Scholarly article on topic 'Human Behaviour and Activities in Relation to Shah Alam Urban Park during Nighttime'

Human Behaviour and Activities in Relation to Shah Alam Urban Park during Nighttime Academic research paper on "Economics and business"

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Abstract of research paper on Economics and business, author of scientific article — Mohd Riduan Ngesan, Hafazah Abdul Karim, Syed Sobri Zubir

Abstract Public parks play a vital role in the social life of urban communities. The purpose of this paper is to show the social behaviour and activities of a community during nighttime in outdoor spaces exclusively in public urban park in Shah Alam. However, literature reviews regarding nighttime social behaviour and activities of urban community are limited. Improved understanding of relation between community activity and urban park setting could be used to influence the development of public park design, to create nighttime urban outdoor environments more conducive for community leisure activity.

Academic research paper on topic "Human Behaviour and Activities in Relation to Shah Alam Urban Park during Nighttime"

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Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 68 (2012) 427 - 438

AicE-Bs 2012 Cairo ASIA Pacific International Conference on Environment-Behaviour Studies Mercure Le Sphinx Cairo Hotel, Giza, Egypt, 31 October - 2 November 2012 "Future Communities: Socio-Cultural & Environmental Challenges"

Human Behaviour and Activities in Relation to Shah Alam Urban Park during Nighttime

Mohd Riduan Ngesana*, Hafazah Abdul Karimb, Syed Sobri Zubirc

aCentre for Environment-Behaviour Studies bCentre for Town and Regional Planning Studies cCentre for Architecture Studies

_Universiti Teknologi MARA, Shah Alam 40450, Malaysia_


Public parks play a vital role in the social life of urban communities. The purpose of this paper is to show the social behaviour and activities of a community during nighttime in outdoor spaces exclusively in public urban park in Shah Alam. However, literature reviews regarding nighttime social behaviour and activities of urban community are limited. Improved understanding of relation between community activity and urban park setting could be used to influence the development of public park design, to create nighttime urban outdoor environments more conducive for community leisure activity.

© 2012 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Selection and peer- review under responsibility of the (Centre for Environment-Behavi our Studies (cE-B s), Faculty of Architecture, Planning & Surveying, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia.

Keywords: Human behaviour; leisure; nighttime activities; public park

1. Introduction

Communities living in urban areas used the outdoor public park as a place for social and leisure activities with their families, friends and others. However, the hot climate during the day due to the effect of global warming discouraged human activities in urban outdoor spaces (Ewer, 1991). Furthermore the busy lifestyle of urbanites also affects the lack of time for leisure and recreation activities in urban outdoor spaces (Oguz and Cakci, 2010). These constraints have changed the behavioral patterns of the

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +60-17-694-4986; fax: +6-03-552-11564. E-mail address:

1877-0428 © 2012 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Selection and peer-review under responsibility of the Centre for Environment-Behaviour Studies (cE-Bs), Faculty of Architecture, Planning & Surveying, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia. doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.12.239

urban communities where people prefer to carry out their leisure activities in outdoor public-park after the sun has set. Yet the current planning and designed of outdoor public realm is not accommodative for community nighttime leisure and recreation (Ngesan and Karim 2012). Nowadays, most of the community's activities during nighttime only take place indoors- in cinema, restaurants, shopping complexes, etc (Erkip, 2003). The use of indoor rather than open and green outdoor spaces in leisure time has led to more passive urbanite lifestyle. People neglect the fact that physically active lifestyle with outdoor green environment are important in term of physical and mental health (Oguz and Cakci, 2010). Cheshmehzangi (2012) argues that, public realm could appear in many ways, and that by itself, have no definite identity or character of place. In this respect, public realm does not have a certain identity but rather is fulfilled with several changing identities influenced by content (i.e. person or object) and context (i.e. culture or environment) where content is the inherent value (Relph, 1976).

