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  Any pursuit, activity (or even inactivity) which is undertaken voluntarily during leisure time primarily for the purposes of pleasure, enjoyment and satisfaction. There is considerable overlap between studies of recreation, leisure and tourism. Indeed, in many cases the activities involved are the same, although the location, duration and consumer motivations of each can be very different. As Butler et al. (1998) suggest, \'in recent years the differences between recreation and tourism in particular, except at a philosophical level, have become of decreasing significance and distinctions [have become] increasingly blurred\' (p. 4).

Studies of recreation have tended to categorize recreational activities according to three principal lines of division (Patmore, 1983). First, active recreation is differentiated from passive, according to the degree of physical exercise involved. Here there are connections, for example, with geographies of sport. To play in a football match is active; to watch is passive. Certain forms of active recreation, particularly those relating to health and leisure clubs and to a range of outdoor sports, have become increasingly popular over recent years (Urry, 1990). Equally, passive recreation relating to the production of spectacular events has been in tune with trends of postmodern consumption. Secondly, formal recreation is differentiated from informal, according to the degree to which participation is organized. There is a trend towards increased formality of recreation, either through the organization of enthusiasts or through increasing commodification of recreational venues or practices. Thirdly, resource-based recreation is differentiated from user-orientated, according to the degree to which activities rely on the natural environment or on planned facilities and attractions. This distinction is often viewed as a contrast between rural (resource-based) and urban (user-orientated) locations. Rural issues therefore commonly relate to potential conflicts with other land uses, and to the sustainability (see sustainable development) of multi-functional uses of rural space. Urban issues by contrast tend to relate to the planned provision of facilities. However, the rural-urban distinction tends to cloak the different recreational uses of different spaces. Parklands and riversides in cities, for example, represent essential sites of resource-based recreation which add to more formal leisure centres in the urban environment. Moreover, informal recreation in the open countryside is nowadays strongly complemented by commodified, pay-as-you-enter attractions, ranging from traditional heritage sites to more recent farm parks and theme parks (see Cloke, 1993).

Demand for recreation is usually disaggregated in terms of factors such as disposable income, personal accessibility, and social characteristics of age, health, class and education. Ideally, however, recreation implies a universally available experience of restoring and refreshing the mind and the body, and policymakers have indeed often viewed recreation as a social service for which public provision should be made within processes of rural planning and urban planning. The take-up of recreational opportunities, then, will also depend on the success with which the recreational ideal is borne out in the implementation of planning policies. There are fears that with the privatization of previously public-sector activities, the provision of recreation sites and facilities will become more unevenly distributed. Indeed, Mike Davis\'s (1991) account of Los Angeles — the City of Quartz — charts the virtual abandonment of public recreation, with parks being encouraged to operate as businesses based on user-fees. He describes the result as \'recreational apartheid\', with a drastic deterioration of public space in the poorest inner-city areas where parks have become increasingly run-down, unsupervised and dangerous. Geographies of recreation, therefore, need to be linked with a wider appreciation both of contemporary consumption and of the changing nature of the production of urban and rural space. (PJC)

References Butler, R., Hall, C.M. and Jenkins, J., eds, 1998: Tourism and recreation in rural areas. Chichester: Wiley. Cloke, P. 1993: The countryside as commodity: new spaces for rural leisure. In S. Glyptis, ed., Leisure and the environment. London: Belhaven. Davis, M. 1991: City of quartz. London: Verso. Patmore, J.A. 1983: Recreation and resources: leisure patterns and leisure places. Oxford: Blackwell. Urry, J. 1990: The tourist gaze: leisure and travel in contemporary societies. London: Sage.

Suggested Reading Rojek, C. 1995: Decentring leisure, rethinking leisure theory. London: Sage. Urry (1990).



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