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Effect of environmental conditions on perceived psychological restorativeness of coastal parks


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We investigated the hypothesis that perception of psychological restorativeness during visits to coastal parks is modified by objective and perceived environmental conditions. Visitors (n ¼ 1153) to California beaches completed a survey on perceived weather, environmental quality, and perceived restorativeness. We used generalized ordinal logistic models to estimate the association between environmental parameters and odds of perceiving higher levels of restorativeness. Visitors perceived greater restorativeness at beaches when ambient temperatures were at or below mean monthly temperatures and during low tides. The odds of perceiving the environment as more psychologically restorative were three times greater when visiting on days defined by government policy as having good air quality (OR ¼ 3.25; CI: 1.69e6.28). Visitors’ perception of air (OR ¼ 1.56; CI: 1.14e2.18) and water quality (OR ¼ 1.78; CI: 1.28e2.49) also affected perceived restorativeness; with perceived healthy days more restorative. Warmer temperatures with less space due to sea level rise and poor environmental quality will restrict restorative experiences in recreational facilities designed for urban populations.
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Effect of environmental conditions on perceived psychological restorativeness
of coastal parks
J. Aaron Hipp
, Oladele A. Ogunseitan
One Brookings Drive, Washington University in St. Louis, Brown School of Social Work and Institute for Public Health, Campus Box 1196, Saint Louis, MO 63130, USA
Program in Public Health and School of Social Ecology, University of California, Irvine, 1360 SE II 7070, Irvine, CA 92697, USA
article info
Article history:
Available online 23 August 2011
Air quality
Environmental change
Psychological restoration
Mental health
Coastal parks
We investigated the hypothesis that perception of psychological restorativeness during visits to coastal
parks is modied by objective and perceived environmental conditions. Visitors (n¼1153) to California
beaches completed a survey on perceived weather, environmental quality, and perceived restorative-
ness. We used generalized ordinal logistic models to estimate the association between environmental
parameters and odds of perceiving higher levels of restorativeness. Visitors perceived greater restor-
ativeness at beaches when ambient temperatures were at or below mean monthly temperatures and
during low tides. The odds of perceiving the environment as more psychologically restorative were
three times greater when visiting on days dened by government policy as having good air quality
(OR ¼3.25; CI: 1.69e6.28). Visitorsperception of air (OR ¼1.56 ; CI : 1.14 e2.18) and water quality
(OR ¼1.7 8; CI : 1. 28 e2.49) also affected perceived restorativeness; with perceived healthy days more
restorative. Warmer temperatures with less space due to sea level rise and poor environmental quality
will restrict restorative experiences in recreational facilities designed for urban populations.
Ó2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
1. Introduction
1.1. Psychological restoration
The World Health Organizations (WHO) landmark assessment
of the global burden of disease highlighted the growing impacts of
mental health disorders on societies worldwide, with neuropsy-
chiatric conditions accounting for approximately 13% of all
Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs), and accounting for 45% of
the total number of years lived with disability (YLD) in those
between the ages of 10 and 24 years (Collins et al., 2011; Gore et al.,
2011). The knowledge gaps existing inpreventive strategies against
the development of mental health problems are alarming, and
there is an increasing need to show that investment of societal
resources into services and infrastructures that aid mental health
are justiably essential.
Public open spaces and natural parklands are increasingly
receiving attention as salutogenic resources for psychological
health (Bell et al., 2008; van den Berg, Hartig, & Staats, 2007;
Morris, 2003). Psychologically restorative natural environments
reduce stress (Velarde, Fry, & Tveit, 2007); elicit improvements in
mood and concentration (van den Berg, Koole, & van der Wulp,
2003; Karmanov & Hamel, 2008); reduce heart rate (Chang,
Hammitt, Chen, Machnik, & Su, 2008); correlate with self-
reported health and quality of life (Ogunseitan, 2005; de Vries,
Verheij, Groenewegen, & Spreeuwenberg, 2003); and outpace
entertainment, built urban environments, and gymnasiums in
perceived psychological and attention restoration quality (Bodin &
Hartig, 2003; Herzog, Black, Fountaine, & Knotts, 1997; Hug, Hartig,
Hansmann, Seeland, & Hornung, 2009). To date, studies in envi-
ronmental health psychology have not typically incorporated
gradients of physical environmental parameters as factors associ-
ated with public utilization and experiences of urban infrastruc-
tures and associated health outcomes (Hartig, Catalano, & Ong,
2007; Lafortezza, Carrus, Sanesi, & Davies, 2009). Few studies
have examined the consequences of environmental change, i.e.,
changes in water/air quality and changes in climate, for the public
utilization of psychologically restorative parks in heavily populated
settlements (Cox, 2005; Scott, Jones, & Konopek, 2007).
Restorative environments are dened as places that afford
visitors the opportunity to recover from stress and otherwise
renew personal adaptive resources needed to meet the demands of
everyday life, such as the ability to focus attention (Kaplan &
Kaplan, 1989). Habitation of densely populated urban centers
*Corresponding author. Tel.: þ1 314 935 3868; fax: þ1 314 935 8511.
E-mail addresses: (J. A. Hipp),
(O.A. Ogunseitan).
Tel.: þ1 949 824 2056.
