Gender-specific preferences regarding urban green areas


urban green areas
spatial planning
public participation
gender mainstreaming
geographic information systems

How to Cite

Bąkowska-Waldmann, E., & Piniarski, W. (2023). Gender-specific preferences regarding urban green areas. Quaestiones Geographicae, 42(4), 23–41.


Development of urban green areas and awareness of their value among citizens and local authorities is rapidly growing. This trend is not only the result of the coronavirus pandemic, but also reflects a belief in the role of green areas in reducing the negative effects of climate change and supporting overall well-being. As a consequence, more and more local governments are promoting local policies focused on the development of urban green areas with the participation of citizens. Using data collected in Zielona Góra, Poland, this study explores the gender patterns and differences in use and preferences according to the development of urban green areas. The main goals of the study were (1) to evaluate the possible relationship between gender and preferred types of visited green areas and transport modes used to reach them and (2) to explore the differences in expectations regarding the spatial development of green areas among men and women. The result of the study shows that women more often than men visit green areas closer to their place of residence and more often indicate playgrounds and other forms of greenery of an aesthetic function as proposed green areas. Furthermore, there are also differences regarding the means of transport used and preferable distance to green areas. Women visibly prefer green areas within the city centre, mostly use individual means of transport, and are more likely to travel on foot than men. Men prefer more distant green areas and mostly travel longer distances.


Alexandri E., Jones P., 2008. Temperature decreases in an urban canyon due to green walls and green roofs in diverse climates. Building and Environment 43(4): 480-493. DOI:

Ambrey C.L., Fleming C.M., 2014. Public greenspace and life satisfaction in urban Australia. Urban Studies 51(6): 1290-1321. DOI:

Annerstedt M., Östergren P.O., Björk J., Grahn P., Skärbäck E., Währborg P., 2012. Green qualities in the neighbourhood and mental health – results from a longitudinal cohort study in Southern Sweden. BMC Public Health 12: 337. DOI:

Astell-Burt T., Mitchell R., Hartig T., 2014. The association between green space and mental health varies across the lifecourse. A longitudinal study. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 68: 578. DOI:

Balai Kerishnan P., Maruthaveeran S., 2021. Factors contributing to the usage of pocket parks – A review of the evidence. Urban for Urban Greening 58: 126985. DOI:

Bektas A., Schumann R., 2019. How to optimize gower distance weights for the k-Medoids clustering algorithm to obtain mobility profiles of the Swiss population. In: 6th Swiss Conference on Data Science (SDS) 51-56. DOI:

Belčáková I., Slámová M., Demovičová Z., 2022. Importance of urban green areas in the context of current and future global changes: Lessons learned from a case study in Bratislava (Slovakia). Sustainability 14(22): 14740. DOI:

Biernacka M., Kronenberg J., 2019. Urban green space availability, accessibility and attractiveness, and the delivery of ecosystem services. Cities and the Environment (CATE) 12(1): 5.

Bowler D.E., Buyung-Ali L., Knight T.M., Pullin A.S., 2010. Urban greening to cool towns and cities: A systematic review of the empirical evidence. Landscape and Urban Planning 97(3): 147-155. DOI:

Bratman G.N., Hamilton J.P., Daily G.C., 2012. The impacts of nature experience on human cognitive function and mental health. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1249: 118-136. DOI:

Brown G., Kyttä M., 2014. Key issues and research priorities for public participation GIS (PPGIS): A synthesis based on empirical research. Applied Geography 46: 122-136. DOI:

Buijs A., Mattijssen T.J.M., Van der Jagt A.P.N., Ambrose-Oji B., Andersson E., Elands B.H.M., Steen Møller M., 2016. Active citizenship for urban green infra-structure: Fostering the diversity and dynamics of citizen contributions through mosaic governance. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 22: 1-6. DOI:

Carpio-Pinedo J., de Gregorio Hurtado S., de Madariaga I.S., 2019. Gender mainstreaming in urban planning: The potential of geographic information systems and open data sources. Planning Theory and Pratice 20(2): 221-240. DOI:

Caula S., Hvenegaard G.T., Marty P., 2009. The influence of bird information, attitudes, and demographics on public preferences toward urban green spaces: The case of Montpellier, France. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening 8: 117-128. DOI:

