Recreation, Nature and Extreme Sports ZAA 106


Veal, Darcy and Lynch (2013) chapters that will provide useful information about this week’s learning activities include:

Chapter 10 - Outdoor Recreation | Chapter 11 - Tourism | Chapter 14 -Deviant leisure


Recreation services, programs and facilities need to be planned. They are part of the infrastructure that is provided by the mixed economy of leisure. A key ingredient to these developments is the impact of how communities are planned.

Recreation planning

Urban Planning provides the guidance for how large and small communities should be developed. Related concepts include town planning, city planning, land use planning, statutory planning, regulation of land use and urban governance. Urban planning is defined as “The activity of governance required to make sure all the services people need in a city are provided when and where the need occurs” (Gleeson & Low, 2000, p. 12). To better understand this definition look at the following explanation of key concepts

  • Governance – a process of the state making decisions to achieve goals by representing people.
  • Services – housing, retail, business, utilities, transport, communication, education, health, public safety, specific population needs, environment, leisure and sport.
  • People – those who are present in space, time and culture including those who are not yet born.
  • Need – What is it that is required to meet a socially agreed and necessary base level of services & facilities (Gleeson & Low, 2000).

Sport, leisure and recreation planning is a key component of the urban planning framework to help communities to have quality of life. At a local level the term recreation planning is often used.

“recreation planning can be defined as a process through which information, attitudes, values and needs are reviewed and evaluated by and with the community in an on-going fashion in order to identify a range of actions which, if implemented, will achieve a better outcome for the community than would otherwise have been achieved if things had been left to take their natural course.” (Marriott 2013, p.2).

Marriott (2013) provides the following diagram to illustrate the recreation planning process.

Recreation Planning Model (Marriott 2013)

This planning process has four main phases of i) Pre-planning, ii) Research, iii) Plan and iv) Monitor & evaluate the plan. Pre-planning includes three steps in which the recreation planner needs to set the scene to understand how the planning process will be a) governed and what policies will impact on the planning process; b) what is happening externally that will impact on the planning process; and c) the financial implications of the planning process, i.e., what is the budget and how where will the funds to support the recreation planning process come from (Marriott, 2013).

The Research phase includes a range of steps designed to provide the recreation planner with the data to inform decisions about the recreation plan. A combination of a) consulting with the local community, b) reviewing current and future leisure participation trends, c) understanding the local community demographics, d) drawing on previous studies that may relate to recreation, e.g., transport or health plans, e) having an inventory of current recreation, sport, tourism and related assets, and f) drawing on relevant participation studies acts as the data to help the recreation planner make informed decisions about what needs to be addressed in the recreation plan (Marriott, 2013). The level of detail in the research phase is often related to the size of the budget to support the recreation planning process. The greater the funds the better the detail and breadth of data that can be used to inform the actual recreation plan. Marriott (2013) indicates that there is no prescribed order to what needs to be included in the research phase but it is important to be as thorough as possible when doing the research.

The Plan is the third phase of the recreation planning process. The plan needs to draw on the policy and external context from the pre-planning phase and all the data from the research phase. This step entails writing the recreation planning document. Recreation plans often include a mission, development principles, objectives and goals of the organization as well as specific recommendations for sport, recreation, leisure and tourism facilities, programs and services (Marriott, 2013).

The last phase of the recreation planning process is based on evaluating the outputs, e.g., changes in community sport participation; and outcomes, e.g., changes in quality of life such as better health. The combination of the four steps in Marriott’s (2013) Recreation Planning Model provide important guidelines for how to do recreation planning and what needs to be included in the recreation plan.

Student Activity

Explore your municipal government’s website to see if they have a recreation plan for the local community or any plans for specific leisure developments, e.g., a new sport, leisure or tourism development.

Recreational plan examples include: City of Hobart ||| City of Burnie

There are a number of concepts that are likely to impact in urban and natural environments that will influence individual’s capacity to experience quality of life. Wellbeing, nature and blue spaces all have the potential to increase people’s quality of life.

