From contest to context: urban green space and public policy

DOBSON, Julian (2018). From contest to context: urban green space and public policy. People, Place and Policy Online, 12 (2), 72-83.

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The role of urban green spaces in supporting mental and physical wellbeing is well evidenced. At a time when mental ill-health is seen as a major factor limiting the life chances of the poorest groups in society, the case for the provision and protection of natural urban environments would appear indisputable. Yet establishing direct causal links between natural environments and specific health outcomes is complex and problematic. Different green spaces contribute to experiences of wellbeing in different ways for different people. Public policies that seek to employ green space to achieve health objectives through ‘interventions’ or ‘prescriptions’ are thus fraught with difficulties. Rather than seeing green space as an instrumental factor or ‘dose’ in improving wellbeing, this paper, based on emerging findings from research in Sheffield, UK, argues that policymakers need to think of multifunctional natural environments as essential contexts for the promotion of wellbeing. Urban austerity, however, acts as a countervailing context-changing driver, reframing wellbeing within a narrative of public service cost control.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1605 Policy and Administration; 1608 Sociology; 1801 Law
Identification Number:
Page Range: 72-83
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 11 May 2021 16:05
Last Modified: 11 May 2021 16:15

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