Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Exploring perceived wellbeing from urban parks: Insights from a mega-city in Latin America

Version 1 : Received: 2 August 2020 / Approved: 4 August 2020 / Online: 4 August 2020 (03:45:30 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Parra-Saldívar, A.; Abades, S.; Celis-Diez, J.L.; Gelcich, S. Exploring Perceived Well-Being from Urban Parks: Insights from a Megacity in Latin America. Sustainability 2020, 12, 7586. Parra-Saldívar, A.; Abades, S.; Celis-Diez, J.L.; Gelcich, S. Exploring Perceived Well-Being from Urban Parks: Insights from a Megacity in Latin America. Sustainability 2020, 12, 7586.

Journal reference: Sustainability 2020, 12, 7586
DOI: 10.3390/su12187586

Abstract

Urbanization has impacted biodiversity and ecosystems at a global scale. At the same time, it has been recognized as a driver of the gap between humans and nature. The lack of direct contact with nature can deteriorate several aspects of human wellbeing, and change knowledge and attitudes of people towards the environment. However, this phenomenon is still poorly understood in Megacities outside developed countries. Here, we explore the relationship between ecological knowledge and self-reported wellbeing in an important urban park in Santiago, Chile. We conducted semi-structured surveys to park users to explore their notions, preferences, ecological knowledge of plants and birds and self-reported wellbeing. Citizens associated urban parks mainly with “nature”, and particularly with the presence of trees and plants. Trees were recognized as the most relevant elements of urban parks, in turn, birds were ranked as the less relevant. Regarding ecological knowledge, respondents correctly identified an average of 2.01 plants and 2.44 birds out of a total of 10 for each taxon, and exotic species were more likely to be recognized. Park users also reported high scores for self-reported wellbeing. Interestingly, variance of self-reported wellbeing scores tended to increase at low levels of ecological knowledge of trees, but no significant relationship was detected with knowledge of birds, nor native species. These results suggest that parks can positively contribute to bring people closer to nature. Ecological knowledge was related to self-reported wellbeing. Improving ecological knowledge can be critical to restore the relationship between humans and nature in megacities.

Subject Areas

Urban ecology; ecological knowledge; socio-ecology; urban birds; urban vegetation; exotic species; Biocultural homogenization

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