At this juncture, the study of urban community behaviour and activities during nighttime at outdoor public park seemed to be warranted and in line with the Malaysian Economic Transformation Programme (2010), under Entry Point Project 6 (EPP6); to ensure every resident in Greater Kuala Lumpur/ Klang Vally benefits from the green space. This programme also aims to improve cities liveability by creating more comfortable spaces for leisure and recreational activities; and most importantly to create a sustainable environment. For this particular research, the city of Shah Alam is chosen as the case study. It is the state capital of Selangor and situated within the conurbation of the Klang Valley and is located around twenty-five kilometers west of the country's capital city, Kuala Lumpur. Since independence in 1957, Shah Alam can be considered as the first planned city that incorporated the green and community concept for urban development. In 2000, Shah Alam has been declared and conferred the city status and has its own Municipal City Council.

2. Literature Review

2.1. The concept of place and behavior

The mutual relationship between space and human can be considered as sense of place or spirituality of place. Matore (1966) states that ''an individual is not distinct from his place; [in fact] he is that place'. Heidegger (1969) also Weights that 'everywhere, wherever and however we are related to being of every kind, identity makes its claim upon us'. Cheshmehzangi (2012) mentions that, social behaviorism of a place is either controlled by design or developed with it. Therefore, environmental perception of any place has a mutual relationship with its social behaviorism termed as 'socio-mwronmental values' and ''spatial inter-relations'. According to Walmsley (1988), the 'environment as perceived rather than the real world which influences behaviors'. Certain characteristics and urban formations are important aspects of how environment can control or/and enhance the social behaviors. Hague and Jenkins (2005) argues that identity of a place is a matter of socio-environmental values and spatial inter-relations with which place also aims to develop as well as becoming developed itself. Therefore, it is not only the place that needs to be studied but also the human himself and how he behaves and relates to his environment.

Environment appears to be extremely influential on human behaviors that the human associations with space become almost invisible; even though it is the human that defines the space at the very beginning of its existence. According to Proshansky and Fabian (1987), the quality of urban physical settings have clear implications for the socialization and development of the individual as a unique being. Such settings and their physical properties help to define the person along with the social properties. Madanipour (2003) states that, the places in which people have lived also influence their environmental preferences and affect the kind of environment they may seek out or prefer. However, the converse is also true and that places are also influenced by people's identities. Meanwhile, the perspectives on place has gone from

'physical determinism' where the environment was seen as having direct effects on behaviour (Franck, 1984), to the view of the people-environment relation as dynamic and interactive. Akin to this, Wicker (1979) also emphasizes that behaviour settings are social constructs developed over time.

2.2. The concept of place and time

Cheshmehzangi (2012) elucidates that actions taken place within the environment are outcomes of the urban system, which could modify qualities and adjust inner character development and future inputs within public place. Nighttime activities in public-park are part leisure and part recreation that has become an urban trend (Ngesan and Karim, 2012). Hague and Jenkins (2005) describes that the understanding of place requires various techniques and investigations based on three factors namely space, nature and time. Therefore, Relph (1976) explicates that place can have multiple identities to one person as well as to the whole society. Fearon (1999) also confirms that persons might have multiple identities; therefore the possibility of having different answers and results will depend on different context that are self-associated with different times.

The term 'content' is mainly expressed as self and 'context' is understood as a circumstance or environment. Nonetheless, content and context are subject to change over time; therefore one can influence, manipulate and even change the other. Time then become an important dimension in the analysis of urban settings (Proshansky and Fabian, 1987). Physical settings have life cycle unlike of a person. They are planned, develop, change, and indeed may eventually disappear. It is not only that physical setting changes and therefore become dysfunctional for the people who use them, but also people also change over time and thus may become dysfunctional for their physical setting. Although the 'time' refers to the time decade (Proshansky and Fabian, 1987 and Fearon, 1999), the place can also be change over the daily time. Akin to this, Cheshmehzangi (2012) argues that, every time the place is experienced in a different way, the sociality and spatial inter-relations of it become distinctive. This will include if the place is experienced during nighttime. It definitely offers a different environment and experience of place throughout the whole day. Besides, Gold (1980) highlights that leisure and works are competitors for time. If one increases, the other decreases. This is the same for individual and for society as a whole. Gary (1990) also states that the inter-play of people from different societies have something in common and they that seek pleasure or desire for variety, intimacy and freedom from anxiety.