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Journal of Environmental Psychology 31 (2011) 421e429
exerts stress on human psychological and physical resources, and
the cumulative effects of exertion demands psychological restora-
tion opportunities to avoid adverse health impacts (Hartig & Staats,
Natural environments have been demonstrated to support
psychological restoration (Hartig, Evans, Jamner, Davis, & Garling,
2003; Herzog, Maguire, & Nebel, 2003; Kaplan, 1995), especially
blue spacessuch as riversides and the seashore (Laumann, Garling,
& Stormark, 2001; White et al., 2010). These natural environments
are vulnerable to local and/or global environmental changes,
including changes in air quality (e.g., photochemical smog), water
quality (e.g., pollution of beaches with urban runoff or sewage),
increases in ambient temperatures, extreme weather events, and in
the case of coastal parks, sea level rise. Few urban parks have
investigated or planned for vulnerabilities to potential climate
change on existing infrastructures, much less the associated health
effects to visitors (NPS, 2007).
Attention restoration theory (ART) posits that as ones attention
becomes fatigued their functioning declines to a point that resto-
ration is necessary (Kaplan & Kaplan, 1989). Restorative environ-
ments must offer four factors to best facilitate restoration of
attention fatigue; being away, fascination, compatibility, and coher-
ence (Hartig, Korpela, Evans, & Garling, 1996; Kaplan, Kaplan, &
Brown, 1989). Being away refers to a geographical or psycholog-
ical distance from demanding tasks and the associated ability to
escape from distractions. Fascination refers to a soft, or effortless,
intrigue into ones surroundings that allow a person to redirect
attention from stressful demands. Compatibility is the factor that
associates an individuals needs and desires with what the envi-
ronment offers. Finally, extent indicates the ability to make sense of
the structure, connectedness, and scope of the environment.
Natural, park environments have been shown to consistently
support human health (Kuo, 2010), including preference for
restorative environments (Staats, Van Gemerden, & Hartig, 2010).
Because changes in environmental quality and climate conditions
have been shown to affect psychological health, it is hypothesized
here that day-to-day changes will also affect the perceived restor-
ativeness of coastal parks (Bullinger,1989; Doherty & Clayton, 2011;
Hartig et al., 2007; Stokols, Runnerstrom, Misra, & Hipp, 2009).
Changes in environmental quality and climate may increase
distractions, decrease fascination, and reduce perceived compati-
bility and coherence when visiting a natural environment.
1.2. Environmental quality and climate
Approximately one-third of the worlds population lives in
coastal regions, dened as within 100 km of the sea and an elevation
of less than 50 m (UNEP, 2006). In the United States (incorporating
Great Lakes region), 53% of the population lives within coastal zones.
This includes ten of the largest 15 urban areas(NOAA, 20 04). The site
of the present study in Orange County, CA, lies within the second
largest US Census-dened urban area of Los AngeleseLong
BeacheSanta Ana, CA (11.8 million residents), and borders the 15th
largest, San Diego, CA (2.7 million). Highly urbanized populaces have
been a keen focus of environmental psychology due to everyday
stressors in crowded, urban environments and constraints on access
to nature (van den Berg et al., 2007). Coastal cities offer access to
linear parks along the seashore; outdoor, naturalsettings that can be
used for restoration and exercise (Giles-Corti & Donovan, 2002; Hug
et al., 2009). Coastal cities have been an understudied urban envi-
ronment, though they are the most visited ecosystems in the world
(Pendleton, Kildow, & Rote, 2006) and among the most vulnerable to
natural disasters and climate change (Adger, Hughes, Folke,
Carpenter, & Rockstrom, 2005; Heberger, Cooley, Herrera, Gleick, &
Moore, 2009).
In 2008, there were 13 millionvisitors to the seven state beaches
and parks within the Orange Coast District of California State Parks
(Fig. 1). These beaches face a variety of physical environment
gradients including diurnal tides, variations in air and water
temperature, fog via marine layer inversions, onshore and offshore
winds, and qualitative variations in local water and air resources.
The 17 miles of state beach coastline has a history of water quality
problems. Between January 1999 and March 2009, at least some
portion of beach within one of the seven state beaches was closed,
for a cumulative total of 283 days (representing 7.6% of available
days). Beyond natural variations, climate change projections of
rising sea levels and temperatures could have devastating conse-
quences for these coastal parks.
A 2006 report by the California Climate Change Center (CCCC)
concluded that under a Lower Warming Range (3e5.5
1.9 e2.8
C) scenario, California is projected to experience 6e14
inches (15.2e35.6 cm) of sea level rise, 2e2.5 times as many heat
wave days, 1.5 times more critically dry years, 25e35% increase in
days conducive to ground-level ozone formation, and a 10e35%
increase in large wildre risk by 2070e2099, compared to
1961e1990 (Luers, Cayan, Franco, Hanemann, & Croes, 2006,
pp. 16).
In this study we aimed to investigate the hypothesis that
perceptions of psychological restorativeness are affected by gradi-
ents in measured environmental parameters and perceived quality
of environmental conditions. We sought to determine if parameters
associated with climate change projections will negatively affect
the role these parks play in providing psychological restoration for
urban populations. Through this work, we expect to contribute to
a deeper understanding of the potential consequences of global
climate change projections and variations in local environmental
quality for mental health.
