Improving nature experience in cities What are people's preferences for vegetated streets?

Abstract : In the current context of strong urban sprawl, it becomes urgent to find urban approaches that simultaneously promote ecological functions and relationships between people and nature in cities. Streets are omnipresent urban elements that can deliver ecosystem services and facilitate people daily interactions with nature. Promoting vegetation in streets can take different forms which have to be combined with people's preferences. Based on photomontages, we assessed people's perceptions and valuations for herbaceous vegetation types associated to various managements and designs of pavements. Using a combination of a local field survey and a French national online survey, we collected a total of 3609 responses representing a large diversity of socio-demographic characteristics. The results of the field survey confirmed those of the online survey. Although there was variability among people valuations, we found that lowly managed pavements with spontaneous vegetation were in average higher valued than highly managed pavements without vegetation. Pavements with spontaneous vegetation were perceived as less kept than pavements without vegetation, but more beautiful and less boring. We found a consensus of high valuations towards pavements containing vegetation integrated in small design interventions (flowers seeded in foot of wall, design of a meadow strip along the pavement), suggesting that people generally accept vegetation with visible signs of human actions or managements. Socio-demographic characteristics partly explained variabilities in photo valuations. As expected, people frequently connected with nature had the highest preferences for vegetated pavements, spontaneous or integrated in designs. These results show that vegetated streets can become daily biodiversity-friendly urban greenspaces appreciated by urban dwellers. We provide recommendations for promoting vegetation in streets that will be useful for politics, urban designers and managers.
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Submitted on : Friday, November 9, 2018 - 1:52:51 PM
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Sébastien Bonthoux, Simon Chollet, Ianis Balat, Nicolas Legay, Lolita Voisin. Improving nature experience in cities What are people's preferences for vegetated streets?. Journal of Environmental Management, Elsevier, 2018, 230, pp.335-344. ⟨10.1016/j.jenvman.2018.09.056⟩. ⟨hal-01903121⟩

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