2.3. The concept of social behavior and climate

Knez (2005) argues that climate is one of the attributes that brings meaning to the place of people. This ecological variable, a physical parameter of a place, plays an important role in everyday life. It has impact on individual, social and economy. Climate is nested in places, it not only constitutes objectively a place but also subjectively influence the way we experience and remember a place. Moreover, Zacharias et. al. (2001) states that peoples' perceptions towards the beautiful of place are different due to factors of microclimatic condition such as sunlight and wind. These and other microclimatic parameter such as temperature and humidity may also influence our perception towards comfort (Nikolopoulou et. al., 2001). Akin to this, Jeremy et. al. (2008) highlights that place is one of several dimensions of risk related to harmful environmental exposures. Climate change will disrupt ecologic, cultural, and economic relationships as well as nested conceptions of place.

Makaremi et al. (2012) argues that the accelerated rate of urban growth in tropical cities warrant the critical necessity of creating more outdoor spaces for leisure and recreation activities. The substantial role of environmental factors, thermal adaption and psychological parameters strongly affect human thermal comfort level in outdoor spaces. Therefore, Cheng et. al. (2012) reveals that the air temperature, wind

speed and solar radiation intensity are influential factors in determining the thermal sensation of people outdoors. In addition, Shaharudin et al. (2010) states that urban 'heat island' significantly reduces livability and human comfort where it is extremely hot to conduct outdoor activities during daytime. According to Emmanuel (2005), the Urban Heat Island (UHI) at nighttime in an urban center is highly correlated with urban tree cover characteristic. He also argues that significant nighttime cooling could be achieved by increasing the Sky View Factor (SKV) and by improving the thermal properties in the area. During nighttime, the thermal properties such as green surface in the open area with less trees cover are more cooling with other urban outdoor spaces due to the increasing of the Sky View Factor that realize the Urban Heat Island.

2.4. The concept of urban well-being

The quality of life in a city is not only related to the quantity of collective resources and services available in an urban area, but also to the opportunities and constraints of people to use such resources (Nuvolati, 2010). He also argues that the transformation and distribution of abundant urban resources into real quality of life becomes more complicated, especially in large cities where many different urban populations such as residents, city users and tourists are concentrated. Currently, many nightlife activities are focus on city users and tourists such as pubs, bars, nightclubs, concerts and others that disturb the urban community during nighttime (Ngesan and Karim, 2011). Meanwhile, urban community lack of time and opportunity to use existing public-park during the day due to the high temperature and busy urban lifestyle, prefer to carry out their leisure activities after the sun has set. Nonetheless, there are constraints to use the public park during nighttime for unsolicited activities will scare the community to use public-park at night (Madge, 1997). This illustrates that time is a valuable resource and that it has to be managed wisely to increase satisfaction in the domain of human life (Rojas, 2010).

Apart from concept of urban well-being, where 'time' is regarded as part of quality in the urban way of life, Elchardus (2010) argues that contemporary societies should distribute work time, family time and leisure time more evenly and intelligently over the life cycle. Urban well being as expressed by Perez and Mayoralas (2010) is based on the amalgamation of health, family, economic situation, social network and leisure activities. The highest levels of satisfaction are expressed in relation to family and social network, and the residential environment. Clark (2010) also highlights that happiness is about social relation. The quality of interactions between individuals is a key component of well-being. The nighttime leisure activity in public-park offers the quality time for families and communities to socialize and communicate in conducive environments. Thus, it will develop 'trust' as the most important factors appear to be the quality in social interaction with others (Corrado, 2010). Zhanjun (2010) points out that the well-being requires experiences in interpersonal relations, family atmosphere and confidence towards society. Therefore, the interactions with persons who share similar cultural rules of relationship would reflect the community's values and practices (Kafetsios, 2010). However, Glatzer (2010) argues that different countries that offer the same living conditions do not necessarily generate equal levels of happiness.

