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Review article - Peer-reviewed, 2019

Nature-based integration of immigrants in Europe: A review

Gentin, Sandra; Pitkanen, Kati; Chondromatidou, Anna Maria; Praestholm, Soren; Dolling, Ann; Palsdottir, Anna Maria


The European Commission has promoted revisiting and developing approaches for the successful integration of migrants all over Europe. One possible response to address this challenge is using nature as an arena for social integration of newcomers. In this study, we review European research on the relationship between nature and integration of immigrants. The aim is to contribute to the theoretical understanding of nature-based integration of immigrants as well as to reveal the possible contribution of nature and green spaces to the integration of immigrants in Europe. Based on a systematic review, we identified 11 European papers that linked nature to the integration of the immigrants. The relationship between nature and integration can be understood in terms of: 1) Structural integration describing access to common resources and main institutions of society, 2) cultural integration with aquisition of knowledge and competences, cultural aspects, common practices, general rules of behaviour, 3) interactive integration describing friendships and social interactions, 4) identificational integration with emotional bonds to other groups and places. According to the results, nature can be understood as a means to integration but also as a resource that should be equally accessible to all. This study concludes that in order to respond to the need for new solutions to the successful integration of immigrants, researchers should turn attention from describing and analyzing immigrants' perceptions and use of nature into developing and analyzing nature-based solutions and interventions for the purposes of integration.


Green spaces; Immigrant; Nature; Nature-based solutions; Social integration

Published in

Urban Forestry and Urban Greening
2019, Volume: 43, article number: 126379

      SLU Authors

    • Associated SLU-program


      Sustainable Development Goals

      SDG11 Sustainable cities and communities
      SDG3 Good health and well-being

      UKÄ Subject classification

      International Migration and Ethnic Relations
      Social Sciences Interdisciplinary

      Publication Identifiers


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