Urban blue spaces as therapeutic landscapes: “a slice of nature in the city”

Niamh Smith*, Ronan Foley, Michail Georgiou, Zoe Tieges, Sebastien Chastin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
60 Downloads (Pure)


Urban blue spaces are defined as all natural and manmade surface water in urban environments. This paper draws on how the concepts of experienced, symbolic, social, and activity space combine to position urban blue spaces as therapeutic landscapes. We conducted 203 intercept interviews between 12 October 2019 and 10 November 2019. Although safety concerns had healthlimiting
impacts, interacting with the Glasgow Canal and surrounding landscape was predominantly perceived as health-enhancing. Our findings build on current evidence, which has suggested that urban blue spaces, particularly canals, may foster therapeutic properties, contributing to healthier city environments. Further research is required to understand better the interconnectedness of urban
blue spaces and health and how such spaces can be best developed and managed to improve the health outcomes of local populations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number15018
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2022


  • blue space
  • urban environment
  • therapeutic landscape
  • qualitative data

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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