Spatial variation of biodiversity as perceived by the Geneva metropolitan population

Tracking traces of natural landscape in a collective memory to support urban health assessment

Green spaces and biodiversity have an extremely important role in urban areas. They have a clear impact on water flow, on microclimate regulation, on air quality, and on the health of residents. In recent years, the progressive urbanization implied a strong fragmentation of semi-natural environments, what clearly endangers urban biodiversity and causes decline in the quality of life of the population.

There is empirical evidence showing that interacting with nature in cities delivers measurable benefits to people. We argue that these beneficial effects are the expression of a social memory of the interaction between man and nature, such as traces of the vital importance that the natural environment constitutes for humans. GREENTRACE investigates what is the content of the social representation of biodiversity in urban areas, what are the benefits and the limits people attribute to this diversity, and to what extent this representation is based on local biodiversity. Several hundreds of Geneva residents will be interviewed and the information collected will be compared with scientific biodiversity measures and public health data.