Green Space Attachment and Health: A Comparative Study in Two Urban Neighborhoods

Yang Zhang, Theodorus van Dijk, Jianjun Tang, Agnes van den Berg

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The positive relationships between urban green space and health have been well documented. Little is known, however, about the role of residents’ emotional attachment to local green spaces in these relationships, and how attachment to green spaces and health may be promoted by the availability of accessible and usable green spaces. The present research aimed to examine the links between self-reported health, attachment to green space, and the availability of accessible and usable green spaces. Data were collected via paper-mailed surveys in two neighborhoods (n = 223) of a medium-sized Dutch city in the Netherlands. These neighborhoods differ in the perceived and objectively measured accessibility and usability of green spaces, but are matched in the physically available amount of urban green space, as well as in demographic and socio-economic status, and housing conditions. Four dimensions of green space attachment were identified through confirmatory factor analysis: place dependence, affective attachment, place identity and social bonding. The results show greater attachment to local green space and better self-reported mental health in the neighborhood with higher availability of accessible and usable green spaces. The two neighborhoods did not differ, however, in physical and general health. Structural Equation Modelling confirmed the neighborhood differences in green space attachment and mental health, and also revealed a positive path from green space attachment to mental health. These findings convey the message that we should make green places, instead of green spaces.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14342-14363
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 12-Nov-2015


  • urban green spaces
  • wellbeing
  • Availability

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