Central Florida has experienced sustained and substantial urban land expansion over the last half-century. In Florida, urban expansion intersects natural and human systems. Investigating the relationship between landscape conditions and urbanization processes in Central Florida, therefore, requires a critical assessment of local natural and human conditions through time. In this paper, we examine the relationship between urbanization and landscape patterns through the lens of urban public parks. As a vital component of landscapes, parks reveal patterns and processes that influence landscape ecology in urban settlements (TURNER 1989). To better understand the multiple influences of natural and human factors on park design and planning, this paper introduces the idea of a park suitability index (PSI), which is targeted at quantifying the form, function and distribution of parks as they compare to settlement patterns. Critically, the PSI combines multiple measures into a single comparative metric for informing land use planning and landscape design for urban parks. Using a sample of 12 Orlando parks and a subset of variables, we develop the framework for a methodology that defines key parameters of the PSI for use in urban design and planning. Specifically, we evaluate the influence of urbanization patterns on park resource availability and diversity. In addition, we examine community-level functions of parks by considering the form and distribution of parks as compared to settlement patterns. These analyses provide the baseline for developing a more generalizable PSI for use in landscape planning both in Florida and elsewhere.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Computer Science Applications
- Nature and Landscape Conservation
- Geography, Planning and Development