Trends and inequalities in distance to and use of nearest natural space in the context of the 20-min neighbourhood: A 4-wave national repeat cross-sectional study, 2013 to 2019.
Environmental research 2022 ; 213: 113610.
PubMed ID : 35690087
The 20-min neighbourhood is a policy priority for governments worldwide; a key feature of this policy is providing access to natural space (NS) within 800 m of home. The study aims were to (1) examine the association between distance to nearest NS and frequent use over time and (2) examine whether frequent use and changes in use were patterned by income and housing tenure over time. Bi-annual Scottish Household Survey data were obtained for 2013 to 2019 (n:42128 aged 16+). Adults were asked the walking distance to their nearest NS, the frequency of visits to this space and their housing tenure, as well as age, sex and income. We examined the association between distance from home of nearest NS, housing tenure, and the likelihood of frequent NS use (visited once a week or more). Two-way interaction terms were further applied to explore variation in the association between tenure and frequent NS use over time. We found that 87% of respondents lived within 10 min walk of a NS, meeting the policy specification for a 20-min neighbourhood. Greater proximity to NS was associated with increased use; individuals living a 6-10 min walk and over 10 min walk were respectively 53% and 78% less likely to report frequent NS use than those living within a 5 min walk. Housing tenure was an important predictor of frequent NS use; private renters and homeowners were more likely to report frequent NS use than social renters. Our findings provide evidence that proximity to NS is a strong predictor of frequent use. Our study provides important evidence that time-based access measures alone do not consider deep-rooted socioeconomic variation in use of NS. Policy makers should ensure a nuanced lens is applied to operationalising and monitoring the 20-min neighbourhood to safeguard against exacerbating existing inequalities.