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The Role of Open Space in Urban Neighbourhoods for Health-Related Lifestyle

Department of Landscape Architecture, Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana, Jamnikarjeva 101, Ljubljana 1000, Slovenia
National Institute of Public Health, Trubarjeva 2, Ljubljana 1000, Slovenia
Medical Faculty, University of Ljubljana, Vrazov trg 2, Ljubljana 1104, Slovenia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(6), 6547-6570;
Received: 8 February 2014 / Revised: 9 June 2014 / Accepted: 12 June 2014 / Published: 23 June 2014
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The research reported in this paper addresses the relationship between quality of open space and health related lifestyle in urban residential areas. The research was performed in the residential developments in Ljubljana, Slovenia, dating from the time of political and economic changes in the early nineties. Compared to the older neighborhoods, these are typically single-use residential areas, with small open spaces and poor landscape design. The research is concerned with the quality of life in these areas, especially from the perspective of the vulnerable users, like the elderly and children. Both depend on easily accessible green areas in close proximity to their homes. The hypothesis is that the poor open space quality affects their health-related behavior and their perceived health status. The research has three methodological phases: (1) a comparison between urban residential areas by criteria describing their physical characteristics; (2) behavior observation and mapping and (3) a resident opinion survey. The results confirm differences between open spaces of the selected residential areas as well as their relation with outdoor activities: a lack of outdoor programs correlates with poor variety of outdoor activities, limited to transition type, less time spent outdoors and lower satisfaction with their home environment. The survey also disclosed a strong influence of a set of socio-economic variables such as education and economic status on physical activity and self-perceived health status of people. The results therefore confirm the hypothesis especially for less affluent and educated; i.e., vulnerable groups. View Full-Text
Keywords: urban green areas; neighborhoods; health related behavior; urban planning; vulnerable user groups; quality of life urban green areas; neighborhoods; health related behavior; urban planning; vulnerable user groups; quality of life

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Lestan, K.A.; Eržen, I.; Golobič, M. The Role of Open Space in Urban Neighbourhoods for Health-Related Lifestyle. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11, 6547-6570.

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