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Individual Highlight

Public Parks and Wellbeing in Urban Areas of the United States

Photo of Urban green space is among the strongest predictors of city dwellers' overall wellbeing. Snicky2290, Pixabay.Urban green space is among the strongest predictors of city dwellers' overall wellbeing. Snicky2290, Pixabay.Snapshot : The amount of urban green space is among the strongest predictors of city dwellers' overall wellbeing, report Forest Service scientists. Understanding the relationship between green space and wellbeing is an important factor to consider in the pursuit of sustainable development. This article is the first empirical study to investigate the role of public parks and subjective wellbeing in urban areas across the United States.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Jennings, Viniece 
Research Station : Southern Research Station (SRS)
Year : 2016
Highlight ID : 992

Summary

This project aims to advance the understanding of cultural ecosystem services to human wellbeing, particularly in urban areas of the United States. Using a comprehensive measure of wellbeing (the Gallup-Healthways Survey) and the Park Score Index from the Trust of Public Lands, this empirical study is the first to analyze the link between urban parks and subjective well-being across the U.S. The study bridges key knowledge gaps by identifying domains of wellbeing for urban residents and analyzing wellbeing in the context of urban green spaces such as parks. It found that park quantity, measured as the percentage of city area covered by public parks, was among the strongest predictors of overall wellbeing. The strength of this relationship seemed to be driven by parks' contributions to community and physical wellbeing. Other findings from this study imply that expansive park networks are linked to multiple aspects of health and wellbeing in cities and overall quality of life.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

 
  • Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management at Clemson University
  • School of Sustainability at Arizona State University