The concerns on the preservation of the natural environment have focus mainly on large ecosystems protection. These areas are usually distant from the urban environment, where only relatively smaller natural spaces can survive. These small-scale green areas are often disregarded, when compared with the large ones, and many of their benefits are diminished. However, the urban nature provides important social and psychological benefits to human societies, which enrich human life. They provide spaces for social interaction, enhancing the community cohesion, while contributing for a healthier lifestyle. Another advantage is related to the air quality improvement and climate protection due to their ability to store carbon.

Although public preferences for environmental attributes may vary among individual citizens according to their socio-economics characteristics and daily activities, these benefits are well recognized by most citizens, having clear consequences on housing choices. Furthermore, green spaces may be used as factors to increase the attractiveness of a city, by making the city green and pleasant.

The main concern of this paper is to address the importance of green areas for the urban citizens, and to analyze their distribution in consolidated cities. A case study for the city of Lisbon, Portugal is presented, where spatial distribution, distance from residential areas and population satisfaction is analyzed, amongst other indicators.