A visit to the Upper Seletar Reservoir Park could be an everyday urban nature experience for Singaporean residents. Photo credit: Benjamin Oh.

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There is a general concern that people living more urbanised, modern lifestyles have fewer and lower quality interactions with nature, and therefore have limited access to the associated health and wellbeing benefits. Yet, to effectively incorporate the benefits of urban nature into the daily lives of city residents, it is crucial to understand how the different types of nature interactions, and the factors that influence these interactions vary across populations. We conducted a study in Singapore and Brisbane, two cities that exhibit considerable differences in urbanisation and population density, and history and culture, to assess how four types of daily nature interactions vary, and whether socio-economic factors explained any variation. We investigated four types of nature interactions: indirect interactions (viewing nature through a window at work or at home), incidental interactions (spending time in nature as part of work), intentional interactions in gardens, and intentional interactions in public urban greenspaces. Overall, we found that Singapore residents spent only half as long (25.8 hours per week) interacting with nature, compared to Brisbane residents (52.3 hours per week). We also found that across both cities, people with stronger nature connection and more personal income spent more time interacting with nature, while older people and females spent less time. However, a closer inspection revealed that each factor could further differ in its relationship between each type of nature interaction. For example, older people in Brisbane spent more time on intentional interactions in gardens, but less time for incidental and indirect interactions, and intentional interactions in parks. Our findings demonstrate that there is much local variation in the dynamics of interactions between people and nature, and that focussed studies are needed to develop effective interventions addressing declines in nature interactions in different locations.