Blooming alleys for better health: Exploring impacts of small-scale greenspaces on neighborhood wellbeing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Rapid urbanization has decreased opportunities for nature contact while increasing stressors from pollution, strenuous commutes, and sedentary work environments. With an additional 2.5 billion people expected to reside in cities by 2050, novel solutions are required to integrate urban natures. Urban parks and greenways provide opportunities for restorative nature experiences, but the benefits of small-scale greenspace remain relatively unstudied. Subsequently, this study explores perceived wellbeing associated with residing near ‘green alleys.’ Focus groups and interviews revealed most respondents did not identify specific mental health impacts, but factors known to contribute to mental wellbeing emerged. Results indicate that green-alley residents receive health benefits regardless of their explicit recognition. Implications for urban planners include the need for increased intentional greening of small-scale urban spaces with consideration to residents’ aesthetic preferences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number126950
JournalUrban Forestry and Urban Greening
Volume57
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank Dr. Carissa Slotterback at the University of Minnesota and Michael Martin at Iowa State University for their guidance and feedback. Thank you also to the team at Metro Blooms for their collaboration, in particular Laura Scholl and Rebecca Rice. Finally, thank you to Elena Tsakakis at the University of Minnesota for assisting with focus group facilitation. Funding for this project was provided by the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020

Keywords

  • Aesthetic preference
  • Attention restoration theory
  • Green alleys
  • Green infrastructure
  • Greenspace
  • Nature dose
  • Small-scale urban greenspace
  • Stress reduction theory

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