A growing number of people live in agglomerations, and the need for nearby outdoor spaces that provide the population with opportunities for recovery and to sustain health is increasing. However, urban sprawl dissects and consumes near-natural outdoor spaces in periurban regions. In order to manage and design the remaining nearby outdoor recreation areas to support public health, it is necessary to understand which factors influence nearby outdoor recreation in periurban forest and open country. This article reports on this question by investigating personal, social, and spatial influence factors in qualitative interviews (N = 15) and in a representative survey (N = 656) of the inhabitants of Frauenfeld, Switzerland. Multilinear regression techniques were used to link declared presence/absence to landscape properties and to generate preference maps for the area. We found that short distance, accessibility on foot, workloads, and a person's area knowledge significantly influence workday use frequency of nearby outdoor recreation areas, and that recreation infrastructure is little used on workdays. The most frequently visited sites have a dense small-road and trail network, allow accessibility to rivers or creeks, and enable the users to have an overview of a larger part of the landscape. Recommendations for the design of nearby outdoor recreation areas are given.

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