2. Methods
2.1. Location of infrastructures selected for the study
The beaches of the Orange Coast District component of the
California State Parks system were selected as the study site in part
because they are located in a densely populated urban region, and
are described by reliable historical records of physical environ-
mental parameters and public accessibility (Fig. 1). The average
number of visitors to the beaches exceeds 1 million per month,
although this is variable by season. The beaches represent a publi-
cally funded recreational resource for local residents and tourists,
with the tacit justication of benets to public health and wellness.
In 2008, the state park system charged $10 per vehicle entrance fee,
but the beaches are also available free of charge to visitors arriving
by public transportation, on foot, or bicycle. Three representative
coastal beach parks in the Orange Coast District were selected for
further study in this research: Bolsa Chica State Beach (4.0 million
visitors in 2008), Crystal Cove State Park (770,000); and Doheny
State Beach (1.5 million).
2.2. Population survey
We developed a questionnaire-based survey instrument to test
the hypothesis that objective measures and perception of physical
parameters indicative of environmental quality inuences the
experience of psychological restoration by visitors to the coastal
parks. The questionnaire was used to solicit information on expe-
riences associated with objective and perceived climatic and other
environmental parameters. The University of California Irvines
Institutional Review Board approved all materials, methods, and
J.A. Hipp, O.A. Ogunseitan / Journal of Environmental Psychology 31 (2011) 421e429422
We visited the study sites to recruit participants twice per
month during calendar year 2008; once on a weekday and once on
a weekend. During the heavy tourist month of July, we added one
extra weekday visit to each beach. In all, there were 75 survey visits.
All survey dates were randomly selected prior to the beginning of
each month, with the criteria of having one high and one low tide
date per month. This quasi-random survey date selection helped
provide a diversity of survey dates, climatic conditions, and other
parameters of environmental quality. Each survey visit included at
least two research surveyors over a period of 2 h: between 1 h prior
to and 1 h following the designated high/low tide.
Prospective survey respondents were approached directly.
Surveyors approached all visitors appearing to be over the age of 18
years old and asked for their voluntary participation. Those who
agreed to participate were given the option of completing the
questionnaire as self-administered or research surveyor-
administered. Participants who opted for surveyor-administered
questionnaire listened to questions read by the surveyors who
offered no further insight or guidance on how participants
responded. Overall, 1153 respondents participated in the pop-
ulation survey. For each respondent, we collected information on
duration of stay, frequency of visits to the location, residence zip
code, and if not visiting alone, the number of people in the group.
2.3. Assessment of public perception of psychological
The psychological benets of restorative environments are
described by the attention restoration theory (ART) which focuses
on four components, namely, being away,extent,fascination, and
compatibility (Kaplan & Kaplan, 1989; Kaplan et al., 1989). Being
away allows the visitor to experience a sense of escape and change
from the environment or occupation that had diminished the
capacity for directed attention. Extent describes the temporal and
spatial scope of the environment being visited; and extent is
associated with concepts of connectedness and ease of compre-
hension of a locations dimensions. Fascination captures the level of
engagement or interest in the environment, as visitors consider
what they are viewing and experiencing without reaching the level
of directed attention in a way that mayexacerbate fatigue. The nal
construct is compatibility, or a persons inclinations and activities
within the environment. Compatibility assesses the extent to which
a persons needs are compatible with and supported by the
Hartig, Kaiser, and Bowler (1997, pp. 23) developed a Perceived
Restorativeness Scale (PRS) based on ART. In PRS, the term extent
was replaced by coherence to emphasize the importance of
a coherent and understood connectedness to the environment. In
addition, PRS includes the concept of legibility to address issues of
orientation as a visitor moves within an environment.
PRS presents questions and statements to which participants
record their responses. For example, tothe statement Being here is
an escape experience,respondents may select answers on a scale
ranging from 0 to 6: Not at all(0) to Completely(6). There are 26
such statements, and the results of PRS assessment represents the
means of aggregated responses, with appropriate reverse coding
for negative-worded statements (e.g., There is too much going
on). In the present research, we adopted the PRS and its associated
denitions to assess respondentsself-report of perceived restor-
ativeness in the environment. Conrmatory factor analysis
supports the model of all ve factors as the best t. The RMSEA for
one factor, four factor (compatibility and legibility combined, per
ndings in Hartig et al., 1997), and ve factor (compatibility and
legibility separated), were 0.152, 0.092, 0.068, respectively.
Fig. 1. Map of study sites and Orange County population per city.
J.A. Hipp, O.A. Ogunseitan / Journal of Environmental Psychology 31 (2011) 421e429 423
2.4. Perception of physical environmental conditions
Participants responded to questions about their perception of
current weather and environmental conditions. Responses were
ranked on Likert-type scales with six choices including a Dont
Knowoption. Responses to questions about air temperature and
ocean (water) temperature ranged from very coldto hot.
Precipitation was ranked from no rainto heavy rain.Perception
of wind ranged from no windto strong wind.Cloud cover was
recorded in quintiles, ranging from 0% to 100%. Air quality and
water quality ranged from very unhealthyto very healthy.
