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Forskningsartikel2023Vetenskapligt granskadÖppen tillgång

Why don't we go outside?-Perceived constraints for users of urban greenspace in Sweden

Dawson, Lucas; Elbakidze, Marine; van Ermel, L. E. Kraft; Olsson, Ulf; Ongena, Yfke P.; Schaffer, Christina; Johansson, Karl -Erik


Urban greenspace (UGS) is important for human wellbeing, particularly physical and mental health, and is claimed to support social cohesion. However, the expansion and densification of urban centres in recent decades has occurred largely at the expense of UGS. This risks its attractiveness for users. Although recent research has identified various factors that influence the use of UGS in different contexts, few studies have taken an explicit, bottom-up approach to understand which factors constrain willingness to use it. This study analyses responses from an online survey in Sweden (N = 2806) to identify the main constraints to UGS usage, and for whom these are constraints. Respondents could select from 22 different types of constraints - relating to incivilities, man-agement, accessibility and availability, safety, and personal issues. Respondents could also provide comments to identify additional constraints. Incivilities were the most perceived problem. For example, litter was selected by 53% of respondents, while vandalism was selected by 24%. At the same time, many respondents perceived few or no constraints - 59% stated that nothing prevented them from using UGS, while 35% stated that they saw no problems. Safety-related and accessibility/availability constraints were not strongly identified although many respondents commented that UGS in Sweden is inadequate given the large number of users, and that the UGS that people want to use the most is often inaccessible without a car. Multiple binary logistic regression was used to investigate relationships between perceptions of constraints and fourteen predictor variables. Odds ratios were used to determine whether significant (p < 0.05) relationships were meaningful. Our findings show that different groups have starkly divergent perceptions of constraints relating to UGS. Several key factors - including age, self -reported nature-connectedness, distance to UGS, and frequency of use - were associated with a heightened likelihood of perceiving different groups of constraints. However, relationships between constraints and factors relating to environmental justice were not straightforward. These findings indicate the complexity of UGS planning challenges relating to densification, the New Urban Agenda and promotion of societal benefits, and a need to further integrate multiple user perspectives, especially of younger adults and infrequent users.


Urban planning; Green infrastructure; Social cohesion; Urbanisation; SDG 11; New Urban agenda

Publicerad i

Urban Forestry and Urban Greening
2023, Volym: 82, artikelnummer: 127865Utgivare: ELSEVIER GMBH