Exploring mechanistic pathways linking urban green and blue space to mental wellbeing before and after urban regeneration of a greenway: evidence from the Connswater Community Greenway, Belfast, UK

Ruoyu Wang, Matthew H.E.M. Browning, Frank Kee, Ruth F. Hunter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
135 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Urban regeneration of urban green and blue spaces (UGBS) is assumed to benefit residents’ mental wellbeing. However, the mechanistic pathways linking UGBS to wellbeing before vs. after regeneration remain unclear. This study assessed the mediating roles of subjective perceptions of the environment and instoration indicators (social capital and physical activity) linking UGBS proximity and mental wellbeing along the Connswater Community Greenway (CCG) in Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK. Repeated cross-sectional household survey data were collected from adult residents who lived within a ≤1-mile radius of the CCG pre-intervention (2010/2011; n = 866) and six months post implementation (2016/2017; n = 866). The CCG intervention involved the development of an urban greenway which included 19 km of new and improved cycle paths and walkways, physical improvements (e.g., planting trees and shrubs) coupled with social programs (e.g., organized walking groups). Mental wellbeing was assessed using the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (WEMWBS), and UGBS exposure was measured as the distance from the home address to the nearest CCG access point. Subjective environment perceptions included attractiveness, traffic, amenities, and perceived safety. Instoration indicators included physical activity, social trust, and social networks. Structural equation models assessed the differential pathways between UGBS exposure and mental wellbeing before vs. after implementation. Results offered no significant support for the notion that distance to the CCG impacted mental wellbeing before the intervention. In contrast, after the intervention, distance to the CCG was indirectly and directly associated with mental wellbeing. Mediating pathways included amenities positively impacting physical activity, and perceived safety positively impacting social trust. These findings provide evidence that UGBS influences mental wellbeing through multiple mechanistic pathways including changing people's subjective perceptions and promoting instoration after the development of a new urban greenway.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104739
Number of pages12
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
Volume235
Early online date09 Mar 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023

Keywords

  • Mental wellbeing
  • Nature-health mechanisms
  • Structural equation modeling
  • Urban blue space
  • Urban green space
  • Urban regeneration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Urban Studies
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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