2.5. Ambient physical environmental variables
Data from national and state monitoring stations were acquired
for environmental parameters and climatic conditions. The data
represented current tide conditions (low/high), maximum and
minimum daily temperature, ambient temperature during each
survey period, daily sum precipitation, wind, visibility, water
quality, and air quality. Objective climatic and environmental
quality data were recorded on the day of survey and represent
recorded data closest to the time of the designated tidal visit.
Designated low/high tide were collected from NOAA (2008).
Daily maximum/minimum temperature (
C), precipitation (mm),
and wind speed (mph) variables were recorded from the Western
Regional Climate Center (2008).Weather Underground (2008)
was used as the source of data on actual temperature at the time
closest to the designated tide. Water quality data were provided by
the Orange County Health Care Agency (2008), including total
coliform bacteria in Colony Forming Units (CFUs)/100 ml of water,
and in Maximum Probably Number (MPNs)/100 ml. Air quality data
were from (2008). This US government site categori-
cally ranks ground-level ozone concentrations (Air Quality Index)
into Good,Moderate,Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups,
Unhealthy,Very Unhealthy,and Hazardous.Visibility in miles
and relative humidity (%) were obtained from NOAA (2008).
As this research focused on the effect of environmental condi-
tions on perceived restorativeness, we chose to measure both
objective and perceived environmental quality and weather.
Respondents in previous studies have shown an inability to accu-
rately judge environmental quality and weather (Leslie, Sugiyama,
Ierodiaconou, & Kremer, 2010; McGinn, Evenson, Herring, Huston,
& Rodriguez, 2007; Steinwender, Gundacker, & Wittmann, 2008).
In addition, it was hypothesized that perceived environmental
quality and perceived weather conditions would be associated with
perceived restorativeness of the environment. This would be an
intuitive result, but prior to the present study has not been tested.
Objectively, various weather and environmental conditions have
been statistically correlated with anti-depression medication
prescriptions (Hartig et al., 2007), mood (Keller et al., 2005), and
psychiatric emergency room visits (Briere, Downes, & Spensley,
1983), among other outcomes, but has not been associated with
perceived environmental restorativeness.
2.6. Perceived environmental restorativeness associated with
climate change scenarios
Based on low, medium, and high CO
emission scenarios, the
California Climate Change Center projects temperature increases of
1.6 e3.1
C, 3.1e4.4
C, or 4.4e5.5
C, respectively, by the 30 year
period of 2070e2099 (Luers et al., 2006). Based on these scenarios,
the ambient temperatures during survey visits have been classied
as average or plus 1.6
C, plus 3.1
C, or plus 4.4
Temperature anomalies were determined on the basis of
historical trends compiled from average monthly maximum
temperatures recorded between 1934 and 2006. The actual
temperature on the survey date was subtracted from the average
historical monthly maximum. For example, the average January
maximum temperature for Crystal Cove State Park is 17.4
C. The
temperature at Crystal Cove at 11:30am on an actual survey day
was 14.5
C. The reported temperature anomaly for the study
purposes is the difference of 2.9
2.7. Statistical analyses
Descriptive univariate statistics were obtained for demographic
data. Zero-order and non-parametric correlations were measured
between potential confounders, independent variables of objective
and perceived environmental quality and weather, and outcome
variables of the PRS and its ve separate constructs (Hipp, 2009).
Based on correlation results, a series of t-tests were completed. For
the t-tests, environmental parameters were transformed to binary
variables, e.g. Goodair quality versus Moderateor worse air
The nal analysis was a series of generalized ordinal logistic
models (Norusis, 2010). The model relaxes the assumption of
parallel lines. Individual means for the PRS and constructs were
grouped into 6 ordinal categories. Means 1.50 ¼ordinal category
1; 1.51e2.50 ¼2; 2.51e3.50 ¼3; 3.51e4.50 ¼4; 4.51e5.50 ¼5; and
means 5.51 ¼6. Results are presented as exponential odds ratios
estimating the association between environmental parameters and
the odds of perceiving higher levels of restorativeness versus lower
levels. The statistical package used was SPSS/PASW version 18.0.
3. Results
3.1. Demographic information on surveyed population
The summary of the descriptive statistics of the surveyed pop-
ulation is presented in Table 1. All surveys were completed between
8:15am and 7:15pm, between January 16th, 2008 and December
15th, 2008. The survey methodology provided an even distribution
of participants across the three parks, weekdays/weekends, and
high/low tide. Overall, the response rate was 71.8%. Of those who
refused to participate, 43.7% were female, 54.1% lived in Orange
County, and their average age was 42.9 years. Compared to the1153
respondents, there were slightly more female participants (51%)
and two-thirds of participants were Orange County residents.
Caucasians were the majority race at 74% and 18% of all respondents
self-identied as Hispanic/Spanish ethnicity. Participants were
visiting the beaches with an average group size of four. Twenty-
seven percent of respondents were California State Park annual
pass holders, allowing for unlimited entrance during a 12-month
period for the price of $100.00.
The average duration of visit was2.9, just below the 2e4 h interval
(3 on the categorical scale of 1e4). Frequency of visitation was very
high e268 h per year. This number was established by multiplying
the self-reported number of yearly visits and the average length of
visit per park. The frequency of visit to eachof theseven coastal parks
was summed to arrive at the average of 268 h per year. The median
frequency of visit was only 88 h per year, or approximately 1.5 h per
week. Eight participants were removed from analysis due to the
reporting of over 12 h of beach visitation per day.
