Are greenspace attributes associated with perceived restorativeness? A comparative study of urban cemeteries and parks in Edinburgh, Scotland

Ka Yan Lai, Chinmoy Sarkar, Ziwen Sun, Iain Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The effects on the health and well-being of under-utilized and passive greenspace with specialist functions, for example the urban cemetery have been rarely studied. In this study, we aim to examine the differences in the associations between greenspace attributes and perceived restorativeness (defined as recovering from mental fatigue) across two urban greenspace typologies; namely, parks and cemeteries. Among sub-samples of the study participants, this research further explores if social (i.e., having knowledge of or a previous relationship to a deceased person interred in the cemetery) and geographical distance (i.e., residential street distance to the cemetery) had significant beneficial effect upon participants’ perceived restorativeness. A face-to-face on-site survey was conducted in Edinburgh comprising N1=113 and N2=120 participants from parks and cemeteries respectively. Geographic Information System (GIS) was used to measure the distance from interviewees’ home to the study sites, while multivariate linear regression models adjusting for sociodemographic covariates assessed the strength andsignificance of the associations. Among the greenspace attributes, pleasantness and aesthetic quality remained significant predictors of perceived restorativeness in the case of parks and cemeteries. In addition, safety was significantly associated with perceived restorativeness in the park-exposure group, whereas presence of good paths was significant only in the cemetery- exposure group. Significant effects of greenspace attributes upon restorativeness were reported only among participants without a deceased person interred in the cemetery and those residing beyond a distance of 800 meters. The study findings advance our knowledge of specific greenspace features in relation to two typologies of greenspaces and may point to the need to integrate cemetery strategy with the local authority’s urban greenspace planning and policy for optimizing the use of these thus far passive green areas.
Original languageEnglish
JournalUrban Forestry and Urban Greening
Early online date22 May 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 May 2020

Keywords

  • burial space
  • environment
  • GIS
  • neighbourhood
  • psychological restoration

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