Cerin E., Vandelanotte C., Leslie E., Merom D., 2008. Recreational facilities and leisure-time physical activity: An analysis of moderators and self-efficacy as a mediator. Health Psychology 27(2), Suppl: 126-135. DOI:

Chen K., Zhang T., Liu F., Zhang Y., Song Y., 2021. How does urban green space impact residents’ mental health: A literature review of mediators. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18(22): 11746. DOI:

Chidambaram B., Scheiner J., 2021. Work-trip mode choice in Germany – Affected by individual constraints or by partner interaction? Travel Bahaviour and Society 24: 231-244. DOI:

Clark P. J., Evans F. C., 1954. Distance to nearest neighbour as a measure of spatial relationships in populations. Ecology 35: 445-453. DOI:

Codina N., Pestana J.V., 2019. Time matters differently in leisure experience for men and women: Leisure dedication and time perspective. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 16(14): 2513. DOI:

Cohen D.A., McKenzie T.L., Sehgal A., Williamson S., Golinelli D., Lurie N., 2007. Contribution of public parks to physical activity. American Journal of Public Health 97: 509-514. DOI:

Council of Europe, 1998. Gender mainstreaming: Conceptual framework, methodology and presentation of good practices. Online: (accessed 16 January 2023).

Craig W.J., Harris T.M., Weiner D., 2002. Community participation and geographic information systems. Taylor & Francis, London. DOI:

Czarnecki D., Skalski D.W., Kreft P., Kaszowska M., Nikolenko O., 2023. Aktywność fizyczna kobiet i mężczyzn w czasie wolnym od pracy (Physical activity of women and men in the time off work). Rehabilitation and Recreation 14: 151-157. DOI:

de Vries S., Verheij R.A., Groenewegen P.P., Spreeuwenberg P., 2003. Natural environments—healthy environments? An exploratory analysis of the relationship between greenspace and health. Environment and Planning A 35: 1717-1731. DOI:

dos Santos T.R.L., Zárate L.E., 2012. GCA: An algorithm based on the gower similarity for clustering of categorical variables. XXXVIII Conferencia Latinoamericana En Informatica (CLEI), 1-6.

Dubicki P., Kułyk P., 2018. Proces integracji miasta z gminą miejską. Przykład Zielonej Góry (The process of urban-rural integration. Using the example of Zielona Góra). Studia Miejskie 32: 113-124. DOI:

Ettema D., Friman M., Gärling T., Olsson L.E., 2016. Mobility, sociability and well-being of urban living. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, Berlin, Heidelberg: 129-150. DOI:

Europe Institute for Gender Equality, 2023. Gender Statistics Database. Online: (accessed 12 April 2023).

Evensen K. H., Hemsett G., Nord H., 2021. Developing a place-sensitive tool for park-safety management experiences from green-space managers and female park users in Oslo. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening 60: 127057. DOI:

Fok K.W.K., Law W.W.Y., 2018. City re-imagined: Multi-stakeholder study on branding Hong Kong as a city of greenery. Journal of Environmental Management 206: 1039-1051. DOI:

Frändberg L., Vilhelmson B., 2011. More or less travel: Personal mobility trends in the Swedish population focusing gender and cohort. Journal of Transport Geography 19(6): 1235-1244. DOI:

Galindo M.P.G., Corraliza J.A., 2000. Environmental aesthetics and psychological wellbeing: Relationships between preference judgements for urban landscapes and other relevant affective responses. Psychology in Spain 4: 13-27.

Goel R., Oyebode O., Foley L., Tatah L., Millett Ch., Woodcock J., 2023. Gender differences in active travel in major cities across the world. Transportation 50: 733-749. DOI:

Gower J.C., 1967. A comparison of some methods of cluster analysis. Biometrics 23(4): 623-637. DOI:

Gower J.C., 1971. A general coefficient of similarity and some of its properties. Biometrics 27: 857-874. DOI:

Gryl I., Jekel T., Donert K., 2010. Geoinformation and spatial citizenship. Learning with Geoinformation V: 2-11.