3.2. Objective parameters of environmental quality on scheduled
survey dates
The ambient temperature on 14 out of the scheduled 74 survey
dates (18.9%), for which we have temperature data, was at least
C higher than the historical monthly average. The ambient
J.A. Hipp, O.A. Ogunseitan / Journal of Environmental Psychology 31 (2011) 421e429424
temperature anomaly on 8 of these survey dates was higher than
C, and on four dates, the anomaly was higher than 4.4
The tropospheric ozone concentration was rated as moderate or
unhealthy for sensitive groups on three of the survey dates. Total
coliform bacterial concentration in ocean water exceeded the
regulatory standards of above 1000 Colony Forming Units (CFU)/
100 ml of water on three dates. Californias standard for ocean
water contact is a single-sample of 10,000 CFU/100 ml and
a geometric mean of 1,000 CFU/100 ml (CDPH, 2010; RWQCB, 1999;
Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board Water Quality
Control Plan Attachment to Resolution No. 99-10," 1999). Rainfall
occurred on only one date during the study period, and as such,
precipitation was not included in the analyses.
3.3. Perceived restorativeness of coastal parks
Visitors to the study sites perceived the locations to be
psychologically restorative. The mean score on the Perceived
Restorativeness Scale (PRS) was 4.8 out of 6.0, equivalent in narrative
to between Rather muchand Very muchrestorative (n¼1053). In
the PRS framework, coherence was rated highest with an average
rating of 5.2 (between Very muchand Completelyrestorative).
The lowest rating (4.6) was associated with being away.
We included Cohen, Kamarck, & Mermelstein, 1983 Perceived
Stress Scale to test the relationship between stress and restor-
ativeness. There was a positive correlation with higher perceived
stress associated with higher perceived restorativeness (R
p<0.001). Thus, those most fatigued and stressed were reporting
the environment as most restorative, on average. This result adds
validity to the use of coastal parks as restorative environments.
A series of t-tests were performed to determine if there were
signicant variations in the perceived restorativeness of the coastal
parks associated with objective and perceived environmental
conditions (Tables 2 and 3). For the t-tests, all PRS data were square-
adjusted to meet the assumption of normal distribution. Approxi-
mately 5% of all participants expressed complete agreement with
each of the 26 statements on perceived restorativeness. The raw
data showed signicant negative skew, and several transformations
were thus performed. Square-adjustments of all 26-items and the
overall PRS score provided a normal t to the data. Subsequently
coherence was the only subscale with a skewness score of less
than 0.04. As this step was exploratory, Bonferroni corrections
were not performed.
Results for objective and perceived environmental parameters
are presented in Tables 2 and 3, respectively. Non-signicant
environmental parameters are not reported. For objective envi-
ronmental parameters this included water quality (i.e. bacterial
Colony Forming Units), wind speed, water temperature, humidity,
and visibility. For perceived environmental parameters this
included ambient and water temperature and wind.
Visitors to the state beaches perceived the environment as more
restorative on days objectively cooler than climate change
scenarios, during low tide, and on days with Goodground-level
ozone. This held true for the aggregate PRS measure, but there
was variety within the constructs. Fascination,compatibility, and
legibility were each rated signicantly higher with cooler ambient
temperatures. Only the constructs of being away and fascination
were signicantly higher at low tide. Each construct was rated
signicantly higher during days with good air quality.
Perceived restorativeness and perception of air quality followed
a similar response to objective air quality measurements, with the
exception that the construct of being away was not signicantly
different. Visitors to the state beaches perceived the environment
to be more restorative when they also perceived the air and water
Table 2
Summary of t-tests of relationship between objective environmental parameters and binary perception of psychological restorativeness.
Objective environmental variable N
Mean (Standard Deviation)
PRS Being away Fascination Coherence Compatibility Legibility
Temperature during visit
C above monthly mean 868 24.0*(7.3) 23.1 (9.9) 24.0** (8.7) 28.6 (9.1) 24.7*(9.0) 23.7*(9.3)
C above monthly mean 214 22.8 (7.2) 23.2 (10.0) 22.0 (8.4) 27.4 (9.2) 22.2 (9.7) 22.2 (9.6)
Low 578 24.3** (7.3) 23.7*(10.0) 24.4*** (8.5) 28.5 (9.1) 24.9 (9.1) 23.7 (9.4)
High 513 23.1 (7.3) 22.4 (9.8) 22.6 (8.7) 28.0 (9.2) 24.0 (9.3) 22.9 (9.4)
Actual air quality
Moderate/unhealthy for sensitive groups 50 19.8*** (7.5) 19.1** (10.6) 19.5*** (8.9) 25.2*(10.5) 20.8** (10.4) 19.9** (9.0)
Good 1048 23.9 (7.3) 23.3 (9.9) 23.8 (8.6) 28.4 (9.1) 24.6 (9.1) 23.5 (9.4)
Nrepresents the smallest sample size across the ve constructs.
Signicant differences between groups are as follows: *p<0.05, **p<0.01, **p<0.001.
