Green spaces are known to improve health and wellbeing via several mechanisms, such as by reducing stress and facilitating physical activity. However, little is known about the impact of the smaller green spaces typically found in urban environments on wellbeing, especially for older adults. This study investigated experiences in adults (5 males and 10 females) aged 60 years and over of small urban green spaces in a large UK city. Fifteen older adults were interviewed using semi-structured walk-along interviews and photo elicitation methods in Old Moat, Greater Manchester. Twelve of the participants lived in Old Moat at the time of the study, and the remaining three participants previously lived in Old Moat and were frequent visitors. Transcribed interviews were analyzed using Thematic Analysis. Smaller urban green spaces were perceived differently to large green spaces, and participants were more likely to use larger green spaces such as parks. The smaller green spaces were perceived as belonging to other people, which discouraged the older adults from using them. The older adults also emphasized the importance of taking care of small urban green spaces and preventing them from becoming overgrown. Urban planners should consider these factors, since they indicate that the size and type of urban green spaces may influence whether they improve health and wellbeing. Further research should investigate in more detail which types of urban green space are most conducive to facilitating physical activity and improving wellbeing.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jun 2019


  • urban greening
  • well-being
  • physical activity
  • qualitative
  • older adults
  • physical environment

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing


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