Urban residents value multi-functional urban greenspaces

Michaela Roberts*, Klaus Glenk, Alistair McVittie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
74 Downloads (Pure)


Urban greenspaces are multifunctional spaces, providing services to people and biodiversity. With space in urban areas being limited creation and maintenance of urban greenspaces relies on understanding the preferences of urban residents for their characteristics. Such preferences are expected to vary with current availability, and the availability of alternatives to greenspaces such as gardens or gyms. We carried out a nationwide discrete choice experiment with Scottish urban residents to estimate values associated with greenspace attributes of: recreational features; plants and natural features; trees; accessibility; time to walk from home and size, to test the hypotheses that: (i) people are willing to pay to maintain greenspace, (ii) people have willingness to pay for greenspaces with multiple functions, including features for direct use (e.g. play equipment) and biodiversity (e.g. wildflowers), (iii) willingness to pay for individual greenspace will vary according to socioeconomic characteristics and (iv) vary with the amount of greenspace or substitute facilities available. We find a positive willingness to pay to maintain greenspace in general, and higher willingness to pay for larger greenspaces closer to home, which are multifunctional and contain both direct use features (e.g. children's play park) and biodiversity features. Although we find significant heterogeneity in willingness to pay for maintaining greenspace, this is not well explained by either socioeconomic characteristics or the availability of substitute facilities. Our results have relevance for urban natural capital accounting, and demonstrate to urban planners the importance of the design and maintenance of multi-functional greenspaces for urban populations and would benefit from future research that further explores heterogeneity, including perceptions of greenspace access and substitutes, and greenspace quality.

Original languageEnglish
Article number127681
JournalUrban Forestry and Urban Greening
Early online date18 Jul 2022
Publication statusPrint publication - Aug 2022


  • Choice experiment
  • Natural areas
  • Parks
  • Spatial heterogeneity
  • Stated preferences


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