Transitional landscapes: examining landscape fragmentation within peri urban green spaces and its impacts upon human wellbeing
le Brasseur, Richard
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Transitional land uses produced through urbanisation continue to change the landscape and fragment ecological structures including green spaces across Europe (Nilsson et al., 2013). Green spaces offer significant benefits to humans, contributing to wellbeing and life satisfaction (Taylor, 2002). The understanding of how these unique green spaces spaces function and provide benefits to humans, and how landscape change in peri-urban contexts affects their performance, is important.The scope of this research is to contribute to an understanding of landscape fragmentation within some of Europe’s polycentric urban regions, their peri-urban green spaces, and the associated impacts upon human quality of life. Two urban regional case studies, Paisley near Glasgow, Scotland, and Vantaa, near Helsinki, Finland were analysed and compared.The results indicate that humans interacting with more physically or ecologically fragmented peri-urban green spaces have higher self-reported life satisfaction levels. Though no statistically significant characteristics were apparent between life satisfaction and fragmented green space characteristics, this research was able to identify those specific structural attributes and physical characteristics of interstitial peri-urban green spaces within a polycentric region in a fragmented state that contribute to the physical, social, and psychological aspects of human wellbeing. The statistically significant eco-spatial characteristics of polycentric peri-urban interstitial green spaces that are reported to impact human wellbeing are the size, proximity, maintenance and management, and the level of greenness within its vegetation composition and setting.Overall, a spatially diverse, fragmented, peri-urban landscape whose green spaces are extensively sized, naturalistically shaped with horizontal vegetation and normal sized edges, most often parks or woodlands or forests which are integrated and physically connected to another green space which is moderately clean and somewhat safe as well as being located close to or adjacent to a heavy-trafficked road provide the most human wellbeing benefits.
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