The potential benefits of public urban green spaces (UGS) are widely recognized and well documented, but the actual realization of these benefits depends on appropriate design and ongoing maintenance. To properly consider the needs and preferences of users, the professionals who plan and manage UGS should ideally be guided by the same perceptions that motivate the people who benefit from them. This exploratory international study was aimed at assessing the perceptions of urban residents and their level of satisfaction with specific aspects of UGS quality, and the extent to which these perceptions align with those of the professionals responsible for providing UGS-related services. The data collection was conducted in five European countries (Croatia, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, and Spain) in 2020–2021. The results show that UGS professionals generally underestimate the fears that are experienced by users at night, especially women, but correctly prioritize the importance of tangible solutions such as adequate lighting and cleanliness. Users in all countries emphasized “nature” and “quiet” as factors that improve their general sense of wellbeing in UGS, whereas these two aspects were largely overlooked by professionals in almost all countries. In addition, user satisfaction with specific UGS characteristics ranging from accessibility to park furniture was overestimated by professionals. These findings reinforce the concern that the benefits and services of green spaces can only be maximized if UGS professionals recognize the actual needs and desires of UGS users, from the phase of planning and landscape design to the everyday management and maintenance of these shared amenities.
- Feelings in green spaces