Table 1
Descriptive statistics of sampled population.
Variable NMean/% SD
Response rate 1153 71.8% NA
Female 572 51.0% NA
Age 1107 42.9 14.0
Spanish/Hispanic origin 196 17.9% NA
Caucasian 811 73.7% NA
Orange County resident 631 63.4% NA
1041 3.2 0.9
State Park annual pass holder 182 27.0% NA
Group size 1103 4.0 6.5
Duration of visit
1145 2.9 0.9
Frequency of visit (hours/year)
939 323.0 785.7
People per viewscape 1124 60.1 148.4
High tide 539 46.7% NA
235 20.7% NA
State Beach/Park
Bolsa Chica 385 33.4% NA
Crystal Cove 381 33.0% NA
Doheny 387 33.6% NA
Location of survey within state beach
Beach/sand 791 68.6% NA
Boardwalk 175 15.2% NA
Other 187 16.2% NA
PRS 1032 4.8 0.8
Being away
1124 4.6 1.3
Fascination 1132 4.8 1.0
Coherence 1101 5.2 1.1
Compatibility 1099 4.8 1.1
Legibility 1098 4.7 1.1
Ordinal variable: 1 ¼Under $20 k annual; 2 ¼$20 ke$60 k; 3 ¼$60 ke$100 k;
4¼Greater than $100 k.
Ordinal variable: 1 ¼Less than 1 h; 2 ¼One to 2 h; 3 ¼Two to 4 h; 4 ¼Longer
than 4 h.
Calculated as the sum of mean annual visits multiplied by mean length of stay
for all seven Orange Coast District State Beaches and Parks.
All others completed as self-administered.
PRS, Being away, Fascination, Coherence, Compatibility, and Legibility. Mean of
responses to comments on restorative aspects of the environment (ordinal vari-
ables): 0 ¼Not at all; 1 ¼Very little; 2 ¼Rather little; 3 ¼Neither little nor much;
4¼Rather much; 5 ¼Very much; 6 ¼Completely.
J.A. Hipp, O.A. Ogunseitan / Journal of Environmental Psychology 31 (2011) 421e429 425
quality to be healthyor very healthy.Cloud cover had a small,
but statistically signicant effect on perceived fascination, with less
cloudy days rated more restorative.
The nal step of analysis was the generalized ordinal logistic
models to reveal potentially predictive relationships among envi-
ronmental characteristics and perceived level of restorativeness
(see Tables 4 and 5). For these models, we controlled for seven
factors based on their signicant correlation with overall PRS score.
The individual factors were: gender, location of survey response,
group size, duration of stay, time of visit, Orange County resident,
surveyor-administered, and the xed-effect of park.
The odds of perceiving the environment as more psychologically
restorative were more than three times greater when visiting the
state beach on a day with good air quality, holding all other vari-
ables constant. This relationship held true for all constructs.
Conversely, the odds of perceiving the environment as more
psychologically restorative were 30% less likely when visiting
a state beach during a high tide. This result was consistent across
constructs except legibility. Visitors on a day with ambient
temperatures greater than 1.6
C above the monthly mean were
30% less likely to perceive the environment as restorative compared
to those visiting on days with average or below average tempera-
tures. Though the direction of the relationship between ambient
temperature and restorativeness was consistent across the
constructs, none of the individual constructs revealed a signi-
cantly relationship with temperature.
Similar to objective environmental parameters, visitors who
perceived the air quality to be healthier were more likely to
perceive the environment as more psychologically restorative.
Perceived water quality also had a positive association with
perceived restorativeness of the environment. The odds of report-
ing the environment as more restorative increased by 78%, on
average, if the respondent perceived the Pacic Ocean water quality
as either Healthyor Very healthy.Perceived cloud cover had
a negative association with the constructs of being away and
legibility. On average, visitors to the state beaches reported that
their experience provided less of a novel setting for being away
when there was greater cloud cover.
4. Discussion
Through this study, we investigated whether changes in objec-
tive and perceived environmental conditions constrained or
accentuated the perceived restorativeness of coastal park envi-
ronments. The gradation of climate and environmental parameters
across the 75 survey dates provided a rich ecological context within
the framework of localized scenarios of global climate change.
Approximately one in ve survey dates had ambient temperatures
at least 1.6
C above monthly average. This result allowed for the
comparison and contrasting of perceived restorativeness below and
above established ambient temperature for climate change
scenarios projected for California.
To simulate the potential impact of climate-induced sea level
rise, we implemented the surveys around known periods of high
and low tides, with high tide used as an approximation of perceived
restorativeness in a sea level rise scenario.
The variations in objective and perceived environmental quality
parameters also presented the opportunity to discuss results in the
context of global environmental change. Decreases in air and water
quality are both projections of climate change, especially in coastal,
urban communities such as Southern California (Luers et al., 2006).
To our knowledge, this is the rst attempt to establish a link
between objective and perceived parametric gradients in environ-
mental quality and climate and their affect on perceptions of
psychological restorativeness. The results reveal perceived
psychological restorativeness within the natural environments is
signicantly inuenced by gradients in environmental parameters.
