Journal Article

Public park attributes, park visits, and associated health status

April 3, 2020

Landscape and Urban Planning, Vol.  199 (2020) 103814

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The salutary potential of urban greenspace for users’ physical and mental health has been investigated in a large number of empirical studies. Additionally, the pathways by which users derive health benefits from greenspace have been theorised; which include opportunities for psychological restorative experiences, physical activity and social interaction. In this paper, the relationship between health, current use of public greenspace and preferences for attributes within green settings are examined. First, we consider how several health indicators are associated with visits to greenspace to understand the benefits of current greenspace availability within cities. To address potential sorting and sample selection into greenspace use, a structural regression model is estimated within a two-step procedure. We also employ a choice experiment methodology to assess people’s preferences for attributes which can be provided in greenspaces. The utility afforded by each attribute is evaluated separately, facilitating an assessment of the potential increase in visitation associated with varying levels of greenspace attributes. Data originated from a survey of Irish citizens. Results indicate that higher levels of visitation to green spaces are related to better health. Moreover, the attribute preference exploration suggests that number of visits are likely to increase with the provision of specific greenspace attributes, particularly visitor facilities.