Despite the increasing availability of big data for research, the selection of spatial unit and the effect of the modifiable areal unit problem (MAUP) remains an issue. The choice spatial units can change the outcomes. This is often the case when local government area is used with open space provision and the promotion of population health and wellbeing within urban environments.
This presentation demonstrates the influence of the modifiable areal unit problem (MAUP) on open space provision for commonly researched spatial units. This analysis utilised the South Australian legislated 12.5 percent public open space (POS) standard and three datasets; the Department of Planning Transport and Infrastructure; Digital Cadastre Database, the Australian Bureau of Statistics Meshblocks; and the Public Sector Mapping Agencies Greenspace. Three different spatial units, the local government area (LGA), Australian Bureau of Statistics postal area (POA) and state suburb (SSC) were used to report open space supply. Analysis at the three spatial scales (LGA, POA and SSC) and the three POS datasets provided varying results regarding those spatial units that met or did not meet the POS supply standard. The largest spatial unit (LGAs) showed that the majority of the LGAs met or exceeded the 12.5 percent POS standard. This spatial unit is widely utilised for local and state government reporting even though it might provide an inaccurate representation of the internal distribution and supply of POS in relation to residential areas and POS across administration boundaries. As the spatial units reduced in size, the number not meeting the 12.5 percent standard increased. Within inner metropolitan areas , a significant number of SSCs did not meet the 12.5 percent standard, a situation which will be exacerbated as these areas are increasingly targeted for infill and higher density residential development.
MAUP is a complicated issue to manage. One obvious strategy is to not to use spatial units that do not match the scale of the phenomenon being reported. However, the issues attributed to MAUP continue to have limited consideration and reporting in strategic urban planning policies and population health research; they should be reported as potential limitations and sources of bias in results.
Time & room
2.00 pm–2.15 pm in City Rooms
Mr Mark Daker
City of Salisbury
Date & venue
Friday, 25 October 2019 at the Adelaide Convention Centre