PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2021, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (3): 441-456.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2021.03.008

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Effect of green space on residents’ place attachment: A case study of Guangzhou City

WU Rong1,2,3(), PAN Zhuolin2,3, LI Zhigang4,5, LIU Ye2,3,*(), LIU Yuqi6   

  1. 1. School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Guangdong University of Technology, Guangzhou 510090, China
    2. School of Geography and Planning, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
    3. Guangdong Key Laboratory for Urbanization and Geo-simulation, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
    4. School of Urban Design, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430070, China
    5. Hubei Residential Environment Research Center of Engineering and Technology, Wuhan 430070, China
    6. Department of Social Work and Social Administration, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong 999077, China
  • Received:2020-04-29 Revised:2020-09-23 Online:2021-03-28 Published:2021-05-28
  • Contact: LIU Ye;
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(41422103);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41771167);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41871140);National Natural Science Foundation of China(42001147);Beijing Key Laboratory of Megaregions Sustainable Development Modelling, Capital University of Economics and Business(MCR2019QN06)


Under the dual impact of industrialization and urbanization, the built environment and social environment of local communities have changed dramatically. With the increasing pursuit of a high-quality residential environment, green space as a kind of scarce spatial resource can buffer the adverse environmental conditions and promote physical activity and social contact, and therefore exert an important influence on residents' place attachment to neighborhoods. Additionally, with the profound reform in the housing market, the heterogeneity of green space between gated neighborhoods and non-gated neighborhoods has become more prominent and attracts increasing attention. The association between green space and place attachment deserves an in-depth exploration. Using the data collected from a questionnaire survey conducted in 2015 from 23 Guangzhou neighborhoods and a multilevel linear model, this study explored the effect of urban green space on residents' place attachment, paying particular attention to the mediating role of residents' satisfaction with their living environment. The green space rate for each case neighborhood was extracted from the "Quick Bird-2" high-resolution remote sensing image data. The second focus of this study is on the difference between the gated neighborhoods and the non-gated neighborhoods with respect to the effect of urban green space. Our empirical findings suggest that: 1) Green space rate can directly enhance residents' place attachment to a neighborhood. 2) Residents' satisfaction with the living environment can mediate the relationship between green space rate and place attachment. 3) For the gated neighborhoods, residents' satisfaction with the living environment is a partial mediator—it partially explains the association between green space rate and residents' place attachment and indirectly promotes residents' place attachment. 4) For the non-gated neighborhoods, the association between green space rate and residents' place attachment can be fully explained by residents' satisfaction with the living environment. Based on these empirical results, this article suggests that the government should pay attention not only to the spatial distribution and the accessibility of green space, but also to residents' right of entering and using green space, their experience and feelings, and their subjective satisfaction with the living environment. In recent years, market forces such as the real estate developers have provided neighborhood services and resources for their residents, relieving the pressure on the government to maintain public goods and services. Through setting up boundaries, the gated neighborhoods can effectively guarantee residents' right to use green space and avoid the problem of free riding. But meanwhile, it has also enlarged the problem of inequality on green space use and therefore has led to the differences in place attachment between the gated neighborhoods and the non-gated neighborhoods. The right of using and entering green space becomes especially important—the territoriality and exclusiveness provided by the boundary of the gated neighborhoods can strongly arouse residents' sense of territory, and thus promote their place attachment. These conclusions can provide inspirations for optimizing local governments' neighborhood governance and urban planning policy. The municipal government should give priority to the vulnerable groups and reallocate public resources to improve subjective well-being and place attachment of all citizens.

Key words: green space, place attachment, satisfaction with the living environment, gated neighborhood, Guangzhou City