The Impact of Urban Parks and Green Spaces on Citizens’ Health and Quality of Life
International efforts to preserve the natural environment are mainly concerned with large, bio-diverse and relatively untouched ecosystems; less attention is being paid to nature close to where people live and work, to small green areas in cities and their benefits to people. Green spaces other than environmental sustainability have an important role in social sustainability, pedestrian movement, gathering, socializing and mental health.
One vital role that urban parks play is providing space for the expression of diversity, both personal and cultural. Increase in "virtual" transactions has obviated the need for real, social interaction, but there is evidence that engagement in the productive aspect of our landscape can increase and enhance use of urban parks.
Increasing proofs indicate that the presence of natural areas contribute to the quality of life in many ways. Besides many environmental and ecological services, urban nature provides important social and psychological benefits to human societies, which enrich human life with meanings and emotions. The main concern of this paper is to address the importance of urban nature for citizens’ well being and for the sustainability of the city. The results of a survey conducted among visitors of an urban park in Tehran are presented and discussed in comparison to the same survey in Amsterdam (The Netherlands). The issues investigated concern people’s motives for urban nature, the emotional dimension involved in the experience of nature, its importance for people’s general well being and the role of culture in this matter. Results confirm that in both surveys the experience of nature in urban environment is the source of positive feelings and beneficial services, which fulfill important immaterial and non-consumptive human needs. The survey shows that culture and belief has an important role in citizens’ answers.
Keywords: Urban Parks, Green Spaces, Quality of Life, Sustainability, Culture
Dr. Mohsen Faizi
Dean of Faculty, School of Architecture and Urban Studies, Iran University of Science and Technology (IUST), Tehran, Iran
Iran University of Science and Technology (IUST)