RECREATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES AND SERVICES FROM ECOSYSTEM SERVICES GENERATED BY PUBLIC PARKS IN MEGACITY KARACHI-PAKISTAN

Muhammad Mushahid Anwar

Abstract


Urban public parks and green spaces could generate a wide variety of ecosystem services as well as pattern of public parks and green space and behavior of park user in Karachi city. The economic value that is not for monetary gain benefits were evaluated by the willingness to pay (WTP) approach through the contingent valuation method. A questionnaire was used to collect data by face-to-face interviews  of  200  respondents  in  the 15-60  age  group, representing  two different socio-economic gradients (high and low income; Defence Housing Authority and Gulburg Town). Residential areas were chosen by a clustered sampling framework. Prophylactic methods were used to minimize sampling and survey prejudices. In general, residents in both areas have a dual nature (positive and negative) approach towards the current performance of public parks and green spaces and the negative impacts from public parks and green spaces are of relatively high importance. Respondents’ socioeconomic factors are not highly related with their knowledge of ecosystem services created by public parks and green spaces in Karachi city. Public parks especially neighborhood parks were the most popular sites, whereas residential green spaces served as alternative parks. Visitation is mainly influenced not only by accessibility but also other factors including good quality of environment. Urbanities of Karachi City have realistic desires for passive recreation opportunities with submissive expectation for privacy and solitude. A precise estimate of average WTP was Pak Rs.10.00/person/day (US$1.00=Pak Rs.58.00 in 2004), which was not a high entrance fee. It is evident that WTP was considerably related with income, and its minimal effect verified by a systematic (statistical) probit model intimated at the conduct of urban public parks and green spaces as superior goods.


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