The urban well-being is considered as one of the potential for urban community to use the urban resources at nighttime through cultural activities. This can be archived from the generation of outdoor public park for community activities not only during the day but continues until nighttime. Meanwhile, nighttime activities should have time limitations to ensure the normal circadian rhythm cycle for living being that requires the human body to sleep and rest (Kolmos, 2007).

2.5. The usage of public park at night

Inglewood Municipal Code (2012) defines public park as a public playground, public recreation center or area, and other public areas, created, established, designated, maintained, provided or set aside by the City Council, for the purposes of public rest, play, recreation, enjoyment or assembly, and all buildings, facilities and structures located thereon or therein. Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (2010) defines urban or public parks as public open spaces within a community for recreational use, which also may include natural areas such as lakes, rivers and others. Muhammad (2001) defines that night does not begin until the last trace of light has disappeared from the sky. The night begins when all the light has disappeared from the sky after sunset, and ends when the first trace of light appears in the sky before sunrise. During these two periods, light and darkness mix. It is not totally dark nor is it totally lit. Just before sunset, which is part of the day, the darkness starts to creep in and thus the night is rolled over the (end) of the day. Similarly, just after sunset (which is part of the night), the remaining light starts to fade out of the night and thus the day is rolled out of the night.

According to Project for Public Space (2005), the type of use in parks have changed over the course of the day progresses; from a more quiet activities during the day to a more socializing activities in the evening and night. Moreover, the users seem to distribute throughout the park during the day; while evenings until night, the area become more alive with social and leisure activities which focused on the center of the park. By looking at the aspect of safety and security, park users rarely noted safety as a concern. Most people felt the presence of "undesirables" and drug dealers, but the vibrant and heavily use space around them tends to marginalize this negative activity, or at least make people feel relatively comfortable. As evidence, small children can be found in the Washington Park, with their parents, late at night (9pm) near the fountain and even in unlit playgrounds. Akin to this, Ozcan (2006) states that compared to adults, children are known to be more sensitive in their perception of the physical environment; hence it has a greater effect on the way they conduct themselves. Moreover, Mitchell (1995) reveals that the safety of the place can be seen by the existence groups of women. Safety according to Marcus and Francis (1998) refers to the personal security of park users and covers both as a perceived and an objective measure, where perceived safety refers to people's perceptions and feelings of safety, while objective safety refers to actual incidents of crime. Distinguishing the two concepts is important in order to adequately address safety concern.

Moore et. al. (1992) highlights that parks facilitate social interactions those are critical in maintaining community cohesion, pride and social capital. Park plays a role in increasing social capital by providing a meeting place where people can develop social ties and setting where healthy behavior of physical activity is modeled. Therefore, Smith et. al. (2004) confirms that leisure at park is able to improving moods, reducing stress, and enhancing a sense of wellness. Zaki and Ngesan (2011) postulate that the agglomeration of nighttime activity is able to created different activity to attract people. They also confirm that the creative arrangement of urban components can increase the urbanites movement in urban outdoor spaces.

