Kaplan, R. 1985. Nature at the doorstep: Residential satisfaction and the nearby environment. Journal of Architectural Planning Research 2:115-127.
The importance of the nearby natural environment was studied in the context of multiple-family housing. Residents at nine sites responded to a questionnaire about the kinds of natural areas near their home and the perceived adequacy of these facilities. While the nearby environment is often relegated to the category of "amenity," the findings suggest that the availability and adequacy of nearby natural elements is of far greater significance than such a characterization implies. Furthermore, different aspects of the natural environment need to be distinguished. Large open spaces, for example, played a minor role, at best, in residents' ratings of satisfaction with various aspects of the neighborhood. Opportunities to grow plants, by contrast, were significantly related to the sense of community. The most important factors in neighborhood satisfaction, however, were the availability of nearby trees, well-landscaped grounds, and places for taking walks. The data suggest that some of the psychological satisfactions traditionally associated with home ownership may be achieved even in the multiple-family housing context through the effective use of the natural environment.AU