Developing indicators of public open space to promote health and wellbeing in communities

K.P. Villanueva, H.M. Badland, Paula Hooper, M.J. Koohsari, S. Mavoa, M.T. Davern, R. Roberts, S.R. Goldfeld, B. Giles-Corti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Citations (Scopus)


© 2014 . There is growing interest from policy-makers, practitioners, and academics alike in creating indicators of the built environment to measure progress towards achieving a wide range of policy outcomes, including enhanced health and wellbeing. Public open space (POS) is a built environment feature that is important for health and wellbeing across the life course, and contributes to the liveability of a region. To optimise health and community wellbeing outcomes, there is a need to test different policy standards and metrics to understand which measures are impactful. Identifying the best POS indicators would be useful tools to measure and monitor progress towards achieving a range of policy and health and wellbeing outcomes. Thus, we propose a method to develop POS indicators from a health and wellbeing lens through: 1) developing a framework conceptualising the pathways in which POS influences health and wellbeing outcomes; and 2) using this conceptual framework as a guide to identify upstream policy-relevant indicators of POS that are evidence-based, specific, quantifiable, and measurable across regions. We also highlight methodological issues and challenges in developing these indicators. In doing so, we have identified eleven potential POS spatial measures to test with population health and wellbeing datasets in Australia. However, these methods may be relevant and applicable to other developed countries, and could be modified for use in developing countries. Together, spatial indicators are analytic tools in the policy environment to benchmark and measure neighbourhoods in terms of POS provision, thereby helping to improve neighbourhood liveability and wellbeing, and people's health.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-119
Number of pages8
JournalApplied Geography
Early online date14 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015


Dive into the research topics of 'Developing indicators of public open space to promote health and wellbeing in communities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this