Accessibility of green spaces in the conditions of a compact city: case study of Kyiv

Keywords: urban green space, compact city, daily rest, buffer approach, assessment of pedestrian urban green space accessibility


Purpose. The goal of the study is to develop an algorithm for assessing urban green space (UGS) accessibility in conditions of a compact city with high-density development by the example of Kyiv.

Methodology. The research technique provides for spatial and quantitative analysis of UGS distribution within city limits by using OpenStreetMap, Google Map geospatial data and the QGIS software. The pedestrian accessibility to greenery is determined as the distance walked from the residential building to the nearest green space. If the average speed of walking of all age groups is taken to be 3 km/hr, then 10 minutes are needed to cover a distance of 500 m, and 20 minutes, for 1,000 m. To account for curved paths and obstacles (buildings, fences, motorways), UGS were surrounded with buffer areas 300 m and 700 m wide. This equals the walking distances of 500 and 1,000 m respectively.

Results. We plotted on the map all available UGS within Kyiv limits, determined their total area and found a very uneven spatial UGS distribution in different city districts. Then we found the average provision of each Kyiv resident with greenery of all kinds, including not only parks, mini parks, and urban forests, but also cemeteries, flowerbeds and grass lawns, separate street bushes and trees, and roadside hedgerows.

Based on the data of the number of buildings and the population density within Kyiv’s residential development area, we calculated the actual provision of Kyiv residents with UGS of all kinds, and with greenery suitable for daily recreation. In so doing, we found that the provision of UGS, where short-term recreation is possible, is significantly smaller in area per head of population as compared to an identical indicator calculated for greenery of all kinds. This is confirmed by the built map charts.

Using the buffer approach, we determined the shortest distances to be covered to reach a UGS nearest to a residential building. Independently, we measured pedestrian accessibility to any green cover in Kyiv and UGS accessibility for public use, which are suitable for daily recreation in different Kyiv micro districts. The findings yielded a significant difference in these indicators.

According to the calculations of UGS accessibility of all kinds, Kyiv really looks like a “green” city where almost in all the developed territories the distance to the nearest UGS is within 1,000 m. However, an assessment of the accessibility to greenery suitable for short-term daily recreation is indicative of a deficiency of UGS in at least eleven residential complexes in the city. All the locations with different UGS accessibility are also plotted on relevant map charts.

Scientific novelty. The study has shown that only 45.4% of Kyiv residents are provided with high pedestrian accessibility within a distance of 500 m to UGS for daily recreation. The residents of different age and social groups who, within a 1-km radius, have no access at all to any recreation site make up 15.5% of Kyiv residents. Substantial disproportions in UGS accessibility were also found in different administrative districts and residential complexes. This is indicative that the management of the entire city’s green infrastructure is not perfect.

Practical importance. The algorithm for assessing green space accessibility that was developed and tested for Kyiv can be used for any compact city. This will help city planners to identify accurately the micro districts and other locations requiring priority planting of greenery.


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Author Biographies

Petro Shyshchenko, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv

DSc (Geography), Professor

Olena Havrylenko, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv

PhD (Geography), Associate professor

Yevhen Tsyhanok, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv

PhD Student


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How to Cite
Shyshchenko, P., Havrylenko, O., & Tsyhanok, Y. (2021). Accessibility of green spaces in the conditions of a compact city: case study of Kyiv. Visnyk of V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University, Series "Geology. Geography. Ecology", (55), 245-256.