2.6. The urban design in public spaces

One of the most perceptible effects of the artificial lightning is the light pollution at night. According to the Starlight Initiative (2007), light pollution is "a brightening of the night sky caused by artificial light being scattered by small particles in the air such as water droplets and dust". However, artificial light also emerged as a powerful instrument to redesign a place, providing visibility and protection. In our modern societies it plays an increasing role in promoting leisure activities, well-being and the most significant is that artificial light gives people the perception of night territory appropriation/domination

(Alves, 2009). In the design of urban spaces, managing light is associated with generating quality of life for its citizens. Night becomes a palette of landscapes that have never been seen before, transforming the landscape and image that triggers a living atmosphere of cities at night. Light can give sense to a place, giving new uses and new values (Hennessy, 2010). Adjustments in lighting concepts and philosophy will affect changes in the urban discourse in the near future. To Fachard (2003), these changes resulted from the fact that architecture and public spaces have been considered as vehicles to represent values, meanings, including aesthetic aspects. A multiplicity of places and events are allowed to take place, contributing in a decisive way to create bonds of identity between people and places. Social and cultural changes of the recent decades have increased the importance of space-time relations at night. The cities concerned have generated artificial day into the night, in order to continue the sunlight hour's activities that are unable to get during the day (Alves, 2007). This dichotomy separates day and night very clearly, in which night was associated with the unknown, provoking fears, mystery, curiosity and contradiction (Gwiazdzinski, 2005). Meanwhile, nighttime is the period where people must be resting and sleeping, respecting their biological needs.

3. Methodology

3.1. The aim and case study area

The purpose of this paper was to investigate the influence of spatiality on the community activity and behavior at the two public urban parks during nighttime. That is, they are expected to exhibit the positive social behavior and activity when the spaces of urban public parks are used at night. Initially, Shah Alam has been chosen as a study area due to its subdued urban nature: - a well provided community facilities; and the lack of nighttime commercial and entertainment centres. The strategy chosen for the research design was based on a case study (Yin, 1994). By taking two of Shah Alam's vibrant public parks (Padang A and Padang B), which are also known as Shah Alam Night Flier (SANF) by the Municipal City Council due to the place character or identity. Hence, the selection of the Padang A and Padang B coincides with the purpose of this study.

3.2. Research design

The methodology emulated previous studies done by Zimmons (1997) and Moore (2008). However, the present study is distinctive in that while previous studies were based on quasi-experiment in children behavior at outdoor spaces in one area, while the present study is based on community behavior involving four age groups namely seniors, adults, teenagers and children at the two locations. For the behavioral mapping survey, this study will use place-centered mapping technique to observe how people use the space (Creswell, 2002). Data collected based on this methodology involved personal observation, video recording and behavioral mapping. The observation survey involved natural unobtrusive observation and video recording of group behaviour at urban park during nighttime. The behavioral mapping involved charting the community behavior and activity at pre-drawn. The behavioral mappings have to be included in order to identify the spatial choice and location in the urban park (Morrow, 2001).

3.3. Procedure

The time sampling is taken for 10 minutes with time interval for 20 minutes for each study area (adapted from Abbas and Othman, 2010). Earlier observations have been done to determine the use of urban park at night as a time-frame and to verify the observation form as checklist for the main survey

(Marcus, 1990); it was found that the urban park beginning to be crowded starting from 7.30pm until 9.30pm. During the days of data collection, the enumerators arrived 30 minute before the observation period to ensure that ample time was available for setting up the video camera etc. In total, there are ten maps collected during the observation sessions, Padang A collected five maps, 10 minute per map and Padang B also collected five maps, 10 minute per map. The researcher also used some variables in the System for Observing Play and Active Recreation in Communities (SOPARC) as part of the component in the analysis stage. SOP ARC was designed to obtain direct information on community park use, including their users. It provides an assessment of park users' physical activity levels, gender, activity types, and estimated age groupings (McKenzie, 2006).

4. Findings and Discussion

The survey illustrates that the average users of urban park at nighttime during the observation days are 662 people. This shows that the night-time leisure activity has become an urban trend (Alves, 2007; and Ngesan and Karim, 2012). Meanwhile, the user in study area of Padang A (362 people) is higher compared to the Padang B (302 people) even though the area of Padang A (1.79 hectare) is smaller than Padang B (2.52 hectare). This has a relation with the location of the study area where Padang A is located in the middle of iconic buildings such as Shah Alam Gallery, Auditorium, Blue Wave Hotel, Blue Mosque Shah Alam and many others, which give an interesting lighting silhouette at night rather than Padang B which is located beside a main road junction. Besides that, the differences of ground cover characteristic in the study area that affect the Urban Heat Island (Emmanuel, 2005), where Padang A is covered fully by grass and Padang B is covered with a mixed of grass and sand surface has influence the site preferences to do leisure at night. Since the influence of the physical environment, climate and time upon human behavior had been well documented in the literature review, this paper posited that the exhibition of more appropriate behaviors by the human during nighttime was the outcome of a better outdoor space design.

