Date of Conferral







Elizabeth Clark


Little is known about how residents of rapidly growing cities are impacted by the loss of natural environments. Large cities are expanding at an exponential rate, reducing the presence of, and access to, natural environments for urban dwellers. Many benefits to human health regarding the presence of natural environments near where people live and work are known, but impacts of the loss of natural environments for urban dwellers are unknown. The purpose of this qualitative investigation was to understand residents' experiences regarding the loss of natural environments and related impacts. Attention restoration theory and place attachment were the theoretical lenses used to examine this problem. Data were collected via in-depth interviews from a purposive sample of 20 San Antonio residents. Using interpretative phenomenological analysis procedures, 7 themes emerged: (a) environment (b) health (c) safety (d) finance (e) community and culture (e) factors related to deprivation of nature, and (f) recommendations for improvements. Residents expressed concerns for their health, mental health, the environment, wildlife, byproducts of urbanization, social well-being, personal safety, and finances. Other possible key factors related to the process of deprivation of nature included experiencing a loss of freedom, associated with emotional impacts similar to sadness. Residents of San Antonio, city planners, and policy makers could benefit from understanding these impacts on residents. Data from this study may contribute to possible implications for social change and new knowledge and insights in the areas of health, mental health, social responsibility, urban planning, land conservation, and environmental psychology.