Guzman L.A., Arellana J., Oviedo D., Moncada Aristizábal C.A., 2021. COVID-19, activity and mobility patterns in Bogota. Are we ready for a ’15-minute city’? Travel Behaviour and Society 24: 245-256. DOI:

Haklay M., Singleton A., Parker C., 2008. Web mapping 2.0: The neogeography of the geoweb. Geography Compass 2(6): 2011-2039. DOI:

Head Office of Geodesy and Cartography (GUGiK), 2022. Państwowy Rejestr Granic – jednostki administracyjne 2022 (State Register of Borders administrative units 2022). Online: (accessed 31 January 2023).

Henning S., Vogler R., Gryl I., 2013. Spatial education for different user groups as a prerequisite for creating a spatially enabled society and leveraging SDI. International Journal of Spatial Data Infrastructures Research 8: 98-127.

Jakubiec D., Kornafel D., Cygan A., Górska-Kłęk L., Chromik K., 2015. Lifestyle of students from different universities in Wrocław, Poland. Roczniki Państwowego Zakładu Higieny (Yearbooks of the National Institute of Hygiene) 66(4): 337-344.

Jorgensen A., Hitchmough J., Calvert T., 2002. Woodland spaces and edges: Their impact on perception of safety and preference. Landscape Urban Planning 60(3): 135-50. DOI:

Kaczmarek T., Kołodziejczak A.K., Mikuła Ł., 2022. Transformation of the urban and rural system. In: Churski P., Kaczmarek T. (eds), Three decades of Polish socio-economic transformations: Geographical perspectives. Cham, Springer International Publishing: 279-304. DOI:

Kaczynski A.T., Potwarka L.R., Smale B.J.A., Havitz M.E., 2009. Association of parkland proximity with neighborhood and park-based physical activity: Variations by gender and age. Leisure Sciences 31: 174-191. DOI:

Kaplan R., 2001. The nature of the view from home: Psychological benefits. Environment and Behavior 33: 507-542. DOI:

Kaufman L., Rousseeuw P.J., 1987. Clustering by means of medoids. In: Dodge Y. (ed.), Statistical Data Analysis Based on the L1-norm and Related Methods. North-Holland: 405-416.

Kaufman L., Rousseeuw P. J., 1990. Finding groups in data: An introduction to cluster analysis. Wiley, New York. DOI:

Kaźmierczak A., 2013. The contribution of local parks to neighbourhood social ties. Landscape and Urban Planning 109: 31-44. DOI:

Kronenberg J., Łaszkiewicz E., Sziło J., 2021. Voting with one’s chainsaw: What happens when people are given the opportunity to freely remove urban trees? Landscape and Urban Planning 209: 104041. DOI:

Lachowycz K., Jones A.P., 2013. Towards a better understanding of the relationship between greenspace and health: Development of a theoretical framework. Landscape and Urban Planning 118: 62-69. DOI:

Labus A., 2015. Strategie równości płci w kontekście zrównoważonego planowania przestrzeni publicznych (Gender mainstreaming strategy in the context of sustainable planning of public spaces). In: Klasik A., Kuźnik F. (eds), Rozwój obszarów miejskich w polityce regionów (Development of urban areas in regional policy). Studia Komitetu Przestrzennego Zagospodarowania Kraju PAN 164. Polish Academy of Sciences PAN, Warsaw: 362-382.

Lee A.C.K., Maheswaran R., 2010. The health benefits of urban green spaces: A review of the evidence. Journal of Public Health 33(2): 212-222. DOI:

Legutko-Kobus P., Nowak M., Petrisor A., Bărbulescu D., Craciun C., Gârjoabă A., 2023. Protection of environmental and natural values of urban areas against investment pressure: A case study of Romania and Poland. Land 12(1): 245. DOI:

Maas J., Spreeuwenberg P., van Winsum-Westra M., Verheij R.A., Vries S., Groenewegen P.P., 2009. Is green space in the living environment associated with people’s feelings of social safety? Environmental Planning 41: 1763-1777. DOI:

Mabelis A.A., Maksymiuk G., 2009. Public participation in green urban policy: Two strategies compared. International Journal of Biodiversity Science & Management 5(2): 63-75. DOI:

MacKerron G., Mourato S., 2013. Happiness is greater in natural environments. Global Environtal Changes 23: 992-1000. DOI:

Magrinyà F., Mercadé-Aloy J., Ruiz-Apilánez B., 2023. Merging green and active transportation infrastructure towards an equitable accessibility to green areas: Barcelona green axes. Land 12: 919. DOI:

