Children's access to nature in the city: A study on preschools in Gothenburg
There are countless studies showing that nature benefit children's physical and psychological health and many are concerned over the trends indicating that children's health is getting worse. Urban areas do not provide an environment that is safe nor invites for children to play outdoors and nature is mostly pushed aside. Since nature has proven to be an important element for children’s development, the study therefore focuses on access to nature on a local scale in an urban setting. The research questions are: To what extent are different elements of nature present on preschool yards in the Northern Centre (NC) of Gothenburg?; How are the preschools in the NC of Gothenburg located in relation to nature areas, as a complement to their own yard?; How do preschool directors in the NC of Gothenburg view children’s relationship to nature during the preschool activities? The study focuses on how current scientific knowledge is implemented in contemporary city planning of young children’s environment. The results is analysed based on studies on nature’s benefits to human well-being and children’s development in relation to nature contact. The results showed that the access to nature and nature elements among the preschools are unevenly distributed in the NC of Gothenburg. There are also other external factors limiting children’s access to nature in the city. The views of children’s relationship with nature among the preschool directors were positive, saying that nature is important for the child’s own development but also in a larger urban sustainability perspective.