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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(1), 417-442; doi:10.3390/ijerph10010417
Article

Understanding Urban Green Space as a Health Resource: A Qualitative Comparison of Visit Motivation and Derived Effects among Park Users in Sheffield, UK

1,* , 2
,
3
 and
4
1 Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development, De Montfort University, Queens Building, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH, UK 2 University of Michigan Integrative Medicine Program, Department of Family Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48104, USA 3 Geography Department, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, EX4 4RJ, UK 4 Environment and Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter, Penryn, Cornwall TR10 9EZ, UK
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 December 2012 / Revised: 11 January 2013 / Accepted: 15 January 2013 / Published: 22 January 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Benefits of Nature)
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Abstract

With increasing interest in the use of urban green space to promote human health, there is a need to understand the extent to which park users conceptualize these places as a resource for health and well-being. This study sought to examine park users’ own reasons for and benefits from green space usage and compare these with concepts and constructs in existing person-environment-health theories and models of health. Conducted in 13 public green spaces in Sheffield, UK, we undertook a qualitative content analysis of 312 park users’ responses to open-ended interview questions and identified a breadth, depth and salience of visit motivators and derived effects. Findings highlight a discrepancy between reasons for visiting and derived effects from the use of urban green space. Motivations emphasized walking, green space qualities, and children. Derived effects highlighted relaxation, positive emotions within the self and towards the place, and spiritual well-being. We generate a taxonomy of motivations and derived effects that could facilitate operationalization within empirical research and articulate a conceptual framework linking motivators to outcomes for investigating green space as a resource for human health and well-being.
Keywords: green space; health; well-being; motivation; relaxation; physical activity; environment; restoration; place; stress green space; health; well-being; motivation; relaxation; physical activity; environment; restoration; place; stress
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Irvine, K.N.; Warber, S.L.; Devine-Wright, P.; Gaston, K.J. Understanding Urban Green Space as a Health Resource: A Qualitative Comparison of Visit Motivation and Derived Effects among Park Users in Sheffield, UK. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10, 417-442.

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