Social Networks and Urban Green Spaces

Urban green space plays a critical role in shaping the health and wellbeing of residents and promotes community health and wellbeing. However, measuring their benefits is currently difficult.

Existing research is often conducted within disciplinary silos, at smallā€scales in the laboratory, or at neighbourhood levels using intrusive measures such as surveys, or with course spatial scales. Such findings do not provide a detailed picture of the association between green space and mood or social connectedness within the broader population.

The emergence of new technologies is providing tools to support measuring when, what, how and for whom urban green spaces provide benefits. This project is conducting a human dynamics study of urban green space and wellbeing by examining social media to better understand users’ mood and social connectedness. This will provide important information about how to effectively incorporate green space as a health promotion tool across cities around the world.

The project will create detailed mood snapshots and maps of mood and social connectedness across cities around the world, and to understand the role of green space in influencing these important measures of peoples’ wellbeing.

Research Team


Seed Funding 2016

News and Events

Tweet all about it - people in parks feel more positive, by Kwan Hui Lim, Dave Kendal, and Kate Lee, The Conversation, 8 May 2018.

Presented at WebConf 2018 the following papers:

Featured in Five Things About... podcast Urban Green Spaces episode, 17 November 2017.

Featured on The Project on Channel Ten in news headlines [00:02:17], 12 July 2017.

Presented at EcoCity World Summit in the following events:

  • Cultural Ecologies: Exploring attitudes and approaches, 14 July 2017
  • Creating Climate Resilient Cities: Mapping your urban forest, 14 July 2017
  • Creating Climate Resilient Cities: Creating an urban forest, 14 July 2017
  • Climate Transformations: Beyond eclecticism: navigating the academic landscape of urban climate and energy transformations, 14 July 2017
  • Greening the City: Planting for ecological resilience, 13 July 2017
  • Creating Climate Resilient Cities: Urban biodiversity and city resilience, 12 July 2017
  • Healthy and Caring Cities: Greening cities, 12 July 2017

University of Melbourne study finds parks can make people send less negative Twitter posts, Grant McArthur and Richard Pearce, Herald Sun, 11 July 2017.

Presented at Melbourne Knowledge Week in an event titled Unlocking the Value of Our Urban Green Spaces, 2 May 2017.

Central Melbourne gets a tree change in readiness for hotter climate, Seraphine Carpenter-Andre, ABC News, 17 November 2016.

Gazing at nature makes you more productive: An interview with Kate Lee, Nicole Torres, Harvard Business Review, September 2015.

Loving emails show there is more to trees than ecosystem services, Dave Kendal, Anna Wilson, and Lilian Pearce, The Conversation, 24 July 2015.

Forget siestas, 'green micro-breaks' could boost work productivity, Kate Lee et al., The Conversation, 28 May 2015.