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Agnieszka Olszewska-Guizzo

Agnieszka Olszewska-Guizzo
NeuroLandscape Foundation

PhD, Landscape Architecture_Urban Ecology_Neuroscience_Mental Health

About

38
Publications
51,390
Reads
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491
Citations
Introduction
In my work I connect the area of landscape architecture and neuroscience trying to understand how the human brain reacts to different landscape exposures. My goal is to identify the design strategies for the living environment that can improve the mental health, especially in urban populations.
Additional affiliations
November 2019 - present
European Commission
Position
  • Expert reviewer
Description
  • Horizon 2020
September 2019 - present
National University of Singapore
Position
  • Supervisor
Description
  • Master theses: 1. "Assessment of Contemplativeness of Landscape in Singapore Downtown Core" 2. “Subconscious Landscape : Impact of the exposure to campus greens on the mental health and well-being of university students.”
August 2018 - present
National University of Singapore
Position
  • Research Associate
Education
September 2011 - July 2015
University of Porto
Field of study
  • Landscape Architecture and Urban Ecology
September 2010 - June 2011
University of Coimbra
Field of study
  • Landscape Architecture and Urban Ecology
February 2009 - July 2010
Warsaw University of Life Sciences - SGGW
Field of study
  • Landscape Architecture - sp. landscape and garden art

