Residents of Espoo feel green areas have a significant impact on comfort and well-being

Published: 30.12.2021 11.53
A person walking a dog on a pavement in a park.
Most survey respondents felt that the ease of accessing a pleasant green area has a significant effect on where they choose to live.Photo: Patrik Fagerström

Espoo’s residents enjoy verdant, quiet and calm environments that offer ample opportunities for outdoor recreation. The City’s City Planning Division carried out a survey to identify the type of green areas that the residents value. The survey was targeted at residents of Tapiola, Leppävaara, Matinkylä, Espoonlahti and Espoon keskus, and the number of respondents was roughly 380.

The purpose of the survey was to assess how important green areas are to the residents of Espoo’s urban centres and which ones they use the most frequently. Furthermore, residents were asked what sort of green areas they find unpleasant and where such places are located.

Most survey respondents felt that the ease of accessing a pleasant green area has a significant effect on where they choose to live. In addition to that, respondents from all the urban centres said that being able to see greenery from their windows is very important. However, none of the urban centres’ respondents felt that having a rented allotment or a shared yard was a particularly important feature.

Based on the survey results, local green areas in all the urban centres match the residents’ preferences relatively well. Residents feel that these green areas are important, as they serve as venues for exercise, stress reduction and rejuvenation.

However, some areas of improvement were also mentioned, including the green areas’ management and cleanliness. In particular, residents of Matinkylä, Olari and Tapiola felt that the management and cleanliness of their local green areas was lacking. For example, the attractiveness of Tapiola’s green areas is affected by geese in the summer, while residents of Matinkylä and Olari felt that many of their local green areas are too small and unsafe.

According to residents, noise, a small size, insufficient management, large crowds and people’s disruptive behaviour are features that make a green area feel unpleasant. However, the number of such green areas was relatively low and no specific area was highlighted in the responses.

Tapiola’s residents use green areas and parks to meet with others, while in the other centres the social element is not such an important factor for enjoying these places. In addition to this, residents feel that green areas are easy to access on foot and by bicycle.

The survey results provide important information about local values, the residents’ views and wishes, and ideas about how these areas could be further developed. Furthermore, the material can be used to analyse more extensively the needs and expectations regarding the quality and accessibility of green areas. This information will be utilised when improving Espoo’s green area network, urban structures and accessibility.

You can find more information in Finnish in the report compiled based on the resident survey (in Finnish).

Ella Stark has written a master’s thesis based on the survey results: Viheralueisiin liittyvät kokemukset ja merkitykset Espoon kaupunkikeskuksissa asukasnäkökulmasta(extrernal link) (in Finnish).

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