Mahrous A.M., Mustafa Y.M., Abou El-Ela M.A., 2018. Physical characteristics and perceived security in urban parks: Investigation in the Egyptian context. Ain Shams Engeneeiring Journal 9(4): 3055-66. DOI:

Mattingly M.J., Bianchi S.M., 2003. Gender differences in the quantity and quality of free time: The U.S. experience. Social Forces 81(3): 999-1030. DOI:

Ministry of Family and Social Policy, 2019. Urlopy dla rodziców w 2019 (Parental leave in 2019). Online: (accessed 12 April 2023)

Miralles-Guasch C., Melo M.M., Marquet O., 2015. A gender analysis of everyday mobility in urban and rural territories: From challenges to sustainability. Gender, Place & Culture 23(3): 398-417. DOI:

Nosal-Hoy K., 2018. Czynnik płci w zachowaniach komunikacyjnych (The gender factor in communication behaviours). Transport Miejski i Regionalny 5: 5-11.

Ode A., Fry G., Tveit M.S., Messager P., Miller D., 2009. Indicators of perceived naturalness as drivers of landscape preference. Journal of Environmental Management 90: 375-383. DOI:

OpenStreetMap Contributors, 2023. OpenStreetMap Data. Online: (accessed 31 January 2023).

Polko P., Kimic P., 2022. Gender as a factor differentiating the perceptions of safety in urban parks. Ain Shams Engineering Journal 13: 101608. DOI:

Reynolds A.P., Richards G., Rayward-Smith V.J., 2004. The application of K-Medoids and PAM to the clustering of rules. In: Yang Z.R., Yin H., Everson R.M. (eds), Intelligent Data Engineering and Automated Learning – IDEAL 2004. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 3177. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. DOI:

Rousseeuw P.J., 1987. Silhouettes: A graphical aid to the interpretation and validation of cluster analysis. Journal of Computational and Applied Mathematics 20: 53-65. DOI:

Rubiano-Matulevich E.C., Viollaz M., 2019. Gender differences in time use: Allocating time between the market and the household. Policy Research working paper, WPS 8981, World Bank Group. Online: (accessed 5 April 2023) DOI:

Sanesi G., Charello F., 2006. Residents and urban green spaces: The case of Bari. Urban Forestry and Urban Greening 4(3-4): 125-134. DOI:

Sang A.O., Knez I., Gunnarsson B., Hedblom M., 2016. The effects of naturalness, gender, and age on how urban green space is perceived and used. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening 18(1): 268-276. DOI:

Santos T., Mendes R.N., Vasco A., 2016. Recreational activities in urban parks: Spatial interactions among users. Journal of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism 15: 1-9. DOI:

Sánchez M.I.O., González E.M., 2016. Gender differences in commuting behavior: Women’s greater sensitivity. Transportation Research Procedia 18: 66-72. DOI:

Scheiner J., Holz-Rau C., 2017. Women’s complex daily lives: A gendered look at trip chaining and activity pattern entropy in Germany. Transportation 44: 117-138. DOI:

Schindler M., Le Texier M., Caruso G., 2022. How far do people travel to use urban green space? A comparison of three European cities. Applied Geography 141: 102673. DOI:

Schipperijn J., Ekholm O., Stigsdotter U.K., Toftager M., Bentsen P., Kamper-Jørgensen F., Randrup T.B., 2010. Factors influencing the use of green space: Results from a Danish national representative survey. Landscape and Urban Planning 95: 130-137. DOI:

Seresinhe C.I., Preis T., MacKerron G., Moat H.S., 2019. Happiness is greater in more scenic locations. Scientific Reports 9(1): 1-11. DOI:

Shahapure K.R., Nicholas C., 2020. Cluster Quality Analysis Using Silhouette Score. In 2020 IEEE 7th International Conference on Data Science and Advanced Analytics (DSAA), Sydney, NSW, Australia: 747-748. DOI:

Sieber R., 2006. Public participation geographic information systems: A literature review and framework. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 96(3): 491-507. DOI:

Sonti N.F., Campbell L.K., Svedsen E.S., Johnson M.L., Auyeung D.S., 2020. Fear and fascination: Use and perceptions of New York City’s forests, wetlands, and landscaped park areas. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening 49: 126601. DOI:

Statistics Poland, n.d. Local Data Bank. Online: (accessed 16 January 2023).