The results from the behavioral mapping survey data are shown in a form of table and diagram based on the sub topics namely; 1. The use of the urban park at night by gender (males and females) and age group such as children's (infant until 12 year olds), teenagers (13 until 19 year olds), adults (20 until 59 year olds) and senior (60 year olds and above); 2. The positions in urban park during nighttime namely sitting on bench, sitting on grass, standing and lying on grass; and 3. The types of physical activity and levels in urban park during nighttime like sedentary levels (quiet relaxation/ prayers, reading/ writing, talking/ socializing, phone talking/ texting taking pictures/ electronic play, eating/ picnicking, celebrating/ party), moderate levels (playing, bounce game) and vigorous levels (running, football, sports). At the end of the discussion, the diagram of physical activity mapping will show the distribution of activity in the study area.

4.1. The use of urban park at nighttime by age group and gender

The highest numbers of percentage in the age groups are adults totaling 81.90 percent (Refer Table 1.). The findings reveal that although the adults have to working during the day, these age groups of people are able to spend time to do leisure activities with their friends and families in outdoor spaces at nighttime. Moreover, the slightly different percentage of gender between males (53.46 percent) and females (46.54 percent) highlight the existence of families and group of friends. It supports the findings from the observation survey that the majority of user is the groups of family and friends. Female makes-up 46.54 percent that indicates the community of Shah Alam perceived urban park as a safe place at nighttime. Hence, the existence of children, which is 11.41 percent, shows that the place is safe. Children

are known to be more sensitive in their perception of the physical environment; hence it has a greater effect on the way they conduct themselves. Besides that teenagers, which is 5.88 percent also reveals that, nighttime activities in urban parks are attractive to this age group. This can reduce unwarranted juvenile activities. Referring to Table 1., the park users comprised all age group. These illustrate varieties of users in urban park at nighttime which forms the cordial community social relationship.

Table 1. The use of urban park at nighttime by age group and gender

Location Senior 60 year (%) olds above Adults 20 - 59 year olds (%) Teenagers 13-19 year olds (%) Children 0-12 year olds (%) Total age group and gender (%)

Male Female Male Female Male Female Male Female Male Female

Padang A 0.20 0.41 23.17 21.21 1.36 1.05 3.27 3.67 28.00 26.34

Padang B 0.00 0.20 20.39 17.13 2.11 1.36 2.96 1.51 25.46 20.20

Subtotal by gender 0.20 0.61 43.56 38.34 3.47 2.41 6.23 5.18 53.46 46.54

Subtotal by age group 0.81 81.90 5.88 11.41 100.00

4.2. The users position in urban park at nighttime

Table 2. shows Padang A having a higher percentage in all the positions behavior in urban park namely sitting on grass (32.63 percent), sitting on bench (8.16 percent) and lying on grass (1.51 percent) except for standing (12.08 percent) compare to Padang B (14.80 percent). This position is influenced by the ground cover characteristic, which is grass. As mentioned earlier, Padang A is covered by grass while Padang B is covered with mixed grass and sand (Refer Fig. 1.). Since the physical character place of study areas are without any playground facilities, the users' prefer to use the ground surface as the place for their activities. Moreover, the position behavior of sitting on grass is 56.19 percent is higher compared to the position behavior sitting on benches, which is 14.51 percent. These studies reveal that the surface materials for nighttime leisure activity in Shah Alam are able to influence the position behavior of users. The position of lying on grass which is 2.42 percent also show that the minimum light pollution during nighttime in the study area due to the clear visibility of moon and stars; can be enjoyed by urbanites in Shah Alam.

