Natural England has released its latest round up of recent evidence and reports, policy developments, large scale initiatives, resources and news items. This is to support the Strategic Research Groups for Learning in Natural Environments and Outdoors for All [SRGLNEOA] to “develop better coherence and collaboration in research and to improve links between research, policy and practice in these areas”.  Here are some highlights:

Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment Survey: developing a method to measure nature connection across the English population (adults and children) (NECR233)
The work outlined in this report set out to pilot set out to:

  • Develop a method for quantifying and reporting on the proportion of the English population at different levels of nature connection
  • Identify characteristics that were related to different levels of nature connection.
  • Identify implications for future research and intervention.

Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment: exploring the relationship between visit frequency and attitudes towards the natural environment (NECR232)
This analysis focuses on the relationship between how frequently people visit the natural environment and attitudes towards the natural environment. The findings confirm that a relatively large proportion of visits to the natural environment are undertaken by a small proportion of the population. The study estimates that just 11% of adults in England take more than half (53%) of all visits to the natural environment. In contrast, almost a half of adults in England (46%) take only 6% of all visits. It highlights the complex range of factors that influence how frequently people undertake visits to the natural environment, and that interpreting changes in visit frequency over time should consider these factor

The contributions of familial and environmental factors to children’s connection with nature and outdoor activities
Ahmetoglu. Early Child Development and care
Data from biophilia interviews linked with family and environmental factors indicated that the importance parents placed on children’s outdoor and nature connection was a significant predictor of their preschool children’s biophilia (affinity for nature).  Children of parents with less education and lower income tended to have lower biophilic scores.

Human–nature connection: a multidisciplinary review
Ives et al. Current Oinion in Environmental Sustainability
No systematic synthesis of the empirical literature on human–nature connection (HNC) exists. This paper reviewed 475 publications on HNC and found that most research has concentrated on individuals at local scales, often leaving ‘nature’ undefined. Cluster analysis identified three subgroups of publications: first, HNC as mind, dominated by the use of psychometric scales, second, HNC as experience, characterised by observation and qualitative analysis; and third, HNC as place, emphasising place attachment and reserve visitation.

Closer to Nature
C Valk, X Lin, L Fijes, M Rauterberg, J Hu – 2017
Dementia is a serious degenerative neurological condition that affects cognition and memory, often accompanied with depression and anxiety. As explicit memory deteriorates, the implicit memory remains, so sensory stimulation and tangible solutions become increasingly important to people with dementia. This paper presents the design, implementation and evaluation process of Closer to Nature, an interactive installation aiming to provide opportunities for people with dementia in care facilities to feel more connected to nature.

Urban Green Space Interventions and Health: A review of impacts and effectiveness
WHO compiled: available research evidence on urban green space interventions and their impacts; local green space intervention case studies and lessons learned; and existing Impact Assessment experiences on green space planning. Results indicate that urban green space is a necessary component for delivering healthy, sustainable and liveable cities

Barriers and facilitators to young children’s physical activity and sedentary behaviour: a systematic review and synthesis of qualitative literature
Hesketh et al. Obesity reviews
This review provides an overarching framework to explain physical activity and sedentary behaviour in early childhood. It also highlights where gaps in the current literature exist (e.g. from male carers; in developing countries; and barriers and facilitators in the environmental and policy domains).

Green space benefits for health and well-being: A life-course approach to urban planning, design and management
Douglas, Lennon, & Scott. Cities
review of the literature presents research evidence linking human health, well-being and green space using a life-course approach.  Research findings were then used to develop a framework for planning and designing green spaces in urban environments that meet the varying needs of people across all life-course stages.

Factors influencing children’s use of urban green spaces
Kaymaz, Oguz, & Cengiz-Hergu. Indoor and built environment
This study investigated children’s outdoor leisure trends and the driving forces that influence the use of urban green spaces, particularly parks and playgrounds.  Data collected from children and parents in Turkey revealed three primary factors affecting parents’ influence on their children’s use of green spaces: benefits of spending time outdoors, safety concerns and design characteristics.

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