Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Industrial Engineering

Committee Chair/Advisor

Emily Tucker

Committee Member

Thomas Sharkey

Committee Member

Mariela Fernandez

Committee Member

Robert Brookover


Parks and greenspaces are publicly available entities that serve the vital purpose of promoting multiple aspects of human welfare. Unfortunately, the existence of park disparities is commonplace within the park setting. Specifically, marginalized individuals encounter limited park access, insufficient amenity provision, and poor maintenance. To remedy these disparities, we propose a process in which we select candidate park facilities and utilize facility location models to determine the optimal primary parks from both existing and candidate sites.

We note that platforms currently exist to identify the geographical areas where residents lack sufficient access to parks. However, these platforms do not yet integrate the variety of demographic, infrastructural, dimensional, monetary, and environmental factors to guide decisions of future park locations. Further, these tools do not have the ability to recommend multiple park sites by considering how simultaneous park selection affects overall access. To support park and government agencies in their aims to improve the distribution and quality of greenspaces, we present a case study of park selection optimization modeling in Asheville, North Carolina. We propose mixed-integer programs that maximize park access across different dimensions of equity. The developed facility location models serve as intuitive preliminary tools to support proactive park and greenspace planning initiatives.

Our research process includes developing an understanding of current park and greenspace inequities. We determine the key indicators of park goodness in order to formulate and analyze facility location models that promote park and greenspace equity. We begin this study with an introduction to park and greenspace benefits and disparities and discuss current park distribution and equity initiatives within Asheville, North Carolina. We explore literature concerning park requirements and facility location modeling. We represent the components of park goodness and equity in the formulation of two facility location models and include the data collection, analysis, and visualization of Asheville to depict model elements. Finally, we present and discuss the results of multiple analyses to recommend new park locations in Asheville and to determine the effectiveness of our models as a tool to guide strategic park location decisions based upon user-defined criteria and goals. This study serves as an initial step in the further development and incorporation of mathematical modeling to achieve social goals within the recreational setting.



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