The Value of Nearby Nature to Urban Societies: Examples from Copenhagen, Denmark

by Gina M. Gil

Institution: Roskilde University
Year: 2014
Record ID: 1120217
Full text PDF: http://rudar.ruc.dk/handle/1800/14922


The transformation of cities to improve the quality of life for their residents is at the forefront of the minds of urban planners and urban residents. As awareness of environmental problems such as global climate change rises and cities continue to grow, there are many questions being raised about how we can plan our cities to be more environmentally sustainable as well as increase resident satisfaction with the quality of life that is experienced in a city. This thesis explores the question of how the presence of green areas, such as small parks, urban gardens and other nature elements affects the quality of life of urban residents. The project was undertaken by researching the development of green space in Copenhagen, Denmark, a city known for its effective and positive contribution to innovative public policy in the realm of the environment. A small case study was conducted in the Vesterbro neighborhood because the researcher had a special interest in inner city neighborhoods where green space is typically lacking. A review of research literature in the areas of urban ecology and environmental psychology revealed a great deal of research confirming that there are social, economic and health benefits related to access to green space within the urban context.This finding was somewhat confirmed by the case study of Enghave Plads and Enghave Plads Gårdhave through the observations of the use of the space, conversations with visitors to Enghave Plads and interviews with renovation project leaders. It was concluded that the people who benefit most from the Enghave Plads project in which green space was increased are those who are directly involved in the planning and design of the place. The conclusions based on the literature confirm this finding to an extent though there is indication others also benefit and that the form of the space must suit the particular cultural and social context. Access and proximity to one’s residence appears to be more important than size or even form of the green space.