Table 2. The users position in urban park at nighttime

Location Sitting on bench (%) S itting on grass (%) Standing (%) Lying on grass (%)

Padang A 8.16 32.63 12.08 1.51

Padang B 6.34 23.56 14.80 0.91

Subtotal 14.51 56.19 26.88 2.42

Total 100.00

4.3. The physical activity in urban park at nighttime

The analyses of physical activity/behavior are based on variable in the SOP ARC. There are three physical activity levels namely sedentary, walking and vigorous (McKenzie, 2006). Sedentary refers to individual's behavior of lying, sitting or standing in place. Moderate refers to sports, recreation and fitness, while vigorous refers to individual's behavior engaging at an intensity level more vigorous than

an ordinary walk. This activity will increase human heart rate causing them to sweat. Based on the observation survey, the activities of urbanites in urban park during nighttime have been listed and categorized into the three levels. Table 3. illustrates that the highest level activity is sedentary (72.37 %) while the highest of the total physical activity is eating and picnics (42.00%). This study reveals that the preference activity by urban community during nighttime in urban park is sedentary.

Table 3. The physical activity in urban park at nighttime


Sedentary (%)

Moderate (%) Vigorous (%)

Padang A 2.27 1.06 3.93 5.29 23.87 4.68 1.96 3.02 3.47 4.83

Padang B 1.81 0.45 2.57 4.53 18.13 3.78 1.51 2.42 2.87 7.55

Subtotal by type's activity 4.08 1.51 6.50 9.82 42.00 8.46 3.47 5.44 6.34 12.38

Subtotal by level of activity 72.37 8.91 18.72


Fig. 1. Physical activity

Fig. 1. shows the distribution of activities in the urban park during nighttime. The sedentary activities in Padang A are scattered in all areas, while in Padang B are located at the edges of the study area. The moderate activity areas are identified to be located close with sedentary activity for both areas. The vigorous activity are tend to be scattered in Padang A and located at the center of the area in Padang B. Moreover, Padang A are more condensate compared to Padang B due to the different ground cover material and building activity in the surrounding area. Besides, Padang A are also more lighting up rather than Padang B since the light is factors that contributes towards the sense of safety and security.

5. Conclusion and Recommendations

Overall, this research founds that people who are living in the area of the case study significantly use the urban public park for leisure and recreational activities during nighttime. Through the survey conducted at the area, the users were ranging from different age groups and genders. This indicates that urban public park which efficiently designed to meet urban livability could encourage the urban social relations among the community. The elements of livable urban public park such as the lighting factor, ground material characteristic, park facilities and the surrounding building uses activities also contribute to the preferences of place for leisure and recreational activities during nighttime in outdoor spaces. Behavioral mapping provides a method for objectively measuring relationship between human activities and urban park during nighttime. It reveals how the human behaviors response to the physical setting of urban park in different time dimension, namely nighttime. Such evidence may contribute to new knowledge in the environmental behavior studies, town planning, urban design and landscape that can help create design for healthy communities and to promote active urban outdoor spaces during nighttime. Moreover, these findings may also be used to improve the existing guidelines and policies regarding future urban park development. As this study is confined to case study of Shah Alam's urban park, it is suggested that future research should involve more samples of urban parks nationwide. The slight differences in the behavioral patterns observed with regards to physical activity within the confinement of the different urban park settings should also be noted. As the analysis of this phenomenon is beyond the scope of this paper, it could be investigated further in future studies.


The writers would like to acknowledge Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) and to Shah Alam City Council (MBSA) for their endless assistance given during the course of carrying out the study. This study was funded by Research Intensive Faculty (Grant 600-RMI/DANA 5/3/RIF 264/2012), provided by Research Management Institute, Universiti Teknologi MARA Shah Alam, Malaysia.


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