Recreational areas and areas for recreational walking
Updated: 25 March 2021
Next update: 12 December 2022
About the statistics
These statistics describe access to recreational areas and areas for recreational walking for people living in urban areas. The statistics include the proportion of residents with access to recreational areas, by age group and building type, as well as the area covered by recreational areas.
Play and recreation area, and areas for recreational walking
There is no nationwide mapped information about either play and recreation area or areas for recreational walk. In this statistical work, it is therefore chosen to identify areas that may have potential as a recreational area and area for recreational walk.
Basically, we have chosen to distinguish between areas for recreational walk and play / recreation area only by land size. In the calculation of access to recreation areas, we also include areas for recreational walk as defined here. That is all recreation areas larger than 5 acres, including over 200 acres. We have not looked at wheter areas are regulated in terms of municipal land use planning (zoning, site plan or municipal) or prepared in the form of playground equipment, walking paths and trails and more. The terms "recreation area and areas for recreational walk" must not be confused with "recreational area" or "outdoor areas" used in the planning context.
The following areas are included in play- and recreation areas and areas for recreational walking:
- Forest, open solid ground, wetlands, bare rock, gravel and boulder fields, parks and sports fields cf Statistics standard classification of areas for statistical purposes.
- Lakes and ponds that are less than 1 acre are also included.
Sports that are not normally available for public recreational activities are not included.
We use two definitions of safe access: one for short distances to relatively small areas (1 - play- and recreational areas) and one for longer distance to the larger areas (2 - areas for recreational walk):
1) For the smallest areas (recreation area), if you do not have to cross a road with relatively heavy traffic or over a certain speed limit (annual average daily traffic (ADT) 3000, speed limit 30). In addition, railroads is considered as a barrier.
2) Initially, we suggest that one can move safely along roads with higher traffic and speed limits to reach areas for recreational walking. We assume that one has access if one can travel along or across roads, walkways and trails except along or in plan of the barrier roads.
We consider the following roads as a barrier to areas for recreational walk:
- At least 3000 ADT and 30 km / h speed limit
- At least 2000 ADT and 50 km / h speed limit
- At least 1000 ADT and 70 km / h speed limit.
In addition railroads is considered as a barrier.
Homes, schools and kindergartens
We use the buildings and building type from the Cadastre (formerly Ground Property, Address and Building Register - GAB) to identify residential buildings, homes, schools and kindergartens
The statistics are based on established standard classifications.
Housing is distributed according to standard building type at level 2, but is limited to 01 detached houses, 02 houses with two dwellings, 03 rowhouse, linked house or house with 3 or 4 dwellings, 04 lmulti-dwelling buildings and 05 buildings for communities.
Kindergarten buildings and school buildings are statistics on the 3-digit level for the standard type of building. Kindergarten buildings (612) and school buildings (613-616).
Name: Recreational areas and areas for recreational walking
Topic: Nature and the environment
Division for Housing, Property, Spatial and Agricultural Statistics
Urban settlement and municipality.
Every second year.
Increased population density in cities and towns are in accordance with the national goal of a more concentrated development in the interests of land use, transportation and climate. Urban growth can hovewer lead to reduction of green areas, and weaken the access to play and recreational areas.
The purpose of the statistics is to monitor the development in the recreation areas and areas for recreational walk and access to these areas. Previously Statistics Norway has published statistics based on preliminary and simplified methodology (Engelien, Steinnes and Bloch 2005).
The statistics will be used in the monitoring of national environmental goals. The statistics covers two of the key figures given in the national targets for outdoor activity (see for example White Paper No. 26 (2006-2007)), with subsequent adjustments.
The statistics may also be important for other users such as the media and the general population. Municipality statistics could be used as input in the work with land-use plans and could be relevant for municipalities, counties and others.
The survey section on housing has figures for access to recreation areas and areas for recreational walk. The Municipal Government Reporting system (KOSTRA) also includes questions regarding recreational areas.
The Statistics Act §§2-1, 3-2.
