Increasing Interactions with Nature: A Survey of Expectations on a University Campus

by André K. Faul

Department of Biology, University of Namibia, Private Bag 13301, Windhoek, Namibia.


In the last century, urban biodiversity has come under increasing pressure due to urbanization and consequent habitat destruction. Land-use patterns in the Cape Floristic Region of South Africa provide a strong example of this, and research has shown alarming decreases in natural vegetation cover there. Urban greening projects can play a vital role in conservation of biodiversity in the Cape Floristic region while simultaneously providing local people with an improved living and working environment (Cornelis and Hermy 2004). This article investigates the general attitudes of a sampled demographic in the city of Cape Town on the value of urban nature. I conducted a survey of personnel and students at the Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of Stellenbosch covering issues such as spare time utilization on campus and opinions and expectations regarding their study and work environments. Results showed that the overwhelming majority of respondents believe that their study and work environments need improvement, specifically as regards gardens and the natural environment. Furthermore, respondents indicated that should the school's gardens and natural environment be improved, their own attitudes toward their work and studies would improve. From the results of this study it is plausible to assume that the general urban public is in favor of urban greening projects, and this can, together with the input of conservation biologists, promote biodiversity conservation in densely populated areas.

Keywords: Biodiversity enhancement, fynbos, restoration ecology, urban biodiversity, urban greening, urbanization