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The article by Dr. Rosa Reyes-Riveros addresses the connection between public urban green spaces and the human well-being.

The journal Urban Forestry & Urban Greening recognised the article of the graduate of the Doctorate in Agri-food Science and Environment of Universidad de La Frontera (UFRO) as one of the most cited articles since 2020. The article “Linking public urban green spaces and human well-being: A systematic review” was published in 2021 and developed by Dr. Rosa Reyes Riveros, together with the researchers Adison Altamirano, Francisco De La Barrera, Daniel Rozas Vásquez, Lorena Vieli and Paula Meli.

“I wrote this article when I was working on my doctoral thesis. It is about the relationship between public urban green spaces and human well-being, where human well-being is considered a multidimensional concept that encompasses health, security, good social relations, and freedom of choice and action,” Dr. Rosa Reyes explained.

For the article, the research team performed a systematic bibliographic review to examine the interactions between specific characteristics of green spaces and essential elements for human well-being. Afterwards, they divided the green spaces characteristics found in 153 articles into four groups: structure, biodiversity, naturalness, and others; and the dimensions of human well-being into the four groups: health, security, good social relations, and freedom of choice and action.

The expert explained that this issue is of great relevance, since several studies show the inequitable distribution of green spaces in big cities. “We would be talking about an inequitable distribution of the benefits they provide and be facing an issue of environmental injustice,” she pointed out.

Despite the importance of public green spaces in urban environments, planning strategies keep using standardised criteria that leave out the benefits, which they provide for the human well-being. As a result, these strategies often result in a detriment of the spatial connectivity of green spaces and even the complete elimination of some of these areas. “I think that this article opens doors for research on issues that have not been widely addressed regarding the importance of public urban green spaces,” Dr. Reyes commented and expressed her surprise about the large number of citations of the article in such a short time.

“Together with my supervising professors, we achieved a very comprehensive work, which, although it mainly addresses the environment, is also a multidisciplinary work that is useful for other fields of research, which is key for the high number of citations,” she explained.


Written by: Valentina Duarte Sánchez
Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and Environment
Translated by: UFRO Communications Office