Table of Contents
Urban Studies Research
Volume 2017, Article ID 7349219, 9 pages
Research Article

Nature-Related Experience during Childhood in Urban and Rural Areas: The Case of Peninsular Malaysians

1Department of Tourism Science, Graduate School of Urban Environmental Science, Tokyo Metropolitan University, 1-1 Minami Osawa, Hachioji, Tokyo 192-0397, Japan
2Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM), 52109 Kepong, Selangor, Malaysia

Correspondence should be addressed to Huda Farhana Mohamad Muslim; moc.liamg@anahrafydal

Received 15 June 2017; Accepted 11 July 2017; Published 10 August 2017

Academic Editor: Thomas Panagopoulos

Copyright © 2017 Huda Farhana Mohamad Muslim et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Direct experiences with nature in childhood are essential for enhancing psychological and physical development in children. However, researches on childhood nature-related experiences and their effects are largely biased toward more developed Western countries. In this study, we created a questionnaire on childhood experiences with nature and surveyed 357 adults (>20 years old) around Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, to determine whether younger generations had fewer nature-based experiences than older generations and whether people who grew up in urban areas had fewer experiences than those who grew up in rural areas. We found that playing in rivers or waterfalls and collecting and eating tropical fruits were the most common nature-related activities experienced in childhood. There was a minimal decline in nature-related experiences among generations. However, people who grew up in rural areas had more nature-related experiences than those who grew up in urban areas. The loss of nature areas and increase in population density may accelerate the decline in nature-related experiences in urban areas. Therefore, efforts to create urban parks and other public spaces for reconnecting urban children to nature will become increasingly important for urban planning and environmental education in tropical developing countries such as Malaysia.