Wellbeing and Leisure

Check the Canadian Index for Wellbeing – watch this short video to understand how measures of wellbeing have been developed in Canada and to assess their quality of life.

Canadian Index of Wellbeing | 4:15 mins

You can learn more about the Canadian Index of Wellbeing from this website.

Student Activity

What do you think an Australian index of wellbeing would show? How would we rate for areas like community vitality, education, time use and leisure and culture?


Nature has a powerful influence in the lives of people (Kaplan & Kaplan 1989).

“Researchers at the University of Michigan, found that taking group nature walks is associated with a whole host of mental health benefits, including decreased depression, improved well-being and mental health, and lower perceived stress. And the positive effects on mood seemed to be especially strong among people who had recently experienced a traumatic life event, like a serious illness, death of a loved one or divorce.” (Gregoire 2014)

Nature may not be the cure all for humanity’s ailments but it can certainly have a positive impact on people’s lives. Check the following video about Nature Prescriptions and how it can impact on people’s lives.

Nature Rx | 1:33 mins

There is even an Australian version of this prescription

Nature Rx Downunder | 1:40 mins

Have a look at an American student’s experiment with the impact of nature on his life

Blue spaces

Not only have we discovered that nature has lots of positive effects on people’s lives but there is also special value in being around and near water. This phenomenon is called Blue Spaces. Check this short article that introduces Blue Spaces.

The positive impact of blue spaces may be even greater than the green of nature.

Student Learning Activity

Explore your own neighbourhood to understand how your local community / suburb where you live provides opportunities to encounter nature and blue spaces. What are the range of opportunities that are available? What is your access to green spaces and natural settings? What is your access to blue spaces? How are the factors from the Canadian Well-being leisure index evident? What is happening in your local community / suburb that contributes to your happiness, leisure and opportunity for sport and active recreation?

Extreme Sport

Nowhere do we get a better combination of settings in nature with adrenaline pumping experiences than extreme sport. Check one version of the best of extreme sport in 2016

Extreme sport usually involves perceived danger with elements like, speed, height, physical exertion beyond the limits of normal activity. Interestingly, extreme sport is experiencing increasing levels of participation. Less than 50% of the Australian population participate in physical activity with only a small increase since 2001 (Eime, Sawyer, Harvey, Casey & Westerbeek, 2014). Despite the challenges for increasing community levels of physical activity the area of extreme sport has seen significant growth over recent years (Hajkowicz, Cook, Wilhelmseder, & Boughen, 2013).

What makes people to do things that fit into the extreme category. Why do people:

Jump from high places with only rubber bands connected to their ankles?

Jump from high places with just a tiny parachute?

Fly with just a simple suit to keep them somewhat aloft?

Dive in natural environments?

Surf big waves?

Climb, run and jump in challenging places?

Ski beyond the Black Diamond slopes?

Play tennis in the air?

Climb higher than everyone else?

The nature of extreme sport participation and the determinants of the growth in participation are not clear. Researchers have suggested that motives for extreme sport include fun / enjoyment and risk taking (Ko, Park & Claussen, 2008), social, sensation-seeking and self-image (Ewert, Gilbertson, Luo & Voight, 2013), elements of freedom (Brymer & Schweitzer, 2013) and positive transformation (Allman, Mittlestaedt, Martin & Goldenberg, 2009). The motives that influence extreme sport participants are different to traditional physical activity participants. Morris, Lijun and Tower (unpublished) have also identified a motive called ‘vertigo’. Vertigo incorporates elements of danger, extreme experience, excitement and risk. Vertigo may be an important motivator for sectors of the population to become more involved in physical activities. This understanding can influence how activity programmers develop their services to encourage more participation.

Student Activity

Use the principles of recreation planning, wellbeing, nature, blue spaces and motives for extreme sport participation to explore opportunities to develop leisure businesses that would enable people to be more active and challenged in a safe and responsible manner.

Can you use any of these principles to guide your Business of Leisure Case Study?


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