Publications

Publications (38)
Article
Public Urban Green Spaces (PUGS) play a vital role in the dense urban fabric as places of Nature-Society contact and socialization. Despite some advances in the field, the relationship between the PUGS surroundings and their users' behaviours remains unclear. This study examined the patterns of human behaviour in four PUGS of the city of Porto, on...
Chapter
Full-text available
Środowisko, w którym żyjemy od zawsze odgrywało zasadniczą rolę w naszym zdrowiu fizycznym i psychicznym. W miastach pomimo łatwiejszego dostępu do opieki zdrowotnej, bieżącej wody, lepszych warunków sanitarnych i wyżywienia, niż poza nimi, obserwujemy dramatyczny wzrost częstości występowania i nasilenia chorób układu oddechowego, metabolicznych i...
Article
Full-text available
The therapeutic values of contact with nature have been increasingly recognized. A growing body of evidence suggests that a unique subcategory of "contemplative landscapes" is particularly therapeutic. Previous studies predominantly focused on observational designs in non-clinical populations. It is not known if these effects can be extrapolated to...
Chapter
Full-text available
A growing body of evidence across distinct disciplines points out the tremendous role of environment quality in shaping the health and well-being of urban populations. While some elements and characteristics of the environment can contribute to health problems, others can be used as tools to promote health throughout the lifespan, facilitate recove...
Article
Full-text available
(1) Background: Prolonged lockdowns with stay-at-home orders have been introduced in many countries since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. They have caused a drastic change in the everyday lives of people living in urbanized areas, and are considered to contribute to a modified perception of the public space. As research related to the impact...
Chapter
Full-text available
1. Mental health is an extremely important topic in our urbanized world. Due to the wide inaccessibility of mental health-care (isolation, high therapy costs, stigma), new non-pharmacological, self-care approaches are needed. 2. Connection with nature proves to contribute significantly to the improvement of mental health of urban dwellers. More sp...
Article
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has had severe negative effects on populations worldwide. The seriousness of the pandemic necessitated local and even national lockdowns. In Singapore a national lockdown with aStay-at-Home Order (SHO) lasted for over 7 weeks. The impact of the pandemic and of the long SHO period on neuropsychophysiological functi...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Urbanization is increasingly putting pressures on biodiversity, ecosystems and ecosystem services. Evidence indicates that green and blue spaces can support the mental health of urban residents. Policy makers, city planners, other decision makers, healthcare professionals, and land managers now face a major challenge to maintain and enhance natural...
Article
Full-text available
Green spaces have been put forward as contributing to good mental health. In an urban context, space is a scarce resource while urbanisation and climate change are increasingly putting pressure on existing urban green space infrastructures and increasing morbidity caused by mental health disorders. Policy makers, designers, planners and other pract...
Chapter
Full-text available
In this paper we discuss the importance of the Local Nature Interventions Projects (LNIP) that are created by low-income communities as coping strategies to extreme events to help them sustain health and well-being. We present examples of the LNIP taking place during the Covid-19 pandemic and we argue that the LNIP are part of a secondary green net...
Article
Full-text available
Background: There is little understanding on how brief relaxation practice and viewing greenery images would affect brain responses during cognitive tasks. In the present study, we examined the variation in brain activation of the prefrontal cortex during arithmetic tasks before and after viewing greenery images, brief relaxation practice, and con...
Article
Full-text available
In the face of rapid urbanization and the growing burden of mental health disease, there is a need to design cities with consideration for human mental health and well-being. There is an emerging body of evidence on the importance of everyday environmental exposures regarding the mental health of city inhabitants. For example, contemplative landsca...
Article
Full-text available
Background: The physical and mental health of citizens living in a country that encouraged face masks (China) and discouraged face masks (Poland) during the initial stage of the COVID-19 pandemic remained unknown. We conducted a cross-country study to compare the psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Poles and Chinese. This study aimed t...
Article
Full-text available
Populations around the world are ageing faster than ever in the past. A constant and already impressive rate in the worldwide increase of life expectancy has led to the fact that the current proportion of the population above 60 years (17%) will double in the next thirty to forty years. In the next 30 years, every third person in the world will fal...
Conference Paper
In the face of ongoing urbanization and ageing of the society, we can easily conclude that soon enough most older adults will live in urban environments. There is a consensus between the researchers and professionals that the urban living is stressful and can cause mental health issues, what is more, ageing itself causes the risk of developing ment...
Article
Full-text available
A growing body of evidence from observational and experimental studies shows the associations between exposure to urban green spaces (UGSs) and mental health outcomes. Little is known about which specific features of UGS that might be the most beneficial. In addition, there is potential in utilizing objective physiological markers of mental health,...
Article
Full-text available
The main objective of this essay is to illustrate the state-of-the-art on ‘mental health-sensitive’ open space design in the built environment. Urban Green Blue Infrastructure can contribute to urbanites’ mental health and wellbeing as well as healthy aging, while providing co-benefits balancing the negative impacts of climate change, through the p...
Poster
Full-text available
Various studies have been conducted on the relationship between exposure to the nature and human health and well-being. Simultaneously, the heterogeneity of objectives, theoretical frameworks, and research methods make the comparison of results and establishment of overall messages difficult. Research on the relationship between urban green and blu...
Experiment Findings
Transversal within subjects design. Participants are passively exposed to the in-situ landscape views, while simultaneously their eeg signal is recorded. In the preliminary analysis we used signal from 17 participants, exposed to 9 different landscape views around Singapore, grouped within 3 locations: therapeutic park location, neighbouthood green...
Article
Although numerous planning and design guidelines have been developed to guide landscape implementation in urban areas, there is scant information on how they are validated before their application. Validation, defined in this study as the process of assessing the applicability and readiness for adoption of guidelines, is seldom reported but is esse...
Article
Full-text available
With the growing interest among researchers, practitioners, and urban decision makers in the influence of the built environment on peoples' health, there is increasing emphasis on using scientific knowledge to inform urban design, including methods of neuroscience. As window views are the most immediate medium of visual connection with one's neighb...
Article
Full-text available
This review aims to show the current state of the knowledge in the area of the visual quality of landscapes in urbanized areas and their influence on people’s mental health and well-being. This falls under the passive recreation and passive exposure to the environmental stimuli present in our cities (such as walking in nature, quiet contemplation)...
Article
Full-text available
This review aims to show the current state of the knowledge in the area of the visual quality of landscapes in urbanized areas and their influence on people’s mental health and well-being. This falls under the passive recreation and passive exposure to the environmental stimuli present in our cities (such as walking in nature, quiet contemplation)...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Studies on Contemplative Landscapes (CL) show that not only do they have high ecological and visual values and are preferred by a majority of people, but they also can be beneficial to our mental health and well-being. Physical attributes of CL have been studied and operationalized, which has led to the development of the psychometric m...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In today‟s context of urban planning, countless frameworks are developed to guide designers and policy makers to plan and build ideally sustainable cities. It is often tedious and financially improbable to validate the frameworks. In this paper we introduce the various methods of validation our framework has undergone Five methods are used: (1) des...
Article
Full-text available
For centuries, landscape architects, architects, and urban planners have been designing outdoor green spaces for one to contemplate. In today’s urban realm, we can understand a contemplative space more specifically as one joining esthetic and environmental values with mental health benefits for its visitors. So far, the concept of contemplativeness...
Thesis
Full-text available
This thesis presents research about the contemplative values of the landscape settings that can be found and designed in contemporary cities. The research focuses on how these contemplative values can influence human brain activity, which may contribute to the improvement of mental health and well-being, as well as the overall quality of life, in u...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper presents the findings of the PhD research titled Contemplative Values of Urban Parks and Gardens, which can be applied to urban greenway design. We consider the network of urban green spaces a multifunctional structure that can not only serve environmental and aesthetical values, but also directly influence people´s mental health and wel...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper presents an interdisciplinary study joining insights of landscape architecture and computer vision. In this work we used a dataset of contemplative landscape images that was collected and evaluated by experts in landscape architecture. We used the dataset to develop nine k-means clustering and one K-nearest neighbors models that are able...
Article
Full-text available
This paper explores the concept of therapeutic gardens surrounding healthcare institu- tions treating neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Dementias. It fo- cuses on how the design of such spaces can address the specific needs of residents, and describes the recent studies concerning the most relevant guidelines for therapeutic gar-...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper presents the results of a pilot experiment which is a part of research attempting to prove that specific space-design strategies can induce contemplative states, as indexed by neurophysiologic measures of mindfulness. This study establishes an important dialogue between artistic and scientific disciplines: landscape architecture, urban s...

