Connectedness to Nature and the ability to perceive the restorative value of places characterised by the presence of natural elements are personal characteristics that, when appropriately measured, make it possible to predict an individual’s attitude towards pro-environmental behaviour. While these characteristics have an innate basis, they are also shaped by personal experiences and various cognitive, affective and sociocultural factors. In this exploratory study in North-eastern Italy, we delve into an interdisciplinary field that explores the relationship between the environment of the residential area and its impact on children's attitudes toward Nature. To do so, we conducted a comprehensive questionnaire amongst 533 primary schoolchildren, aged 6-11 years, to gauge their connectedness to Nature, their perceptions of restorativeness in surrounding natural settings, and their schoolyard environment. Drawing from optical satellite imageries, we calculated a combined multispectral index to assess the naturalness degree of participants' residential areas, focusing on their 68 residential areas, located in three administrative Italian Regions (Trentino Alto Adige, Friuli Venezia Giulia and Veneto), which were classified into four different classes with respect to their level of presence of natural areas ("coastal," "low," "average," "high"). By performing non-parametric tests for multiple comparisons amongst groups, we detected a significantly higher level of connectedness to Nature amongst children living in areas with high naturalness, compared to those living in areas with average or low naturalness. Perceived restorativeness scores exhibit a similar trend to that of connectedness to Nature, reinforcing the importance of natural spaces in fostering positive attitudes towards the environment. This result confirms that accessibility and the viewability of natural spaces, even semi-natural ones, seemed to play a crucial role in children's preference for these environments. However, schoolyards were consistently perceived as less regenerative than natural places, regardless of the naturalness of the neighbourhood. These findings raise intriguing questions about the potential consequences of inadequate exposure to Nature on children's affiliation to the natural world and possible subsequent effects on pro-environmental behaviour in adulthood. By shedding light on the complex interplay between personal characteristics, environment and attitudes towards Nature, our study underscores the significance of fostering a deeper connection with natural spaces to nurture a sustainable and environmentally conscious society.

The influence of naturalness of the landscape structure on children’s connectedness to Nature in North-eastern Italy

Alice Stocco
;
Fabio Pranovi
2023-01-01

Abstract

Connectedness to Nature and the ability to perceive the restorative value of places characterised by the presence of natural elements are personal characteristics that, when appropriately measured, make it possible to predict an individual’s attitude towards pro-environmental behaviour. While these characteristics have an innate basis, they are also shaped by personal experiences and various cognitive, affective and sociocultural factors. In this exploratory study in North-eastern Italy, we delve into an interdisciplinary field that explores the relationship between the environment of the residential area and its impact on children's attitudes toward Nature. To do so, we conducted a comprehensive questionnaire amongst 533 primary schoolchildren, aged 6-11 years, to gauge their connectedness to Nature, their perceptions of restorativeness in surrounding natural settings, and their schoolyard environment. Drawing from optical satellite imageries, we calculated a combined multispectral index to assess the naturalness degree of participants' residential areas, focusing on their 68 residential areas, located in three administrative Italian Regions (Trentino Alto Adige, Friuli Venezia Giulia and Veneto), which were classified into four different classes with respect to their level of presence of natural areas ("coastal," "low," "average," "high"). By performing non-parametric tests for multiple comparisons amongst groups, we detected a significantly higher level of connectedness to Nature amongst children living in areas with high naturalness, compared to those living in areas with average or low naturalness. Perceived restorativeness scores exhibit a similar trend to that of connectedness to Nature, reinforcing the importance of natural spaces in fostering positive attitudes towards the environment. This result confirms that accessibility and the viewability of natural spaces, even semi-natural ones, seemed to play a crucial role in children's preference for these environments. However, schoolyards were consistently perceived as less regenerative than natural places, regardless of the naturalness of the neighbourhood. These findings raise intriguing questions about the potential consequences of inadequate exposure to Nature on children's affiliation to the natural world and possible subsequent effects on pro-environmental behaviour in adulthood. By shedding light on the complex interplay between personal characteristics, environment and attitudes towards Nature, our study underscores the significance of fostering a deeper connection with natural spaces to nurture a sustainable and environmentally conscious society.
2023
8
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/5046494
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