Green space in the residential environment is associated with a range of health benefits but there is very little evidence on the impacts of environmental interventions in nearby green space on patterns of use, physical activity, or perceptions of the neighbourhood environment. This paper presents the results of a study involving a natural experiment: improvements under the Woods In and Around Town (WIAT) programme in a disadvantaged urban community, compared with a similar community without environmental interventions in local green space, both in Glasgow, Scotland. A repeat cross-sectional survey of the community resident within 500m of the local woodlands or green space (n=215), used a quota sampling framework based on each community's demographic profile. Outcome measures included perceptions of neighbourhood quality of life, neighbourhood environment, and local woodland qualities, frequency of woodland visits and levels of outdoor physical activity. Results show highly significant (p<0.001) difference over time in the intervention site in perceptions of the quality of the physical neighbourhood environment, an indicator of quality of life. The research also found significant differences in woodland use (p<0.001), in the frequency of summer woodland visits (p<0.05), in attitudes to woodlands as places for physical activity (p<0.01) and in perceptions of safety (p<0.05) in the intervention site over time, compared with no significant change in the comparison site. We conclude that environmental interventions in deprived urban locations can positively impact on use patterns, perceptions of environment and, potentially, activity levels and quality of life.
- green space
- urban forestry