The 2011 greenspace public use and attitude survey shows that Scots are using urban greenspaces less often than in previous years. The results also reveal that fewer people thought their local greenspace was a good place for their children to play or a safe place for physical activity.

Since 2004, when greenspace scotland first commissioned its biennial survey of greenspace use and attitudes, the number of people using Scotland’s urban greenspaces regularly had been rising. The 2011 survey shows a dramatic decline with the number of people using their local greenspaces once a week or more often falling from two-thirds (63%) in 2009 to just over half (54%) in 2011. People in the most deprived areas of Scotland are using their greenspaces even less often – with just 45% using them once a week.

This decrease in use is mirrored by significant falls in people’s rating (strongly agree) of their local greenspaces as: safe places for physical activity (60% in 2009 down to 49% in 2011); places where you can relax and unwind (63% down to 50%); attractive places (57% down to 48%); and good places for children to play (59% down to 52%). Previous surveys had shown clear upward trends with people increasingly agreeing strongly that their local greenspaces where good places for play, physical activity, relaxation.

The 2011 survey  also  provided an insight for the first time into Scotland’s growing habits with new questions about growing your own fruit and veg:
  • nearly one-third (32%) of urban Scots grow their own fruit and veg
  • most people are growing in their own gardens (87%) with allotments at 5% and backcourt/backgreen at 4%
  • people in the most deprived areas of Scotland are significantly less likely to grow their own veg - at just 14%
Of the two-thirds who not currently involved in growing:
  • around a quarter (26%) would like to grow their own vegetables (that’s around 800,000 people across urban Scotland!)
  • for most, lack of a garden is the main barrier (39%), closely followed by lack of time (35%)
  • issues with availability of allotments (can’t get one, none nearby, waiting list too long) was a factor for 4% of respondents

Read the full survey report and the media release

The reports from the earlier omnibus surveys (public use and attitude surveys) can be downloaded from the publications section

About the survey

The 2011 greenspace survey was commissioned by greenspace scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Central Scotland Green Network Support Unit. This is the fourth greenspace survey with data also being available for 2009, 2007 and 2004.

The data was gathered using the Scottish Opinion omnibus survey. This survey involves conducting 1,000 telephone interviews on a weekly basis with a sample of adults aged 18+ representative of the Scottish population. As the focus of the survey is on people living in urban areas, defined as settlements with over 3,000 people, a screening question asked respondents whether they lived in a town or city. The omnibus was then boosted to achieve an overall urban Scotland of 1,000 responses from those living in urban areas.

1,114 interviews were completed with respondents stating that they lived in a town or city with an average interview length of 7 minutes. This sample provides a data set with a margin of error of between ±0.82% and ±2.94% at the 95% confidence interval (market research industry standard). Further detail on the methodology, data processing and analysis can be found in report.


The following is available for download: