Espoo residents experience the advantages of local nature in various ways

Published: 15.10.2021 8.19Updated: 29.11.2021 8.16
Two hikers in a forest with backpacks.
Espoo residents value biodiversity. Photo: Janne Ketola, Summit Media Oy.

The My Nature Benefits (‘Minun luontohyötyni’) survey charted the experiences of residents of the natural benefits and significance of local nature.

The City of Espoo used the survey to compile experiences of residents about the ways in which local nature affects well-being. Almost 400 residents responded to the survey. The responses showed Espoo benefits from having nature as a valued special feature. The city being made denser and familiar green areas being built on are considered a threat to the attractiveness of the area and the well-being of the residents. Nature experiences also affect how well the residents like living in their home district.

‘Local nature is a significant part of the everyday lives of people living in Espoo. The survey was carried out using a map-based tool in order to provide more accurate information on the versatile significance of nature to the residents,’ says Landscape Architect Heidi Ahlgren.

Forests in their natural state and local nature are important to the residents

The development of recreational areas divides public opinion. Some would like to keep the forests in their natural state and as untouched as possible, while some seek more marked routes and guidance. In addition to the natural forests, residents value the grassy areas on the sides of streets, flower beds and fields, and block parks, which increase the pleasantness of the residential areas.

Benefits of nature significant to residents of Espoo, collected from the responses of residents:

  • Vegetation within the city affects the climate of a certain small area, increasing the pleasantness of the area, revitalising and refreshing people, and cleansing the air, for example.
  • Greenery increases the pleasantness of residential areas and reduces environmental disruptions such as noise, air pollution, and the strain on the water system. Green areas and vegetation provide natural experiences, from individual trees to parks or extensive green areas.
  • Residents of Espoo like going to their local forests and parks. They provide a place to relax and refresh, do sports and enjoy outdoor recreation.  Moving in nature is a social event: people go out with their friends and family. People experience the joy of exercise and pick berries and mushrooms.
  • More extensive green areas are significant places for the residents. The markings on the map show which places people considered to be of particular importance. The markings are spread around Espoo, mostly along the shore, in the Central Park, in the forests nearby and the parks in Tapiola, as well as the recreational areas in Northern Espoo.
  • Most respondents felt that preserving biodiversity and the absorption of carbon dioxide in vegetation are important factors.

    Location information is used to assist the development of the city

    The Espoo Urban Planning Centre will utilise the location information collected in the survey and the compiled information on the relationship of the residents to nature in the development of the green network of the city. The information will be used as initial data particularly in master planning, which steers the development of the city in the long run.

  • See the summary of the answers here(extrernal link)
  • Nature benefits are also examined in the Nature benefits in the city structure of Espoo report(extrernal link) (‘Luontohyödyt Espoon kaupunkirakenteessa’) from 2018. 
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Places marked in the survey by the residents as significant for outdoor recreational activities and relaxation. Green spots: relaxation. Orange spots:outdoor recreation.
  • Nature
  • Zoning
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