This post sets out links to recent (late Autumn 2018) evidence and reports, policy agenda developments, large scale delivery sector initiatives, resources and news items.  This supports the Strategic Research Network for Learning in Natural Environments and Outdoors for All to develop better coherence and collaboration in research and to improve links between research, policy and practice in these areas:

Places, spaces, people and wellbeing | What Works Centre for Wellbeing
What Works Centre for Wellbeing Report

  • This review and briefing look at the global evidence base for improving poeple’s wellbeing through changes to the community infrastructure. This covers:
  • Public places and ‘bumping’ places designed for people to meet, including streets, squares, parks, play areas, village halls and community centres.
  • Places where people meet informally or are used as meeting places, such as cafes, pubs, libraries, schools and churches.
  • Services that can facilitate access to places to meet, including urban design, landscape architecture and public art, transport, public health organisations, subsidised housing sites, and bus routes.

The role of neighbourhood greenspace in children’s spatial working memory
Flouri et al – British Journal of Educational Psychology
Even after controlling for confounders, lower quantity of neighbourhood greenspace was related to poorer spatial working memory. Importantly, neighbourhood deprivation did not modify this relationship. Therefore, lower quantity of greenspace was related to poorer spatial working memory similarly in deprived and non‐deprived neighbourhoods.

The influence of social networks and the built environment on physical inactivity: A longitudinal study of urban-dwelling adults
Michele J. Josey, Spencer Moore – Health & Place

  • Having diverse networks reduces physical inactivity.
  • Having family and friends who exercise reduces physical inactivity.
  • Living in areas with physical activity facilities reduces physical inactivity.
  • Built physical activity resources play no role for social isolates.

What are the drivers of and barriers to children’s direct experiences of nature?
Masashi Soga et al – Landscape and Urban Planning

  • A questionnaire survey was given to 5801 Japanese children.
  • Children’s levels of direct experiences with neighbourhood nature were assessed.
  • Multiple environmental and personal factors determined children’s nature experiences.
  • Urbanisation decreased the frequency of direct experiences with local biodiversity.
  • Family members’ nature orientation was the strongest determinant.

30 Days Wild and the Relationships Between Engagement With Nature’s Beauty, Nature Connectedness and Well-Being
Richardson and McEwan – Frontiers in Psychology
Recent research suggests that engagement with natural beauty (EWNB) is key to the well-being benefits of nature connectedness. The Wildlife Trust’s 30 Days Wild campaign provides a large-scale intervention for improving public engagement with nature and its beauty. There were sustained and significant increases for scores in nature connection, health, happiness, and conservation behaviours. In addition, 30 Days Wild was the first intervention found to increase EWNB.

Emotional Connectedness to Nature Is Meaningfully Related to Modernization
Michalina Marczak and Piotr Sorokowski – Frontiers in Psychology
Emotional connectedness to nature, a significant predictor of nature-protective behavior, was assessed in a sample of 99 members of the Meru people of Kenya, recruited in places supposedly varying regarding their level of modernization: small market towns, farming villages, and a remote pastoralist settlement in the bush. The results show that feelings toward the natural environment in the studied population were, in general, positive. Surprisingly we also found that a more traditional lifestyle was negatively related to emotional connectedness to nature. These findings suggest that contact with nature under conditions of direct dependence on the natural environment may have a different influence on people’s feelings toward nature than in the west.

A Multi-dimensional Measure of Environmental Behavior: Exploring the Predictive Power of Connectedness to Nature, Ecological Worldview and Environmental Concern
A Gkargkavouzi, G Halkos, S Matsiori – Chapter in book, Social Indicators Research
This chapter examines the multi-dimensional structure of environmental behavior and its potential domains. Factor analysis reveals six behavioral domains: civic actions, policy support, recycling, transportation choices, behaviors in a household setting and consumerism. Connectedness to nature and ecological worldview were more predictive of civic actions, recycling, household behaviors, and consumerism than were environmental concerns. In the case of policy support and transportation choices, environmental concerns explained more variance than the other constructs

Environmental action and student environmental leaders: Exploring the influence of environmental attitudes, locus of control, and sense of personal responsibility
Ernst, Blood & Beery – Environmental Education Research
This study explored predictors of action and future action in high school student environmental leaders participating in a Student Climate and Conservation Congress. Complex relationships between factors previously found important for adult environmental behavior highlight the need for research exploring effective ways to promote action and sustained involvement in action specifically for youth.

Walking Through and Being with Nature
E Freeman, J Akhurst – Chapter in The Handbook of Mental Health and Space: Community and Clinical Applications
This Chapter explores the social and material contexts of people in natural settings and how these shape and structure experiences and influence well-being, providing an insight into meaning related to artefacts in the landscape, culture influences and dynamic transitional experiences within and between space and place.

Outdoor experiences and sustainability
Prince – Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning
This paper examines the motivations and barriers to pro-environmental behaviour for individuals and groups, using social learning theory as a framework. Social learning theory includes the idea that people learn behaviours by observing others. This theory and related research suggest that through role modelling, mentoring, and coaching, educators can promote students’ sense of empowerment and commitment to sustainability.

Conservation leadership must account for cultural differences
Straka et al – Journal for Nature Conservation
This systematic literature review on the attributes needed for conservation leadership identified four key factors: motivating others, establishing a shared vision, effective communication, and partnership building. The researchers highlight the limited discussion of the importance of cultural sensitivity in relation to the key attributes for conservation leaders as a concern that needs to be addressed in future research on conservation leadership attributes.

Natural capital and the poor in England: Towards an environmental justice analysis of ecosystem services in a high income country
Karen Mullin, Gordon Mitchell, N. Rizwan Nawaz, Ruth D. Waters –  Landscape and Urban Planning

  • Social inequality is evident in the distribution of a wide range of natural capital.
  • Severity of deprivation is highest on average in coastal districts.
  • Further understanding of the social distribution of the benefits generated by natural capital is required.
  • This can inform land planning and management for sustainable and social outcomes.