Urban parks play a key role in recreational activities, public health, and ecosystem services in urban areas. Using GIS and Fragstats, this study investigated the spatiotemporal dynamics of urban parks in Xi'an, China from 1949 to 2015 and the corresponding driving forces. The results show that the number and area of parks in Xi’an increased constantly during this period, especially from 2000 to 2015. Up to 2015, small green spaces, usually adjacent to streets, occupied the largest proportion among all types of parks. Archaeological parks were the largest in total area, but wetland parks were leading in average size of a single park. The density of parks was negatively correlated with their distance to the Clock Tower at the center of Xi'an. The dynamics of urban parks in highly urbanized areas were significantly different from that of their counterparts in suburban areas. Driving forces such as urban planning, urbanization and green space policies, and milestone events in the city’s development jointly had a great effect on the distribution of parks in Xi'an. The research outcomes will support the upcoming Green Space Planning of Xi'an and benefit the pursuit of sustainability and human wellbeing.
Keywords: Urban parks, GIS, spatiotemporal dynamics, green space planning, Xi'an
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