Urban sprawl has a strong impact on the provision and use of green spaces and, consequently, on the benefits that society can derive from these natural ecosystems, especially in terms of public health. In looking at the Sustainable Development Goals and other regional policy frameworks, there is a strong need for quantifying access to green spaces. This study presents and applies a methodology to model the physical accessibility at national and sub-national scales to public green spaces (i.e., urban green spaces and forests) in Switzerland, using AccessMod and ArcGIS travel time functions. We found that approximately 75% and 36% of the Swiss population can access the nearest urban green space within 5 min and 15 min, respectively, using motorized transport. For motorized access to the nearest forest patch, 72% and 52% of the population are within 5 min and 15 min, respectively. When considering only the main urban areas, approximately 55% of the population can walk to the nearest urban green space within 5 min. However, a high heterogeneity in access exists at cantonal and municipal levels, depending on road density, green space density, and population distribution. Despite some possible challenges in correctly delineating public green spaces, our methodology offers a replicable approach offering not only insights into sustainable urban development, but also the facilitation of comparison with other European countries.
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