BlueHealth researchers have published a paper explaining their approach to understanding more about how different people in a community perceive the quality of blue and green spaces.
The perception of the quality of green and blue spaces can be key in the relationship between a community and its local landscape (i.e., place identification). The lack of transdisciplinary training and social-specific education of landscape architects regarding the complexity of landscape as a participative cultural artefact limits reaching the general population. Bridging this gap of landscape and place identification and evaluation by a local community was the main objective of the present case study conducted at an abandoned spring and seasonal stream area in Rubí (Spain).
The “Steinitz method” of landscape evaluation was used as a participatory method to activate community members to learn about and express their visual preferences regarding this neglected landscape. Bottom-up interventions applying an “urban acupuncture” approach in the area identified as the least attractive by the residents were co-designed and combined with a top-down restoration of a nearby, existing but derelict and hidden, spring. In addition, before and after planning and implementing the intervention, the researchers conducted surveys about the community perception, sense of belonging and use of the space.
The researchers observed that the lack of awareness of the inhabitants about this spring was an obstacle preventing the community from embracing the potential for health and wellbeing presented by the spring and adjacent landscape. Following the work, the landscape saw increasing use, and the historic spring was brought back to life as a resource to help people to improve their health and wellbeing.