health Promot 2015;29(4):210-6.. This index varied from -3 to 6 points, with positive values indicating higher quality of OPS and below zero greater presence of incivilities. For the purposes of analysis, this quality index was composed of three categories, being poor quality (category ≤0), OPSs with higher incivilities, average quality (0.1 to 2.9) and values above the median (category ≥3) good quality. For comfort quality, facilities were evaluated according to the same likert scale, adopting values ‘0’ non-existent, ‘1’ poor quality, ‘2’ average quality and ‘3’ good quality. With regard to incivilities, for analysis only, the poles of the scale have been inverted and thus, the larger the scale value, the better the quality of the space.

The analysis of the presence/amount of physical activity facilities was calculated as the sum of the types of structures present in OPS. According to the description of the structure quality, the instrument’s own likert scale was adopted, being ‘1’ poor quality, ‘2’ average quality and ‘3’ good quality. After that, the presence of physical activity facilities by type of public space was analyzed, being distributed into four categories: “nonexistent”, “presence of one facilities”, “two facilities”, “three facilities” and “≥4 facilities”.

Statistical analyses

Data were entered in the Excel software by the double typing method to avoid errors in the process. Absolute and relative frequency distribution was used to describe the presence of OPS and physical activity facilities; quality of OPS (categories) and physical activity facilities (categories); comfort structures and incivilities, as well as measures such as mean, median, minimum and maximum for the presentation of OPS quality as a continuous variable. Analyses were performed by the SPSS software version 17.0.

RESULTS

A total of 374 OPSs were identified, and sites such as ecological trails (n = 16, 4.3%), non-habitable garden beds (used for pedestrian crossing only) (n = 45, 12%), (N = 2, 0.5%), those located in risk areas (n = 5, 1.3%), in private places (n = 20, 5.3%) and duplicate spaces (n = 14, 3.7%) were excluded. Thus, 153 spaces were excluded (40.9%), remaining 221 located via Google Earth and 22 included during visits. Of these, 243 public spaces, 29 (11.9%) had to be excluded from the final analysis because they were exclusively from stretches of cycle paths, resulting in 214 OPSs evaluated.

Among OPSs evaluated, higher presence of squares/gardens (n = 128, 59.8%), free areas (n = 47, 22%) and only nine parks/woods (n = 9, 4.2%) (Table 1). The quality index of OPSs ranged from -2 to 6 and only squares / gardens obtained negative scores. The mean space quality was 2.7 (median [md] = 3.0), being higher among parks / woods (mean [μ] = 3.8, md = 4.1). Higher proportion garden beds presented average quality (n = 5, 55.6%) and the other types of OPS showed good quality (Table 1).

Table 1
Description of the presence / quantity and quality of open public spaces in Florianópolis, 2015 (n = 214).

Regarding the presence of comfort items, more than 80.0% of OPSs had bathrooms (83.2%), changing rooms (95.8%) and drinkers (98.1%), but only drinkers had higher proportion in good quality (4.2%). Lighting (54.7%), trash cans (45.8%) and benches (55.1%) were present in a higher proportion with good quality (Table 2). In addition, scattered garbage was non-existent in only 32.7% of OPSs, representing an incivility item with poor quality (26.2%) (Table 2).

Table 2
Frequency and quality of comfort and incivility items observed in open public spaces of Florianopolis, 2015 (n = 214).

In OPSs, 377 physical activity facilities were identified. In general, a higher proportion of facilities had good quality (53.6%), followed by average quality (32.6%) and poor quality (13.8%) (Figure 1). The most frequent facilities were children’s playgrounds (29.4%, n = 111), outdoor gyms (15.9%, n = 60) and soccer fields/courts (14.9%, n = 56), in the latter, less than half had good quality (14.9%). basketball (33.3%), soccer (25.0%) and handball (23.1%) courts had higher proportion of poor quality facilities (Figure 1).

Figure 1
Proportion of the quality of physical activity facilities present in open public spaces of Florianopolis, 2015 (n = 377).

Higher proportion of OPSs showed the presence of only one physical activity facility (36.9%) and in 29.0%, they were non-existent. High proportion of squares/gardens (34.4%) and garden beds (55.6%) did not contain physical activity facilities, while in parks/woods, 44.4% contained four or more facilities (Figure 2).

