Comparative study will identify key factors influencing behaviour

£1.3m grant for research into park use and health

A team led by the University of Sheffield’s Department of Landscape has been awarded £1.3m by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) to research park use in the city and its impact on health.

The three-year study will compare behaviour in different neighbourhoods and ask whether the quantity and quality of available green space correlates with health. It will also seek to identify the most important factors in a healthy green space – design, location, biodiversity, or other features – and measure their cost effectiveness.

The resarchers also plan to develop a smartphone app that will monitor how factors such as age, money, culture and class influence how people use their local green spaces.

Project leader Dr Anna Jorgensen said: ‘This project will develop a more nuanced understanding of the distribution of urban natural environments and health inequalities. We aim to understand the cultures and values that influence how people of different ages and backgrounds interact with the natural environment as well as find out more about which aspects of the natural environment are beneficial for health and wellbeing. The aim is to improve the health and wellbeing of city residents through well designed green spaces.’

The project will also involve researchers from University of Derby, Heriot-Watt University and University of Cardiff as well as the Wildlife Trusts, Recovery Enterprises and the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare.

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