The perceived restorativeness of the coastal parks was inversely
associated with ambient air temperatures above climate change
Table 4
Generalized ordinal logistic model for objective environmental parameters (results have been exponentiated; proportional odds ratios shown).
OR (95% CI)
PRS Being away Fascination Coherence Compatibility Legibility
Temperature during visit
C above monthly mean
C above monthly mean 0.70 (0.50, 0.98) 0.92 (0.67, 1.27) 0.79 (0.58, 1.09) 0.86 (0.61, 1.07) 0.95 (0.69, 1.32) 0.79 (0.57, 1.09)
Tide during visit
Low 111111
High 0.71 (0.56, 0.91) 0.69 (0.54, 0.88) 0.73 (0.57, 0.93) 0.76 (0.58, 0.98) 0.78 (0.61, 0.99) 0.80 (0.62, 1.02)
Air quality
Moderate/unhealthy for sensitive groups 1 1 1111
Good 3.26 (1.69, 6.28) 2.02 (1.06, 3.84) 2.60 (1.40, 4.85) 2.26 (1.18, 4.31) 2.29 (1.17, 4.45) 2.35 (1.21, 4.57)
Reference category.
Table 3
Summary of t-tests of relationship between perceived environmental parameters and binary perception of psychological restorativeness.
Perceived environmental variable N
Mean (Standard Deviation)
PRS Being away Fascination Coherence Compatibility Legibility
Perceived air quality
Unhealthy or neither unhealthy/healthy 197 21.9*** (7.7) 22.9 (9.8) 21.5*** (21.5) 26.3** (10.3) 22.1*** (9.6) 21.1*** (9.8)
Healthy 777 24.2 (7.2) 23.1 (10.0) 23.9 (23.9) 28.8 (8.8) 25.2 (8.9) 24.2 (9.1)
Perceived water quality
Unhealthy or neither unhealthy/healthy 342 22.3*** (7.0) 21.9*** (9.5) 21.6*** (8.5) 26.9*(9.6) 23.8*** (9.2) 22.3*** (9.2)
Healthy 318 25.3 (7.2) 24.5 (9.7) 25.2 (8.5) 28.4 (9.4) 26.5 (8.4) 25.5 (8.9)
Perceived cloud cover
0e25% 839 23.9 (7.3) 23.6** (9.7) 23.5 (8.7) 28.5 (8.9) 24.7 (9.1) 23.6 (9.3)
50e100% 220 23.2 (7.3) 21.6 (10.2) 23.7 (8.4) 27.8 (10.0) 24.1 (9.1) 23.0 (9.3)
Nrepresents the smallest sample size across the ve constructs.
Signicant differences between groups are as follows: *p<0.05, **p<0.01, **p<0.001.
J.A. Hipp, O.A. Ogunseitan / Journal of Environmental Psychology 31 (2011) 421e429426
scenarios (1.6
C) during visitation. The warmer the temperature,
the less the environment rated as psychologically restorative.
The lower level of perceived restorativeness in the parks under
objective conditions of above average temperatures may be related
to an associated loss of physical comfort (Thorsson, Honjo,
Lindberg, Eliasson, & Lim, 2007; Zacharias, Stathopoulos, & Wu,
2004). A recent study by Park et al. (2011) found cooler summer
thermal conditions to be associated with less psychological distress
and a greater sense of the environment being enjoyable, friendly,
and natural. If visitors cannot reach a physical and psychological
comfort level due to warm temperatures, then they will be unable
to restore directed attention and/or gain relief from psycho-
physiological stress. Increased temperatures may reduce the
ability to experience soft, undirected fascination, with the heat
becoming a focus of attention. The perceived compatibility of the
environment is also lessened. Interestingly, perceived ambient
temperature was not signicantly associated with PRS, even though
participants who visited the beach on days that were 1.6
C above
mean temperatures were more likely to rate the temperature as
warm or hot (
¼73.4, p<0.001).
The level of perceived restorativeness and associated responses
decreased as air quality, both perceived and objective, and
perceived water quality became less healthy. Visiting a state beach
on a day with goodair quality, as opposed to moderateor
unhealthy for sensitive groups,more than tripled the odds of
increasing perceived restorativeness to at least the next highest
ordinal category, a result signicant for each construct as well.
Though air quality is much improved from the 1970s and 1980s,
Southern California is still susceptible to smog and on many survey
dates a brown haze was noticeable on the horizon. Concerns about
the environment and the air one is breathing may be directly
related to perceptions of environmental restorativeness. Though
a causal link cannot be made with the present study, the results do
offer a strong association. The signicant relationship between
perceived environmental quality and perceived restorativeness is
evident in regard to water quality as well.
These are noteworthy results given climate change projections
for Southern California include increases in the number of days
with high levels of tropospheric ozone (Luers et al., 2006) and
increased levels of surface water pollution due to increased urban
runoff, ooding, and alterations in El Niño patterns (Boehm et al.,
2002; Dwight, Semenza, Baker, & Olson, 2002; Murdoch, Baron, &
Miller, 2000; Tibbetts, 2007; Trenberth & Hoar, 1997). Major
health impacts of climate change are projected to be associated
with poor air and water quality with increasing incidences of
gastrointestinal disorders and respiratory diseases (USEPA, 2009).
