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Open AccessArticle

What Personal and Environmental Factors Determine Frequency of Urban Greenspace Use?

Sustainability Research Institute, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK
Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE), School of Anthropology and Conservation, University of Kent, Canterbury CT2 7NR, UK
Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences Research Group, James Hutton Institute, Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen AB15 8QH, UK
Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK
Environment and Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter, Penryn, Cornwall TR10 9FE, UK
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 7977-7992;
Received: 16 June 2014 / Revised: 25 July 2014 / Accepted: 31 July 2014 / Published: 7 August 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Benefits of Nature)
For many people, urban greenspaces are the only places where they encounter the natural world. This is concerning as there is growing evidence demonstrating that human well-being is enhanced by exposure to nature. There is, therefore, a compelling argument to increase how frequently people use urban greenspaces. This may be achieved in two complementary ways by encouraging: (I) non-users to start visiting urban greenspaces; (II) existing users to visit more often. Here we examine the factors that influence frequency of greenspace visitation in the city of Sheffield, England. We demonstrate that people who visit a site least frequently state lower self-reported psychological well-being. We hypothesised that a combination of socio-demographic characteristics of the participants, and the biophysical attributes of the greenspaces that they were visiting, would be important in influencing visit frequency. However, socio-demographic characteristics (income, age, gender) were not found to be predictors. In contrast, some biophysical attributes of greenspaces were significantly related to use frequency. Frequent use was more likely when the time taken to reach a greenspace was shorter and for sites with a higher index of greenspace neglect, but were unrelated to tree cover or bird species richness. We related these results to the motivations that people provide for their visits. Infrequent users were more likely to state motivations associated with the quality of the space, while frequent users gave motivations pertaining to physical, repeated activities. This suggests that there may be no simple way to manage greenspaces to maximise their use across user cohorts as the motivations for visits are very different. View Full-Text
Keywords: ecosystem services; psychological well-being; urban ecology; urbanisation; motivation ecosystem services; psychological well-being; urban ecology; urbanisation; motivation
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Dallimer, M.; Davies, Z.G.; Irvine, K.N.; Maltby, L.; Warren, P.H.; Gaston, K.J.; Armsworth, P.R. What Personal and Environmental Factors Determine Frequency of Urban Greenspace Use? Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11, 7977-7992.

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