ARPHA Preprints, doi: 10.3897/arphapreprints.e112001
The influence of naturalness of the landscape structure on children’s connectedness to Nature in North-eastern Italy
expand article infoAlice Stocco, Chiara Tabacchi, Giuseppe Barbiero§, Fabio Pranovi
‡ Ca' Foscari University, Venice, Italy§ Università della Valle d'Aosta, Aosta, Italy
Open Access

Connectedness to Nature and the ability to perceive the restorativeness value of places characterized by the presence of natural elements are personal characteristics that, when appropriately measured, make it possible to predict an individual’s attitude toward pro-environmental behaviors. While these characteristics have an innate basis, they are also shaped by personal experiences and various cognitive, affective, and sociocultural factors. In this exploratory study, we delve into an interdisciplinary field that explores the relationship between the environment of the residential area and its impact on children's attitudes toward Nature. To do so, we conducted a comprehensive questionnaire among schoolchildren in North-eastern Italy to gauge their connectedness to Nature, their perceptions of restorativeness in surrounding natural settings, and their schoolyard environment. Then, drawing from optical satellite imageries, we calculated a combined multispectral index to assess the naturalness degree of participants' residential areas. Significant higher levels of connectedness to Nature were observed among children living in areas with high naturalness, compared to those living in areas with average or low naturalness. Perceived restorativeness scores exhibit a similar to that of connectedness to Nature, reinforcing the importance of natural spaces in fostering positive attitudes towards the environment. However, schoolyards were consistently perceived as less regenerative than natural places, regardless of the naturalness of the neighborhood. These results raise intriguing questions about the potential consequences of inadequate exposure to Nature on children's affiliation to the natural world and its possible subsequent effects on pro-environment behaviors in adulthood. By shedding light on the complex interplay between personal characteristics, environment, and attitudes towards Nature, our study underscores the significance of fostering a deeper connection with natural spaces to nurture a sustainable and environmentally conscious society.

Connectedness to Nature, Naturalness Index, Perceived Restorativeness Scale, Children, Pro-environmental behaviors