Struyf A., Hubert M., Rousseeuw P.J., 1997. Integrating robust clustering techniques in S-PLUS. Computational Statistics and Data Analysis 26: 17-37. DOI:

Sullivan W.C., Kuo F.E., Depooter S.F., 2004. The fruit of urban nature: Vital neighborhood spaces. Environment and Behavior 36: 678-700. DOI:

Supreme Audit Office (Najwyższa Izba Kontroli), 2022. Zachowanie i zwiększanie terenów zielonych w miastach. LLU.410.003.03.2021 Nr ewid. 172/2021/P/21/074/LLU.,25648,vp,28421.pdf (accessed 3 April 2023).

Sutton R.M., Farrall S., 2004. Gender, socially desirable responding and the fear of crime: Are women really more anxious about crime? The British Journal of Criminology 45(2): 212-24. DOI:

Suwada K., 2021. Parenting and work in Poland: A gender studies perspective. Springer Nature, Switzerland: 107. DOI:

Tang J., Li S., 2022. Can public participation promote regional green innovation?—Threshold effect of environmental regulation analysis. Heliyon 8: 11157. DOI:

Tiwari A., Kumar P., Kalaiarasan G., Ottosen T., 2021. The impacts of existing and hypothetical green infrastructure scenarios on urban heat island formation. Environmental Pollution 274: 115898. DOI:

Tyrväinen L., Mäkinen K., Schipperijn J., 2007. Tools for mapping social values of urban woodlands and other green areas. Landscape and Urban Planning 79(1): 5-19. DOI:

United Nations, 2015. Transforming our world: The 2030 agenda for sustainable development. Online: (accessed 16 January 2023).

Van den Berg A.E., Jorgensen A., Wilson E.R., 2014. Evaluating restoration in urban green spaces: Does setting type make a difference? Landscape and Urban Planning 127: 173-181. DOI:

Van den Berg A.E., Koole S.L., Van Der Wulp N.Y., 2003. Environmental preference and restoration: (How) are they related? Journal of Environmental Psychology 23: 135-146. DOI:

Van der Maaten L., Hinton G., 2008. Visualizing data using t-SNE. Journal of Machine Learning Research 9: 2579-2605.

Wang D., Brown G., Liu Y., Mateo-Babiano I., 2015. A comparison of perceived and geographic access to predict urban park use. Cities 42: 85-96. DOI:

Wang R., Helbich M., Yao Y., Zhang J., Liu P., Yuan Y., Liu Y., 2019. Urban greenery and mental wellbeing in adults: Cross-sectional mediation analyses on multiple pathways across different greenery measures. Environmental Research 176: 108535. DOI:

Ward Thompson C., Roe J., Aspinall P., Mitchell R., Clo A., Miller D., 2012. More green space is linked to less stress in deprived communities: Evidence from salivary cortisol patterns. Landscape and Urban Planning 105: 221-229. DOI:

Williams T., Logan T.M., Zuo C.T., Liberman K.D., Guikema S., 2020. Parks and safety: A comparative study of green space access and inequity in five US cities. Landscape and Urban Planning 201: 103841. DOI:

Wolch J.R., Byrne J., Newell J.P., 2014. Urban green space, public health, and environmental justice: The challenge of making cities ‘just green enough’. Landscape and Urban Planning 125: 234-244. DOI:

Wood L., Hooper P., Foster S., Bull F., 2017. Public green spaces and positive mental health – investigating the relationship between access, quantity and types of parks and mental wellbeing. Health & Place 48: 63-71. DOI:

Wójcicki M., 2018. Formy i zakres partycypacji społecznej w procesie planowania przestrzennego w Poznaniu (Forms and scopes of public participation in spatial planning in Poznań city). Biblioteka Aglomeracji Poznańskiej 31, Bogucki Wydawnictwo Naukowe, Poznań.

Wu J., Xu Z., Jin Y., Chai Y., Newell J., Ta N., 2022. Gender disparities in exposure to green space: An empirical study of suburban Beijing. Landscape and Urban Planning 222: 104381. DOI:

Wu W., Dong G., Sun Y., Yun Y., 2020. Contextualized effects of park access and usage on residential satisfaction: A spatial approach. Land Use Policy 94: 104532. DOI: