The role of urban parks for the sustainable city

A. Chiesura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1082 Citations (Scopus)


International efforts to preserve the natural environment are mainly concerned with large, bio-diverse and relatively untouched ecosystems or with individual animal or vegetal species, either endangered or threatened with extinction. Much less attention is being paid to that type of nature close to where people live and work, to small-scale green areas in cities and to their benefits to people. Increasing empirical evidence, however, indicates that the presence of natural areas contributes to the quality of life in many ways. Besides many environmental and ecological services, urban nature provides important social and psychological benefits to human societies, which enrich human life with meanings and emotions. The main concern of this paper is to address the importance of urban nature for citizens' well being and for the sustainability of the city they inhabit. Some results of a survey conducted among visitors of an urban park in Amsterdam (The Netherlands) are presented and discussed. The issues investigated concern people's motives for urban nature, the emotional dimension involved in the experience of nature and its importance for people's general well being. Results confirm that the experience of nature in urban environment is source of positive feelings and beneficial services, which fulfill important immaterial and non-consumptive human needs. Implications for the sustainability of the city will be analyzed and discussed. (C) 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-138
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • urban parks
  • urban society
  • urban areas
  • urban recreation
  • sustainability
  • inner-city
  • open space
  • environment
  • preference
  • landscapes
  • values
  • trees

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