Figure 2
Proportion of structures for physical activities present in open public spaces of Florianopolis, 2015 (n = 377).

DISCUSSION

The data of the present study are pioneer in the context of Florianopolis. The highest proportion of OPSs is composed of squares/gardens (59.8%). More than 50% of spaces presented good quality, but 48.1% need improvements in comfort and less presence of incivilities, such as high grass, scattered litter and graffiti. In addition, the options of physical activities facilities in OPS are reduced, being more frequent the presence of playgrounds, outdoor gyms and soccer fields/courts. The latter, for the most part, did not show good conditions of use. In general, greater proportion of OPS contain only one physical activity facility, which denotes the need for greater public and private investments to broaden and diversify the options for active leisure to the population.

Evidence shows that public leisure spaces in urban centers are important, since they are associated with greater practice of physical activities22 Sallis JF, Cerin E, Conway TL, Adams MA, Frank LD, Pratt M, et al. Physical activity in relation to urban environments in 14 cities worldwide: a cross-sectional study. Lancet 2016;387(10034):2207-17.,1414 Bancroft C, Joshi S, Rundle A, Hutson M, Chong C, Weiss CC, et al. Association of proximity and density of parks and objectively measured physical activity in the United States: A systematic review. Soc Sci Med 2015;138:22-30.. In Florianopolis, the amount of OPS is reduced compared to other cities in Brazil, but more than half (51.9 %) are in good conditions of use, unlike other regions of the country such as Parintis/AM1515 Radicchi M, Santos J, Carneiro D, Reis Júnior M, Anselmo J. Descrição dos espaços esportivos de lazer e educação na cidade de Parintins, Amazonas. Rev Bras Ativ Fís Saúde 2016;20(6):626-637., Cuiaba/MT88 Silva IJO, Alexandre MG, Ravagnani FCP, Silva JVP, Coelho-Ravagnani CF. Atividade física: espaços e condições ambientais para sua prática em uma capital brasileira. Rev Bras Cienc Mov 2014;22(3):53-62. and Pelotas/RS99 Silva I, Mielke G, Nunes B, Böhm A, Blanke A, Nachtigall M, et al. Espaços públicos de lazer: distribuição, qualidade e adequação à prática de atividade física. Rev Bras Ativ Fís Saúde 2015;20(1):82-92.. Possibly, the greater proportion of OPS with good quality in Florianopolis may be due to the adoption of squares and parks by private companies that are jointly responsible for their maintenance, in exchange for the disclosure of their brands. This can be an interesting strategy to improve the quality of spaces and encourage active leisure11 VanCauwenberg J, Cerin E, Timperio A, Salmon J, Deforche B, Veitch J. Park proximity, quality and recreational physical activity among mid-older aged adults: moderating effects of individual factors and area of residence. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 2015;12(46):1-8.,55 Lee RE, Mama SK, Adamus-Leach HJ, Soltero EG. Contribution of neighborhood income and access to quality physical activity resources to physical activity in ethnic minority women over time. Am J Health Promot 2015;29(4):210-6. In addition, adjusting the quality of existing spaces can contribute not only to the city sustainability but also the equity of access to the local population for health promotion99 Silva I, Mielke G, Nunes B, Böhm A, Blanke A, Nachtigall M, et al. Espaços públicos de lazer: distribuição, qualidade e adequação à prática de atividade física. Rev Bras Ativ Fís Saúde 2015;20(1):82-92..