Questions

Questions (14)
Question
I am currently looking for the literature reference on the EEG study that tested their effect across stimuli instead of subjects, and so averaged across subjects for their analysis.
Thank you very much for sharing!
Question
There are the following advantages of baseline correction in EEG studies:
• Transform all power data to the same scale. This allows you to compare, visually and statistically, results from different frequency bands, electrodes, conditions, and subjects
• Because baseline-normalized power data are often normally distributed, parametric statistical analyses may be appropriate to use
• time-frequency dynamics become disentangled from a background or task unrelated dynamics
If I recorded baseline first, and then I recorded brain response to visual stimuli, Is it correct to make a baseline correction through a simple subtraction: power during visual stimuli - power during baseline?
Are there any literature references to support the simple subtraction?
Question
Is it possible and feasible to use the LORETA images from a passive task EEG experiment to visualize the frontal alpha asymmetry (FAA) from some participants?
To be more precise I include some details below:
1. I have 60s. long segments, and the LORETA images can be directly displayed in the software I use, after selection of entire segment (before the FTT transform; an example attached).
2. Is there a way to interpret the LORETA image in relationship to the power bands? In my case I want to show the frontal alpha asymmetry , which is characterized by greater brain activation on the left compared to the right frontal hemisphere (or in other words, increased alpha power on the right).
3. Is it common to edit the LORETA image in the graphical software to, for example add on the electrode placement, or mark out one specific region of interest?
4. In the preliminary study I have 22 participants, and I would like to use LORETA images as an interesting and engaging way to visualize my outcomes. Should I incorporate images from all participants for each of the 3 conditions, or it is ok to just present some selected extreme cases?
Thank you for your advice!!
Question
In my ongoing experiment I will need to demonstrate that the videos displayed to participants inside the lab room were "same" in terms of brightness as the outrdoor viewing of the content that is in these videos.
The luminosity [LUX] measured inside is roughly 10 times lower than outdoors, but it looks like the " perceived brightness of any light returned to the eye is a manifestation of its most likely provenance, rather than its photometric value relative to the luminances of other elements in the scene " https://www.researchgate.net/publication/12774905 It makes sense to me, because eyes are adjusting to the change of brightness when we get indoors etc..
So instead the light-meter I would like to use some existing scale or procedure to determine that the scene is perceived by participant in the same way on the video and in the real setting.
Would you be able to share which scale or technique I could use? (I though about letting the participant choose on a mobile device the color that matches one chosen color from the scene, but maybe there is some existing literature about it?)
Thanks a lot for any suggestions!
Question
I have been wondering about what the natural baitat for humans is, from the environment/ ecosystem perspective. And I mean a contemporary human, not an ape or mammal, and given the following considerations:
1) humans spread and adapted to many different climatic conditions around the world,
2) wherever they are they build homes, streets, that eventually lead to the city
3) Is the city natural habitat then?
4) The urban sprawl and populations moving to the cities seem to confirm that
5) But then urban environment is not part of nature...and doesn;t constitute any natural ecosystem.
So where do we belong?
Can anyone give some examples of literature about this issue?
Question
Sometimes scientific analysis seem very biased about what areas are included in the research and what are not even discussed.
For example, C.G Jung's dream analyses is not in the main stream of psychology, so psychologists will say " I am not going to discuss Jung's dream analyses, because it is not science". But why rejecting it if you are not sure if it's true or not?
Another example, the archaeologist when hear about these evidence that aliens built pyramids, will say its not science, I am not dealing with it. But, there is no evidence that this is wrong, even if the evidence may be proven weak.
I think if a scientist is a well educated, open minded person he or she should not reject any hypothesis or opinion until he / sho knows for sure it is proven false. Moreover, I think this should extrapolate to other disciplines of our every-day lives, for example in regard to opinions overheard in media...
I would like to know, what is your opinion about these issues.
Thanks.
Question
How can I cite a survey data in my publication, if the data is collected by the independant company, assigned by my research team from the University, the survey questionnaire was developped by this research team?
As there is a lot of info online about survey data citation they do not quite talk about the situation like that.
I will be grateful for your response.
Best,
Question
Hello, 
I am looking for your recommendations of the neuroscience journals that may publish interdisciplinary research report (shorter and more 'modest" than a full paper). Of course the highest impact-factor the better :) 
It can be also open access..
More specifically this is to present the results of an experiment evaluating the effects of landscape designs on brain activity patterns. 
Thank you very much for suggestions!
Dear Scientists, 
I would really appreciate some reference of the substantial comment on the biophilic design in our cities and the inconveniences that it may bring to people , and how people are ready to embrace those inconvenience. So in fact it is a question about the awareness and readiness of the urban community to embrace what the biophilic design has to offer. 
People do not want to drive or walk the dirt roads in the city, it would make their shoes dirty, they do not want loud nocturnal animals living nearby their houses, they don;t want birds pooping on their cars, in tropical countries they even do not want too much green areas because is a habitat to dangerous mosquitos, also the leaf litter looks messy on the streets, branches can fall on children etc
we talk about biophilia and biodiversity, but not the biodiversity of "ugly bugs", spiders etc.  
I had trouble finding the good reference explaining why we should still incorporate the biophilic design into our urban neighbourhoods, or to what extent, where is the limit? Is the biophilic design only for visual pleasure of people (that has a powerful impact on mental health), so let's make it look good from the windows as long as we do not have to go there?
I would appreciate your comments,
Question
I will run an experiment in which 30 participants will be getting to know 3 designs and then choosing their preference. I don't want to tire them too much. What is the optimal length of the perception studies like that. 
I was thinking in framing it withing 1 hour. Is there any literature to support this?
Question
I have developed a framework for design professionals, that main goal is to enhance the quality of space in certain neighbourhoods.
Then I asked 3 independent design teams to follow this framework in practice, and create the design of the same site. Also, they got back to me with the feedback about their experience on working with this framework.
Is this enough to validate the framework? Or I should use another word to what I did? The control here would be their previous practices, without the framework?
Thanks for answers and comments!

