Deakin University

File(s) under permanent embargo

Fifty shades of green: tree coverage and neighbourhood attachment in relation to social interaction in Australian suburbs

conference contribution
posted on 2016-01-01, 00:00 authored by Richard TuckerRichard Tucker, Zainab Ibrahim Abass
Social interaction is seen as a key dimension of social sustainability and an essential feature of the social capital of cities. Yet social interaction in suburban neighbourhoods has been largely overlooked by researchers and designers; a neglect that has had negative impacts on social sustainability in the suburbs. In this paper the impact is explored of tree coverage on neighbourhood attachment in residential, low-density suburban streets in Victoria, Australia. The research is part of a wider study considering the complex relationship between four contributors to social interaction – Neighbourhood Attachment, Neighbourhood Satisfaction, Neighbouring and Walkability, and Safety – and two categories of factors that influence social interaction: the psycho-social and physical characteristics of neighbourhoods. The residents of three suburbs in Geelong, Australia, were questioned via a survey that aimed to measure how physical design factors impact the residents’ interactions. To isolate as much as possible design factors from social factors, the three suburbs chosen had equivalent socio-economic profiles. Two survey methods were used. First, questionnaires were delivered to six streets in each of the three suburbs. Each street had a different type of planning layout. Second, on-street face-to-face survey was carried out in the public spaces adjacent to neighbourhood libraries. The survey used multi-choice 5-point Likert scale questions to determine values for four scales that measure four contributors to social interaction. The wider research hypothesises that characteristics of neighbourhood form, such as tree coverage, can facilitate social interaction by increasing perceptions of neighbourhood attachment. The findings of the research reported on this paper indicated that Neighbourhood Attachment scores significantly increase as tree coverage increases in the suburbs. It is concluded that an understanding of how neighbourhood form determines social interaction in the suburbs can inform strategies for architects, urban planners and other built environment professionals to design sustainable suburban neighbourhoods; particularly through designing streets that provide sense of place and community.



Architectural Science Association. International Conference (50th : 2016 : Adelaide, South Australia)


259 - 268


University of Adelaide


Adelaide, South Australia

Place of publication

Adelaide, Sth Aust.

Start date


End date






Publication classification

E Conference publication; E1 Full written paper - refereed

Copyright notice

2016, Architectural Science Association and the University of Adelaide


J Zuo, D Lyrian, V Soebarto

Title of proceedings

ASA 2016 : Revisiting the Role of Architectural Science in Design and Practice : Proceedings of the 50th International Conference of the Architectural Science Association

Usage metrics

    Research Publications


    No categories selected


    Ref. manager