Nature interactions vary between cities

Oh, R.R.Y., Fielding, K.S., Nghiem, L.T.P., Chang, C.C., Shanahan, D.F., Gaston, K.J., Carrasco, L.R. & Fuller, R.A. 2021. Factors influencing nature interactions vary between cities and types of nature interactions. People and Nature 3, 405-417.

1. There is mounting concern that people living more urbanised, modern lifestyles have fewer and lower quality interactions with nature, and therefore have limited access to the associated health and well-being benefits. Yet, variation in the different types of nature interactions and the factors that influence these interactions across populations are poorly understood.

2. We compared four types of nature interactions by administering surveys across two cities that differ markedly in urbanisation pattern and population density – Singapore and Brisbane – : (a) indirect (viewing nature through a window at work or at home); (b) incidental (spending time in nature as part of work); (c) intentional interactions in gardens; and (d) intentional interactions in public urban greenspace.

3. Our results show that Singapore respondents spent about half as much time (25.8 hr/week) interacting with nature as Brisbane respondents (52.3 hr/week), and indirect interactions were the most prevalent across both cities.

4. Nature orientation, age, income and gender significantly predicted the duration of nature interactions in both cities, while self-reported health, education and ethnicity additionally predicted the duration of nature interactions only for Brisbane. Also, the relationship(s) between each factor and duration could differ in direction and effect size between the types of nature interactions.

5. As such, we conclude that there is much local variation in the dynamics of interactions between people and nature, and that focused studies are needed to develop effective interventions addressing declines in nature interactions in different locations.