Thesis

The matador mile: parks and open space

In the words of famed wanderer John Miur, "thousands of tired, nerve shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that... wilderness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life (Muir, 1909). Parks provide opportunities for the protection of natural resources, economic growth and development, the promotion of health benefits, outlets for civic and cultural infrastructure, and places for recreation. Open spaces within the San Fernando Valley (SFV) should be no exception. Given the ethnic, economic, and cultural diversity found within the SFV, it is important to identify how residents are being served by open space, what types are sufficiently represented, and which types are lacking; as well as how to better increase access and usage of these spaces. It is widely understood that humans derive benefits from natural ecosystems that go well beyond the physically tangible: namely, in the forms of aesthetic and recreational experiences, as well as positive social interactions. So too then, must there be a variety of open spaces tailored to the community around them, so that all of a community's needs can be met. This research identifies the types of open spaces present in the San Fernando Valley, determines the level of access residents have to these areas, and assesses the needs residents may have to improve San Fernando Valley open spaces.

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