Accessibility and use of peri-urban green space for inner-city dwellers: A comparative study

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Peri-urban landscape, space between the rural and urban setting, has generally been seen in planning practice as space in a transient state, likely to be developed in the future. However, research has shown that peri-urban green spaces have increasingly been used for recreational and leisure purposes by urban and rural dwellers.

This study aims to explore whether, if urban dwellers' preferred green spaces are large peri-urban semi-natural areas, they will nonetheless be used only infrequently if the accessibility of these spaces is not swift.

A questionnaire-based survey and focus groups were conducted to collect data from around 380 urban dwellers in two European cities of similar size but contrasting green space strategies, Ljubljana (green wedges strategy) and Edinburgh (green belt strategy). The results showed expected, strong cross-cultural preference for semi-natural landscapes (as opposed to formal parks and playing fields), such as woodlands, fields, waterways, etc. High appreciation and high use of green corridors was a more unexpected result. In addition, coastal landscapes appeared to be popular in Edinburgh and larger, peri-urban open spaces in Ljubljana. The frequency of visits to peri-urban spaces was considerably higher in Ljubljana, due to swift accessibility of the city's green wedges. In both cities, perceptions of distance to travel were the major barrier to frequent use of peri-urban green spaces. The findings suggest that green corridors enable enjoyable and easy access to semi-natural spaces in and around the city. This should be taken into account in future planning, as part of any wider green space strategies
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-205
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
Early online date26 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2017


  • peri-urban
  • landscape


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