Biophilic cities are cities with easy access to natural areas, both large and small. Large urban parks are undoubtedly great places for connection with nature, but smaller parks have benefits as well. Researchers in Denmark have conducted a study to determine the most common uses of Small Public Urban Green Spaces (SPUGS), also known as Pocket Parks. These small areas of urban nature are typically found in areas of extreme population density, and therefore have the potential for large numbers of people to access them easily. Throughout the summer of 2010, Karin K. Peschardt of the University of Copenhagen visited nine SPUGS regularly to document who was using these parks, and for what purposes. (...)
The results of the study concluded that most park users visited SPUGS for socializing and “rest and restitution” (Peschardt 240). Furthermore, the data suggest that those visiting SPUGS for relaxation spend less time in the SPUGS than those who use the spaces for socializing. Significantly, nearly 80% of respondents did not have access to a private garden at home, reinforcing the need for such urban natural areas in close proximity to high-density living. Finally, the study infers that since the SPUGS examined are used mainly for reasons pertaining to “social and mental wellbeing,” these spaces have potential health benefits and it would be wise to increase their number for the benefit of city residents, particularly those living at high densities without access to other green spaces nearby (Peschardt 243). (...)
While Pocket Parks and the Small Public Urban Green Spaces studied here are small, this by no means limits their significance. In fact, their size makes it easier to locate them in close proximity to large numbers of urban residents. When cities such as Copenhagen and Los Angeles and many others prioritize implementation of small urban natural areas, they create opportunities for urban residents to interact with nature as part of their daily lives, a key element in designing and planning truly biophilic cities.