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      Working out What Works: The Role of Tacit Knowledge Where Urban Greenspace Research, Policy and Practice Intersect

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      Sustainability

      MDPI AG

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          Abstract

          Policymakers and practitioners working in urban greenspace management want to know what kind of interventions are effective in promoting mental wellbeing. In practice, however, they rely on multiple forms of knowledge, often in unwritten form. This paper considers how such knowledge is interpreted and used by a range of stakeholders to identify greenspace interventions to support residents’ health and wellbeing in one UK city. It examines the interface between academic research, policy and practice, drawing on the findings of a three-year study in Sheffield, UK. The Improving Wellbeing through the Urban Nature project investigated the links between ‘urban nature’ and mental health. One strand of the research sought to influence policy and practice, and this article presents findings and reflects on some of the processes of this exercise. It highlights the role of tacit knowledge in practice and its influence on practitioners’ choice of greenspace interventions and the challenges in drawing on such knowledge to influence policy. The findings affirm practice-based knowledge as socially situated, interpretively fashioned and politically weighted. This paper concludes by demonstrating the importance of considering the local context when devising policy prescriptions for greenspace provision and management.

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          Most cited references 50

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          Toward a Theory of Social Practices: A Development in Culturalist Theorizing

           A. Reckwitz (2002)
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            A systematic review of evidence for the added benefits to health of exposure to natural environments

            Background There is increasing interest in the potential role of the natural environment in human health and well-being. However, the evidence-base for specific and direct health or well-being benefits of activity within natural compared to more synthetic environments has not been systematically assessed. Methods We conducted a systematic review to collate and synthesise the findings of studies that compare measurements of health or well-being in natural and synthetic environments. Effect sizes of the differences between environments were calculated and meta-analysis used to synthesise data from studies measuring similar outcomes. Results Twenty-five studies met the review inclusion criteria. Most of these studies were crossover or controlled trials that investigated the effects of short-term exposure to each environment during a walk or run. This included 'natural' environments, such as public parks and green university campuses, and synthetic environments, such as indoor and outdoor built environments. The most common outcome measures were scores of different self-reported emotions. Based on these data, a meta-analysis provided some evidence of a positive benefit of a walk or run in a natural environment in comparison to a synthetic environment. There was also some support for greater attention after exposure to a natural environment but not after adjusting effect sizes for pretest differences. Meta-analysis of data on blood pressure and cortisol concentrations found less evidence of a consistent difference between environments across studies. Conclusions Overall, the studies are suggestive that natural environments may have direct and positive impacts on well-being, but support the need for investment in further research on this question to understand the general significance for public health.
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              Social Skill and Institutional Theory

               N. FLIGSTEIN (1997)
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                SUSTDE
                Sustainability
                Sustainability
                MDPI AG
                2071-1050
                September 2019
                September 14 2019
                : 11
                : 18
                : 5029
                Article
                10.3390/su11185029
                © 2019

                https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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