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Cited By

Projects

Projects (11)
Project
This project is centred on one important aspect of UGS that has yet to receive adequate attention in scientific studies: the role of quality of UGS in the health promotion benefits of exposure to green spaces in urban settings. The quality of UGS is an elusive attribute of greenery, often deemed too subjective to be measured quantitatively. Quality also has no universal definition and is multi-dimensional, referring to the quality of UGS that affects satisfaction with direct use of green spaces for active and passive recreation, as well as the visual quality of UGS which confers certain visual and aesthetic experience and mental restorative effects. Studies on the quality of UGS are still very limited. To our knowledge, no study has attempted to measure visual quality quantitatively and the limited number of studies measuring quality has relied on subjective responses from perception studies. We also argue that in the context of the built environment, the visual quality of UGS cannot be dissociated from other built elements like buildings and infrastructure. In other words, a person’s perception and experience of greenery in a densely built-up environment cannot be isolated from the influence of the surrounding urban context, and therefore, focusing on the amount of greenery or studying greenery in isolation fails to uncover more significant associations with health. UGS quality must be considered in concert with other built elements that collectively constitute the “urban landscape”.
Project
NICE aims to understand how the typology (green vs built), design (aesthetic judgement), and social density (crowding) of urban spaces interact with the affective experience and cognitive performance of urban populations during active mobility. Researchers will investigate the interaction between the aesthetic perceptions of the environment, its typology and its congestion by studying the cognitive, affective, and brain correlations in an environmental neuroscience framework. The researchers will conduct a set of two complementary naturalistic neurophysiological studies, with the aim of understanding the complex interaction between perceptions of crowding and the design and typology of urban public spaces. https://fcl.ethz.ch/research/research-projects/NICE.html
Project
In the face of the increasing burden of mental illness in urban environments, and ongoing COVID-19 crisis, residents need innovative, cost-effective and widely available interventions that can help them maintain mental health and quality of life in rapidly degrading living environments. This project aims to meet this demand by exploiting new scientific and technological opportunities. Landscape quality studies have shown the tremendous health benefits of contact with contemplative landscapes, including stress reduction, increased productivity, and improved well-being. These benefits emerge from the mere exposure to these healing natural or built environment which suggests that they can be leveraged to improve well-being, general health and professional productivity, especially for residents of large cities. Virtual reality technology (VR) opens the possibility to bring the health benefits of the landscape to people whose ability to move is limited by sanitary restrictions, old age, health conditions and/or meteorological conditions and to experience them in the comfort of their own home or workplace.