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Research article2014Peer reviewedOpen access

Green perception for well-being in dense urban areas : a tool for socioeconomic integration

Skärbäck, Erik; Björk, Jonas; Stoltz, Jonathan; Rydell-Andersson, Kristin; Grahn, Patrik


A previous study (n = 24,819) of semi-urban and rural areas in the Skåne region, southern Sweden, showed that people living in flats are dependent on having green space with several characteristics for different affordances close to their homes to be satisfied with their neighbourhood. The two studies presented in this paper focuses on the urban area of Malmö, the largest city in Skåne. Equivalent criteria for the presence of certain characteristics within 300 m from home were used, however analysed from other kinds of data than the regional study. In both the previous rural/semi-urban study as well as the urban studies presented here, respondents report being more satisfied with their neighbourhood the more qualities that are present within 300 m of their home. Less than half of the apartment-dwelling respondents in the Malmö urban area are satisfied with their neighbourhood if less than half of the characteristics are available within 300 m. Even when there are few characteristics close by, people living in their own house are generally more satisfied with their neighbourhood (70 % or more irrespective of area type) than tenants are. A relatively high concordance between the two studies, despite the fact that they represent different kinds of landscape (semi-urban and rural vs. urban) and different scales (region vs. municipality), adds validity to the recreational characteristics as a tool for assessing well-being qualities of neighbourhood landscapes. The results from the studies of Malmö were also related to average household income and a clear association between our studies’ data on accessibility to serene areas and household income was found. This finding suggests that creating additional serene green space in low-income areas could be a tool to help the municipality reduce segregation.


well-being; perception; characteristics; park; nature; recreation; socio economy; densification

Published in

The Nordic Journal of Architectural Research
2014, Volume: 26, number: 2, pages: 179-205