Parks are one of the long-established strategies of urbanism to promote well-being in cities. More recently, parks have also served as scenarios for the introduction of green design aimed at achieving sustainable cities. Ecological parks have proliferated in this context as goals of sustainable urbanism have been adopted in many cities. This study investigated the perception of different groups of people regarding the contribution of ecological parks to well-being. Perceived benefits of ecological parks were identified through non-directive interviews to visitors, neighbors, administrative personnel and design professionals for three ecological parks in Puerto Rico.
Responses from a total of 25 interviews show appreciation for commonly described benefits, such as physical and mental health, provision of medicinal and food resources, and aesthetic experiences, while also revealing appreciation for the opportunity to leave a legacy, the “rescue of spaces”, and a strong association to “the authentic” (e.g., local artisan products, local history and family activities). These results provide insight on the interaction of people with green design and the ideas associated to the increasingly common places regarded as ecological. They also contribute to a greater understanding of the perception of ecosystem services, especially cultural ones.