About 48.2% of surveyed OPSs still need better adaptations, especially in the reduction of incivilities, such as scattered garbage, high grass and graffiti, as they make spaces more vulnerable to crime, as observed in the city of Curitiba1616 Reis RS, Hino AA, Rodriguez-Añez CR, Fermino RC, Gonçalves PB, et al. Neighborhood safety and physical inactivity in adults from Curitiba, Brazil. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 2012;9(72):1-7.. Comfort items such as good lighting were present in more than 54.7% of public spaces of Florianopolis, which in addition to improving the perception of safety by users, can contribute to the engagement in physical activities throughout the day1616 Reis RS, Hino AA, Rodriguez-Añez CR, Fermino RC, Gonçalves PB, et al. Neighborhood safety and physical inactivity in adults from Curitiba, Brazil. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 2012;9(72):1-7.,1717 Arango CM, Páez DC, Reis RS, Brownson RC, Parra DC. Association between the perceived environment and physical activity among adults in Latin America: a systematic review. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 2013;10(122):1-9.. The presence of trash cans (45.8%), benches (55.1%) and picnic tables (29.0%) with good quality in the spaces evaluated also serve to support moments of rest, socialization and contemplation1818 Cohen DA, Han B, Derose KP, Williamson S, Marsh T, Raaen L, et al. The paradox of parks in low-income areas: park use and perceived threats. Environ Behav 2016;48(1):230-45.. Evidence shows that each new comfort attribute perceived in parks increases by three times the probability of being highly used1919 Edwards N, Hooper P, Knuiman M, Foster S, Giles-Corti B. Associations between park features and adolescent park use for physical activity. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 2015; 12(21):2-10.. Thus, the maintenance, aesthetics and good quality of OPS may explain, in part, why some places are more frequented than others1111 Salvo D, Sarmiento OL, Reis RS, Hino AA, Bolivar MA, Lemoine PD, et al. Where Latin Americans are physically active, and why does it matter? Findings from the IPENadult study in Bogota, Colombia; Cuernavaca, Mexico; and Curitiba, Brazil. Prev Med 2017;103S:S27-S33.,1919 Edwards N, Hooper P, Knuiman M, Foster S, Giles-Corti B. Associations between park features and adolescent park use for physical activity. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 2015; 12(21):2-10..

Leisure physical activity facilities are also important factors for the frequent use of public spaces2020 Cohen DA, Sehgal A, Williamson S, Marsh T, Golinelli D, McKenzie TL. New recreational facilities for the young and the old in Los Angeles: policy and programming implications. J Public Health Policy 2009;30(1):248-63.. In 29% of spaces evaluated in Florianopolis, there were no structures for the practice of physical activity. Consequently, these spaces are more used for less active activities, such as rest and/or contemplation1818 Cohen DA, Han B, Derose KP, Williamson S, Marsh T, Raaen L, et al. The paradox of parks in low-income areas: park use and perceived threats. Environ Behav 2016;48(1):230-45.. In general, facilities such as playgrounds, outdoor gyms and soccer fields/courts were more frequent, only the latter with less than half in good conditions of use. However, the type of facilities present for physical activity in an OPS may favor some age groups of the population to the detriment of others2020 Cohen DA, Sehgal A, Williamson S, Marsh T, Golinelli D, McKenzie TL. New recreational facilities for the young and the old in Los Angeles: policy and programming implications. J Public Health Policy 2009;30(1):248-63.. For example, children’s playgrounds are more frequented by children and adolescents2121 Oreskovic NM, Perrin JM, Robinson AI, Locascio JJ, Blossom J, Chen ML, et al. Adolescents’ use of the built environment for physical activity. BMC Public Health 2015;15(1):1-9., while outdoor gyms favor the use by adults and older adults2222 Iepsen AM, Silva MCd. Perfil dos frequentadores das academias ao ar livre da cidade de Pelotas -RS. Rev Bras Ativ Fís Saúde 2015;20(4):413-424.. Hiking trails, although little present in the evaluated public spaces, stimulate greater engagement in walking activities, regardless of socioeconomic conditions of cities2323 Cerin E, Cain KL, Conway TL, Van Dyck D, Hinckson E, Schipperijn J, et al. Neighborhood environments and objectively measured physical activity in 11 countries. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2014;46(12):2253-2264.. Thus, soil occupation in Florianopolis, although reduced, due to its geographic characteristics (insular and continental portion) may be more attractive if OPSs had greater diversity of physical activity facilities. In addition to serving to the different age groups, they may also favor the active leisure choices of residents2424 Macedo J, Haddad MA. Equitable distribution of open space: Using spatial analysis to evaluate urban parks in Curitiba, Brazil. Environ Plan 2015;43(6):1096-117..

It could be observed that parks/woods were OPSs that obtained more than four physical activity facilities (44.4%). Possibly these spaces may be the greatest potentiates of engagement in physical activities, due to their larger area in square meters, and to the greater amount of sport-recreational events by the greater number of physical activity facilities present in these spaces1919 Edwards N, Hooper P, Knuiman M, Foster S, Giles-Corti B. Associations between park features and adolescent park use for physical activity. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 2015; 12(21):2-10.

