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Green Space Benefits

Greater engagement by urban dwellers in biodiversity management would provide much needed support for biodiversity initiatives and deliver human health benefits. By undertaking semi-structured interviews, our Green Space Benefits research team will develop a better understanding of what motivates New Zealanders of different ethnicities to use local green spaces, and to support and engage in biodiversity management.

We will determine:

  • Use of urban green spaces and characteristics that promote use
  • Ethnic-specific values and attitudes towards biodiversity
  • Motivations behind engagement in biodiversity management
  • Methods/incentives/interventions to encourage engagement in biodiversity management
  • Practical measures to best plan for neighbourhood green spaces that balance the needs of wildlife and local users.

We are undertaking semi-structured interviews coupled with an aerial photograph/GIS interface to determine use of local green spaces, perceived benefits of green space use or nature exposure, and motivations behind use.

We are exploring knowledge, values and attitudes towards biodiversity in general and native biodiversity specifically. We will determine the extent of the connection that participants have with nature using validated surveys.

We will then use an existing biodiversity scoring system which integrates information on perceptible species richness, vegetation structural complexity, feature richness and wildness to classify the green spaces identified as valued and/or visited by interview participants. We will relate perceived benefits and extent of use of green spaces to participant's biodiversity values to determine whether greater benefits and values are associated with greater biodiversity, or more native biodiversity.

We will explore the motivations of ethnically diverse members of community groups and review efficacy of nature interventions. This information will then be used to tailor specific communication with different ethnic groups to encouraged engagement and support for biodiverstiy enhancement initiatives.

Study sites
The study sites for the Green Space Benefits research project are:

  • Auckland
  • Wellington
  • Dunedin

Research Team



Audrey Heyzer - PhD Candidate