Needs and expectations of German and Chinese children for livable urban green spaces revealed by the method of empathy-based stories

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Xi , S , Mesimäki , M , Kotze , J , Wales , M , Xie , L , Benicke , R & Lehvävirta , S 2022 , ' Needs and expectations of German and Chinese children for livable urban green spaces revealed by the method of empathy-based stories ' , Urban Forestry & Urban Greening , vol. 68 , 127476 . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ufug.2022.127476

Title: Needs and expectations of German and Chinese children for livable urban green spaces revealed by the method of empathy-based stories
Author: Xi, Shu; Mesimäki, Marja; Kotze, Johan; Wales, Mark; Xie, Long; Benicke, Renan; Lehvävirta, Susanna
Contributor organization: Ecosystems and Environment Research Programme
Fifth Dimension - Vegetated roofs and walls in urban areas
Department of Microbiology
Helsinki Institute of Urban and Regional Studies (Urbaria)
Department of Agricultural Sciences
Department of Economics and Management
Faculty Common Matters
Date: 2022-02
Language: eng
Number of pages: 14
Belongs to series: Urban Forestry & Urban Greening
ISSN: 1618-8667
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ufug.2022.127476
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/340804
Abstract: One of the important features of cities is to provide high-quality outdoor environments for various groups of citizens. Although children are frequent users of green spaces, the knowledge and perspectives applied in planning and design of urban green spaces are mostly defined by adults. This results in spaces and practices that may limit the daily lives and creativity of urban children. Promoting child-friendly cities benefits from knowledge produced by children themselves, regarding their perceptions and experiences, as well as ideas and suggestions. This study provides empirical results concerning children's needs and mental images for urban green spaces in two urban areas in two countries (Chengdu, China, and Ruhr Region, Germany). 765 children, ages 8-10 were surveyed through the method of empathy-based stories (MEBS). Participants were asked to use their imagination to write stories according to given scenarios. Our study shows that MEBS can be used to gather meaningful data with children, and that children are an important stakeholder group in urban planning, landscape design and management with an ability to express their diverse needs and preferences towards green spaces. Both designed green spaces (e.g. gardens, parks) and wild nature (e.g. forests, meadows) can offer a range of activities and experiences for children in their everyday lives: opportunities for play, socializing, contact with nature, aesthetic and restorative experiences, learning and exploration. Our findings include indications of children's awareness of the diverse ecosystem services that green spaces provide, as well as of urban sustain ability and livability. While we found German and Chinese children to have corresponding needs and expectations regarding urban green spaces and nature, we also found some variation. We suggest that the use of, and experiences in green spaces are linked not only to the landscape but also to conceptual-cultural contexts.
Subject: 519 Social and economic geography
Child-friendly cities
Green infrastructure
Nature-based solutions
Role-playing method
Text mining
PHYSICAL-ACTIVITY
INDEPENDENT MOBILITY
PLAY
PERCEPTION
LIVABILITY
LANDSCAPE
COMMUNITY
SAFETY
WATER
Peer reviewed: Yes
Rights: cc_by
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: publishedVersion


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