IJERPH, Vol. 16, Pages 2464: Experiences of the Urban Green Local Environment as a Factor for Well-Being among Adults: An Exploratory Qualitative Study in Southern Sweden (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
The amount and quality of greenness in the local outdoor environment has repeatedly been linked to human well-being. Different types of green areas are likely required in order to meet the various needs of people throughout the course of their lives and with regard to individual social and economic living conditions. The aim of the present study was to increase the understanding of different pathways between green environments, well-being and health. We conducted 16 interviews to explore perceptions and experiences among adults residing in a semi-urban to urban area and derived categories and subcategories from the data using content analysis. We identified six categories; promoting activities, supporting social contacts, stimulating sensory impressions, providing a retreat, offering ways to influence and creating a sense of coherence, and we recognized that the availability to, and contrasts between and maintenance of the environment were experienced as prerequisites for health-promoting properties of the green local environment. The results illustrate a rich variety in potential pathways through which the green local environment may promote well-being. The study highlights the need to plan the local environment from multiple perspectives, as well as carefully considering prerequisites of various kinds in order for the green environment to support health across the life-course.