Institution: Institute of Landscape Development, Recreation and Conservation Planning Vienna – Austria

About: Dr Arne Arnberger is Associate Professor at the Institute of Landscape Development, Recreation and Conservation Planning, Department of Spatial, Landscape and Infrastructural Sciences, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria (“BOKU”). He is also faculty member at the West Virginia University’s Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Resources Program. He is chair of the Austrian UNESCO Man & the Biosphere-committee, member of IUCN WCPA and IUCN TAPAS and involved in the Austrian communication platforms “Forest & Human Health“, “Biodiversity and Human Health” and “Forest & Tourism”. He is co-founder of the Conference on Monitoring and Management of Visitors in Recreational and Protected Areas ( His current research activities focus on outdoor recreation and effects of nature on human health.


Keywords: Green Space Access, Green Infrastructure, Outdoor recreation, Physical Activity, Vienna

Currently more than half of the world’s population live in cities, and this proportion is expected to increase. City life challenges residents who suffer from physical inactivity, obesity, mental fatigue, stress and averse environmental conditions such as air pollution and urban heat. Green spaces are seen as nature-based solutions, contributing to human health and well-being while counteracting these challenges. Outdoor recreation in urban green spaces (UGS) is one of the key mechanism for human health and well-being. However, the link between urban outdoor recreation and health benefits on a city scale level is poorly understood. City and green space planning need information about which green spaces of a city provide the most health benefits to urban society in total. Consequently, city and green space planning need information on amount and intensity of recreation use, and has to consider visitor access to UGS. Unfortunately, there is a knowledge gap about the total amount of recreation use and physical activities per green space on an aggregated level to identify the hot spots of recreation use among the UGS network. This presentation compared several green spaces in Vienna along a gradient from urban to suburban and used physical activity as a key indicator for health benefits. Physical activity was expressed as total visitor kilometers per green space per year, including total visitor kilometers for accessing the green space. The comparison found that green spaces heavily vary in total visitor kilometers per year, total visitor kilometers in access, and the proportion between access kilometers and green space kilometers. Results show that accessing green space by foot or bicycle can be an important physical activity compared to the amount of visitor activities in the UGS itself. Larger inner urban green spaces are hot spots of recreation use and therefore potentially hot spots for health benefits. Recommendations for city and green space planning as well as recreation and human health research will be provided.

Presentation: link