, Volume 38, Issue 3, pp 338-349
Date: 02 Jun 2006

Perception and Attitude of Residents Toward Urban Green Spaces in Guangzhou (China)

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Abstract

Fast economic and social changes in recent years in China have brought massive expansion, redevelopment, and restructuring of cities. These changes offer cities the opportunity to improve environmental quality through urban green spaces (UGSs) and to address the challenges of meeting community aspirations. This study explored peoples’ minds concerning UGSs in Guangzhou city in south China in relation to the following: (1) knowledge and perception of 25 ecosystem services and 8 negative impacts; (2) attitude toward site condition and management; (3) expectation of landscape design; and (4) preference ranking of venues. A questionnaire was designed to solicit opinions from 340 respondents randomly chosen from residents living in the study area. The results indicated widespread recognition of ecosystem services and strong support of UGS programs. Negative responses were weakly expressed. Amelioration of urban microclimate and environmental quality were emphasized. Environmental functions stressed in publicity programs, together with aggravating environmental problems in the city, tended to focus respondents’ attention on UGS benefits. Wildlife habitat, species conservation and other natural ecosystem services drew limited concerns. Awareness of economic benefits was very low. Visual-landscape contributions with strong preference for naturalistic design and recreational benefits were highlighted. Compared with other countries, Guangzhou residents were characterized by visual–scenic–recreation orientation and pragmatic–utilitarian perception of UGSs, reflecting underlying differences in the understanding of inherent ecosystem services of green spaces. Relevant UGS policies and practices could adopt the approaches of market survey, citizen participation, and precision planning in order to meet increasingly mature and refined demands. Citizens’ understanding of high-order ecosystem services could be enhanced to encourage appreciation of nature and their associated benefits.