UBC Graduate Research

Effects of Mixed-Use Green Roof on Student Community & Subjective Well-Being: A Case Study of the University of British Columbia’s Exchange Residence Green Roof Anderson, Lea May; Wan, Kah Mun


A growing body of research indicates that university green spaces positively impact the subjective well-being of university students by providing benefits to physical and mental health and good social relations. The green roof of the University of British Columbia’s Exchange Residence building shares many features of conventional green spaces, but its location over an active bus exchange and integration into a high-density residence building may impact its well-being potential. This small-scale, exploratory study investigates how the green roof’s unconventional design elements affect users’ perception of the space and its effect on their subjective well-being. Using qualitative methods, a total of eight participants (including student residents of the building, non-resident students, and Building Operations staff) were interviewed. The results show that some green roof users perceive the space as providing restorative and social benefits including emotional relief from stress and improved social cohesion. Although these users perceive the space as being less natural and restorative than other campus green spaces, its convenient location is a significant factor in participants’ preference for visiting the green roof over more natural spaces. The study results also suggest a social-restorative benefit trade-off between green spaces that are perceived as highly natural and green spaces that have greater visibility. The paper concludes with recommendations for improving the green roof’s well-being benefits and suggestions for future research.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International