Inventory of social evidence and practical programmes relating to trees, woods and forests and urban/peri-urban regeneration, place-making and place-shaping

Mothers and babies taking part in Buggyfit at Kiveton Community Woodland Forest Crime police officer Andrew Scourfield examining a dumped car. The chassie number is radioed to the police control room and evidence is collated. South Wales Family by the Afon Eden river


This is an inventory of social evidence and practical programmes relating to trees, woods, forests and urban/peri-urban regeneration, place-making and place-shaping. It identifies evidence concerning six topic areas:

  • Accessibility and usage
  • Culture and landscape
  • Health and well-being
  • Local economy and benefit valuation
  • Safety, crime and anti-social behaviour
  • Social interaction, sense of community and pride.

Some of the evidence identified in these topic areas, in particular the evidence listed in the social interaction, sense of community and pride section, highlights the linkages between trees, woods and forests and the concepts discussed in the review report.

The inventory report identifies key evidence themes and evidence gaps and also identifies urban regeneration, place-shaping and making programmes in Great Britain in which trees have played the fundamental role.

A second aspect of this research is a review that explores the UK government (including forestry-related) usage and definitions of terms or concepts related to the social and community benefits that can potentially be realised through accessible provision of green space, including woods and trees.

Report coverResearch summary (PDF-126K)
Includes background, objectives, methods and results.


  • Identify and draw together social evidence relating to the role of trees, woods and forests in urban/peri-urban regeneration, place-making and place-shaping  as an easily accessible resource for policy-makers, researchers and practitioners.
  • Highlight gaps in the current evidence base.
  • Identify and draw together examples of practical urban regeneration, place-making and place-shaping programmes in GB in which trees have played the fundamental role and provide links and/or references to any evidence sources they have produced such as evaluation reports.


The key evidence themes identified were that:

  • It is important that woodlands are located close to where people live to secure the maximum social benefits from them.
  • Trees and woods are an important part of cultural identity: projects, activities and events in urban woodlands can provide a useful expression of local identity and encourage a sense of ownership over wooded places.
  • There is strong evidence that trees and woods can provide restorative and therapeutic benefits and improve cognitive functioning. Evidence relating to the benefits of trees and woods in relation to physical exercise is mixed.
  • Trees can be significant elements in improving perceptions of place which can in turn lead to increased residential property values and an enhanced willingness to pay for goods and services.
  • Concerns about safety, crime and anti-social behaviour act as a barrier to woodland access for many people, especially women, those from an ethnic background and children.
  • Woodlands and woodland-based interventions can help build a stronger sense of belonging, improve social inclusion and community cohesion, and enhance community capacity to achieve shared goals through increased social capital.


Cover of reportInventory of social evidence and practical programmes relating to trees, woods and forests and urban/peri-urban regeneration , place-making and place-shaping (PDF-2710K)


For further information please contact:

Amy Stewart
Forest Research
Social and Economic Research Group
EH25 9SY