Improving Wellbeing through Urban Nature


Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

Seminar: Happy Cities:The Relationship Between Urban Greenspace Characteristics and Mental Wellbeing

Vikki Houlden, University of Warwick


Greenspace is a vital component of the built environment, with research showing that those living in greener areas report increased attention, feelings of happiness and reduced stress. With urbanisation increasing at an unprecedented rate, it is important that greenspaces are designed into urban areas to provide places for individuals to connect with nature, even if it is artificially constructed and maintained.

However, while the UK government makes some recommendations for greenspace design, these need to be optimised to provide the greatest benefit to the widest population. As we discovered through undertaking a systematic literature review, the current evidence for associations between greenspace and multidimensional (hedonic and eudaimonic) mental wellbeing is limited.

Our research therefore aims to identify different ways greenspace may be characterised, then test the government guidelines to determine which may be appropriate in designing for mental wellbeing. Using case studies in London, we calculated the amount of greenspace surrounding individuals’ homes (using both Euclidean and network buffers) and used spatial analyses to determine which buffers and types of greenspace reveal the strongest associations with mental wellbeing.

This talk will therefore discuss the different characterisations of greenspace and how and why these may be important for multidimensional mental wellbeing, as well as our findings for the inclusion of these types of greenspaces within London.

View slides from this seminar:  HERE