Developing the e-NEST Tool
From our literature review, we identified 12 existing audit tools suitable for evaluation of green spaces. We concluded that NEST (Natural Environment Scoring Tool), developed by Chris Gidlow at Staffordshire University, was the most appropriate tool for our project.
To develop eNEST, we adapted the 47-question variant of NEST to our “curated crowdsourcing” model, suitable for wider participation by non-professionals. Regarding changes, our first exercises showed that some fields, particularly the classification into 11 typologies, were not consistently understood by assessors and thus were best treated as optional. It is important to note that other audit tools vary greatly in the typologies they offer, suggesting there is no widespread consensus.
Furthermore, because our focus was to conduct a utilitarian audit, i.e. collecting the features and facilities of each greenspace, we also did not use the weighting measures from NEST because our goal wsa to gather information rather than rating green spaces.
In the future, we hope to extend Greenspace Hack to an opportunity audit and a capability audit. We also aim to develop a shorter survey with simple, factual, unambiguous questions suitable for mass participation. Our expectation is that the data will not be used standalone, but in conjunction with other open datasets which will allow more detailed analysis of connectivity, facilities and demographics: therefore not everything needs to be collected in one single survey. We also hope to continue to investigate ‘Internet of Things’ technology for auditing green spaces, such as soundscape measurement and machine learning from image analysis.
Survey questions and resources
See the documents page for survey downloads as well as information on the feedback that we used to modify the NEST survey.
The first version of the app has been delivered by Oxfordshire County Council using the ArcGIS Survey123 platform. Please contact Oxfordshire County Council for enquiries.
Heading picture by Joe Diaz, licensed CC-BY-ND, at Flickr.