Measuring children's and adolescents' accessibility to greenspaces from different locations and commuting settings

Do the commonly used metrics and indicators for greenspace exposure reflect differences in access within cities and across age groups? And how can we make it easier to measure city planning policies and interventions in order to uncover spatial inequities in greenspace access? 

Exposure to greenspaces has a variety of human health benefits, ranging from increased physical activity to improved mental health and cognitive development in children. However, access and exposure to greenspace vary not only within cities but also across different population groups. Access to greenspace can be influenced not only by how close a park is to the home, but also by other factors such as proximity to schools and commuting routes between activities.

In their recently published article in Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, Roos Teeuwen, Dr. Achilleas Psyllidis, and Prof. Alessandro Bozzon aim to break new ground in how we measure greenspace access within cities and across age groups. Using open spatial data, they developed new greenspace accessibility metrics that take into account access by children and adolescents from their homes, schools, and commutes between them. 

A comparison with conventional measures of greenspace accessibility that are currently used to inform urban greening and planning policies revealed significant differences and captured previously untapped accessibility aspects for both children and adolescents. The authors also looked at how the size and shape of greenspaces, as well as the distribution and density of nearby facilities, affect access. As a result, the goal of this work is to contribute to the arsenal of quantitative measurements for benchmarking city planning and design features that will drive the transition to healthy and sustainable cities.

This work contributes to UN Sustainable Development Goals SDG3 and SDG11.

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