Urban greenspace findings

Scotland’s People and Nature Survey (SPANS) is a quantitative survey which measures how people in Scotland use, value and enjoy the natural environment. The survey incorporated questions previously asked in greenspace scotland’s Greenspace Use and Attitude Surveys. A report of findings relating to urban greenspace has been published.

Key findings include:

Three-quarters of respondents living in urban areas in Scotland reported living within a 10 minute walk of their local greenspace (75%) and just over half reported that they lived within a 5 minute walk (55%).

There is a clear association between proximity to greenspace and level of affluence, with those in the more affluent population groups more likely than average to live within a 5 minute walk of greenspace.  In addition, those who had undertaken physical exercise in the outdoors in the week prior to interview and those who reported their level of health to be ‘good’ were also more likely to live close to greenspace.

Around three-quarters of urban residents (2.4 million people) made at least one visit to a local greenspace area in the 12 months prior to interview (76%).  Almost half visited their local greenspace on a weekly basis during that period (47%).

The vast majority of the urban population agreed strongly that, in general, greenspaces should be ‘good places for children to play’ (85%), ‘safe places to encourage physical activity’ (83%), ‘places to relax and unwind in’ (82%) and ‘attractive places’ (78%).  When asked to rate their local greenspaces using the same measures, however, fewer than half of urban residents agreed strongly that their local greenspaces met these expectations.

33% of urban residents agreed that their local greenspace quality had reduced in recent years.  Factors related to affluence appear to play a part in people’s perceptions of local greenspace quality, with those living in council housing, those living in the 15% most deprived areas of Scotland and/or those in the DE social grade more likely than average to perceive a reduction in greenspace quality in the past five years.

Read the greenspace survey report and the media release.



Read the full greenspace survey report here and the media release.

The full SNH Commissioned report No. 679, Scotland’s People and Nature Survey 2013/14 report can be found on the Scottish Natural Heritage website here

An accompanying Technical Report is also available here


The Scotland’s People and Nature Survey (SPANS) was commissioned in 2013 by Scottish Natural Heritage with support from Forestry Commission Scotland, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority, Cairngorms National Park Authority and greenspace scotland.

In its first year, the survey ran between March 2013 and February 2014, collecting information on a range of topics, including participation in outdoor recreation; visits to forests and woodland; visits to urban greenspace; awareness of, and visits to, Scotland’s national parks; wider types of engagement with the natural environment; public perceptions of national and local landscapes; and public perceptions of the benefits derived from visiting the outdoors.