The statistics include the recreation areas and areas for recreational walks in all urban settlements in Norway, but also such areas adjacent to the urban areas are included (recreational areas within 300 m from the urban setlements and areas for recreational walk within 3 km from the urban settlements).
The statistics of access include residents, residential buildings, school buildings and kindergarten buildings in all urban settlements in Norway.
The main data sources are spatial data sets of land use from Statistics Norway and information on roads, footpaths and cycle paths and trails from the public map database (FKB) and the National roads database - Elveg. The land use delimitation includes multiple data sources, where the soil type map ARstatistikk from the Norwegian Forest and Landscape institute, and data from the Cadastre (municipalities, the National Mapping Authority) is the most important along with FKB.
Controls by the registry owners. There are also some checks on the geographical coverage and completeness of the key objects in the processing of this statistics.
SSB delimit land use for the entire country with the Cadastre and land resource maps in large scale (ARstat) as important sources.
From the land use map the following land classes are processed: Forest, open solid ground, wetlands, bare rock, gravel and boulders, park and sports fields cf Statistics standard classification of areas for statistical purposes . Lakes and ponds that are less than 1 acre are also included. Sporting fields that are not normally available for public recreational activities are not included.
When areas are identified and delineated, it is made some adjustments to the recreational areas in order for the size to be calculated as correct as possible:
- Recreation areas adjacent to each other but which are separated by narrow built-up areas or areas of communications are merged as long as they are closer than 5 meters. That is, we consider these areas as part of a larger area, even if it is intersected by other narrow land use classes. This is significant for the which recreational areas that meet the size criteria in the key figures.
- Undeveloped land that is less than 10 meters are also weeded out as this is largely land between roads or in relation to roads. Such areas have often limited value for recreation in itself.
Access calculations is done by calculating the distance along the roads, footpaths and cycle paths and trails. One is considered to have access if within 200 m from recreational areas and within 500 m from areas of recreational walk. It is requested that one should not have to cross or move along the roads with relatively heavy traffic and high speed limit for safe access. See definition section. More information about the calculations in Engelien (2012).
Units with 3 or less observations are not published.
The statistics are based on automatic processing of records and map databases. Register and map databases are built up according to national standards and procedures. However, there may be differences in interpretation in the definition of some geographical objects from municipality to municipality. It may also be somewhat different completeness of certain objects. This could affect the results, but generally the results are considered to be comparable from place to place and over time.
Improved data sources
The data sources have been improved during recent years, especially for land use. Changes in the results between 2013 and 2015 are therefore not necessarily real changes, but can also be caused by more accurate mapping of nature areas.
There may be errors in registration in the Cadastre and map databases and in the surveys.
It is a time lag from changes in land use takes place until it is registered in map databases and registers. Land use that affect access for recreation will be updated frequently, so the lag will not affect the uncertainty in the statistics, as long as the lag is fairly constant.
The land class from ARSTAT "open solid ground" can both be suitable for recreation activities and not. To a large extent, the further classification (in connection with the land use classification in SN) based on themes from FKB or N50 and Cadastre distinguish between these classes, but in some cases, the areas appear to be accessible even if they are not.
Furthermore, for example parks from ARSTAT appear as undeveloped land, if there is a high degree of preparation of roads, paving stones and fountains, etc. These areas will be considered available if they are delimited by the municipality as parks, but this will not always be the case.
The methodology is based on the assumption that roads, walkways and paths from Elveg and FKB are correct and complete. Furthermore, it is important that coding is correct with respect to whether the roads / paths intersect in the same plane. Updating of Elveg is continuous, while it is periodic for FKB road. The selected approach provides sensitivity to the quality of the data, while one of the strengths is that the method captures the changes in access because of the construction of new walkways and construction of trails.
Initially, it is only used traffic figures for the European, national, and county roads. Municipal barrier roads will thus not be captured in the statistics.
The statistics does not yet take into account steep areas. Play- and recreational areas less than 5 acres may also be important for the population, but these smaller areas are not included in the statistics.