20 Cohen DA, Sehgal A, Williamson S, Marsh T, Golinelli D, McKenzie TL. New recreational facilities for the young and the old in Los Angeles: policy and programming implications. J Public Health Policy 2009;30(1):248-63.
-2121 Oreskovic NM, Perrin JM, Robinson AI, Locascio JJ, Blossom J, Chen ML, et al. Adolescents’ use of the built environment for physical activity. BMC Public Health 2015;15(1):1-9., as observed in other studies2424 Macedo J, Haddad MA. Equitable distribution of open space: Using spatial analysis to evaluate urban parks in Curitiba, Brazil. Environ Plan 2015;43(6):1096-117.,2525 Kaczynski AT, Besenyi GM, Stanis SA, Koohsari MJ, Oestman KB, Bergstrom R, et al. Are park proximity and park features related to park use and park-based physical activity among adults? Variations by multiple socio-demographic characteristics. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 2014; 11(146):1-14.. Evidence shows that the frequency of use of a OPS can be justified by the types of physical activities offered2020 Cohen DA, Sehgal A, Williamson S, Marsh T, Golinelli D, McKenzie TL. New recreational facilities for the young and the old in Los Angeles: policy and programming implications. J Public Health Policy 2009;30(1):248-63.,2121 Oreskovic NM, Perrin JM, Robinson AI, Locascio JJ, Blossom J, Chen ML, et al. Adolescents’ use of the built environment for physical activity. BMC Public Health 2015;15(1):1-9.. Therefore, garden beds, community institutions, free areas and squares/gardens can enhance the use of spaces if they are attractive to a greater diversity of interests of the population1919 Edwards N, Hooper P, Knuiman M, Foster S, Giles-Corti B. Associations between park features and adolescent park use for physical activity. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 2015; 12(21):2-10.. This not only contributes to the adoption and maintenance of the recommended levels of physical activities, but also in the health co-benefits33 Sallis JF, Spoon C, Cavill N, Engelberg JK, Gebel K, Parker M, et al. Co-benefits of designing communities for active living: an exploration of literature. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 2015; 12(30):1-10..

The present study presents strengths, as it evaluates the quantity and quality of OPS and physical activity facilities in all regions of the city using an internationally recognized instrument, validated and adapted to the Brazilian context. The findings contribute to reduce the lack of results in the area about the characteristics of OPS for health promotion in Latin American regions, enabling future actions and strategies to be made to make cities friendlier to healthy practices, thus allowing the proximity of data.

However, some limitations to the analysis of findings should be considered. The identification of the types of public spaces present is characteristic of the city; therefore, they could not be generalizable to other contexts. Public spaces such as beaches and ecological trails, despite the large amount in the city, positively contributing to the practice of physical activity, were not investigated because they were considered natural environments, which evaluation would be impossible with the instrument used. Potential sites to be evaluated were previously identified through a listing provided by community health agents, in addition to visits by researchers to verify and confirm sites not included in the listing. However, places that may not have been identified in one of these possibilities may not have been evaluated.

Finally, it was identified that more than half of OPSs of Florianopolis are squares/gardens, followed by free areas. Overall, a higher proportion presented good quality, but 48.2% required improvements in comfort, incivilities and greater diversity of physical activity facilities. There are frequent structures for physical activities such as playgrounds, outdoor gyms and soccer fields/courts, but only the latter with less quantity in good quality. However, almost one-third of OPSs did not have physical activity facilities, possibly because they are used for less active activities. These data may contribute to stimulate future studies in the understanding of the patterns of use of OPSin different cities, profile of users and frequency of use, also assisting managers, urban planners and health professionals in the implementation of programs and events to encourage the creation, maintenance and adaptation of open public spaces, as a way to encourage the population to have healthier habits by using these spaces for practicing physical activities.

Funding

  • CNPQ for the award of Masters scholarship. Financing of the project by FAPESC / PPSUS / n.2014TR2263.

Ethical approval

  • Ethical approval was obtained from the local Human Research Ethics Committee - Federal University of Santa Catarina (No. 47789015.8.0000.012) and Research Coordination of the Health area of Florianopolis, and the protocol was written in accordance with the standards set by the Declaration of Helsinki.

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Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    Sep-Oct 2018

History

  • Received
    21 Aug 2017
  • Accepted
    10 May 2018
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