However, the psychological health effects that are expected to
accompany deterioration of environmental quality have been
difcult to pinpoint and quantify (van Kamp, Leidelmeijer,
Marsman, & de Hollander, 2003; Stokols,1992; Stokols et al., 2009).
The statistically signicant association of oceanic tide levels and
perception of psychological restorativeness is another important
nding. That low tide is perceived as more restorative was an
unexpected nding for the coastal parks given all three were
favored surng environments during high tide. Low tide conditions
do offer tide pool exploration and wider sandy and rocky areas to
explore, facts that may support higher ratings of fascination and
being away during low tides. However, respondents reported
participating in tide pool exploration less often than surng (20%
and 28% of respondents, respectively). We believe our ndings are
due to the negative effect of crowding during higher tides.
Presumably, during high tides, crowding occurs because there is
less physical space on the sand for restoration, social, and recrea-
tional activities. In urban environments such as Orange County
with high seasonal beach visitation, higher tides may reduce the
public benets of parks and infrastructures designed to support
beach visitation due to an accompanied increase in crowding.
Respondents to this survey revealed high incidence of beach
visitation, with a median of 88 h of visitation per year. Past research
into preferred and favorite places reveal seaside environments as
a signicant choice (Korpela, Ylen, Tyrvainen, & Silvennoinen, 2010;
Laumann et al., 2001; White et al., 2010). During 2000e2001,
NOAA and California State University, Chico conducted a phone-
based study to determine the number of beach-goers in Southern
California and the frequency of their visits. In a ve county area of
Southern California only 30.6% reported not being beach-goers. In
a more detailed, diary-based study of beach-goers in Los Angeles
and Orange Counties, respondents reported going to the beach an
average of 5.6 times between February and July, 2000. Within this
group there were individuals who reported visiting the beach at
least 30 times in a two month diary period (NOAA, 2002). These
ndings support the strong preference for coastal park visitation by
local residents.
The high frequency of beach visitation in the present study may
hint at the possibility of future visitor adaptation to changing
climatic conditions. One of the grand challenges in framing climate
change projection work is addressing how populations might adapt
and adjust as climate, on average, gradually changes. Colleagues in
Italy and the UK compared preference for shade during summer
green space visitation (Lafortezza et al., 2009). There was consid-
erable preference for shade in both countries, but the preference for
shade was signicantly higher in the warmer Italian cities. The
Italian users were also more likely to visit the green space in the
evening to avoid the warmest part of the day. As climate changes it
is reasonable to expect such adaptations as seeking shade and
avoiding the park during extreme temperatures. We suspect
extreme temperatures or the absence of sandy beach areas due to
sea level will result in people seeking other opportunities for
psychological restoration. It is up to governments to anticipate and
plan for this, especially in urbanized regions. However, it is difcult
Table 5
Generalized ordinal logistic model for perceived environmental parameters (results have been exponentiated; proportional odds ratios shown).
OR (95% CI)
PRS Being away Fascination Coherence Compatibility Legibility
Perceived air quality
Neither unhealthy, nor healthy to Very unhealthy
Healthy or Very healthy 1.56 (1.14, 2.18) 1.04 (0.76, 1.43) 1.51 (1.10, 2.08) 1.60 (1.15, 2.24) 1.61 (1.17, 2.21) 1.49 (1.08, 2.07)
Perceived water quality
Neither unhealthy, nor healthy to Very unhealthy 1 1 1111
Healthy or Very healthy 1.78 (1.28, 2.49) 1.66 (1.21, 2.28) 1.98 (1.44, 2.73) 1.18 (0.84,1.66) 1.60 (1.16, 2.21) 1.87 (1.35, 2.59)
Perceived cloud cover
<25% 111111
>50% 0.75 (0.56, 1.02) 0.68 (0.50, 0.91) 0.82 (0.61, 1.10) 0.82 (0.60, 1.13) 0.76 (0.58, 1.04) 0.58 (0.43, 0.78)
Reference category.
J.A. Hipp, O.A. Ogunseitan / Journal of Environmental Psychology 31 (2011) 421e429 427
to quantitatively predict the extent of adaptation if the baseline
conditions change worldwide as predicted by climate change
These results are based on self-selected participants who had
already made the decision to visit the study sites. Our conclusions
should be interpreted carefully within this context. However,
Winkel, Saegert, and Evans (2009) suggests congruence between
selection of recreational environments and the health behavior
outcomes, where, for example, certain locations support passive
relaxation and others support active physical exercise. Changes to
the quality of the environment may, as in this study, affect
perceived restorativeness.
5. Conclusions
Our results provide evidence for the psychological effects of
climate change with respect to mental restoration. The results also
provide a strong rationale for proactive accommodation of the
projected impact of global climate change through the design of
urban parks to maintain benets to the public and prevent possible
impacts on mental health.
Through this research, we tested the hypothesis that the level of
perceived psychological restorativeness of coastal parks is sensitive
to gradients in environmental quality and climate that are associ-
ated with global climate change projections. Important results of
this research are that perception of water and air quality, and
objective measures of temperature difference from monthly mean,
tide, and air quality are all signicantly associated with perceived
level of psychological restorativeness in the environment. Projec-
tions of global climate change impacts include deterioration of each
of these environmental parameters.
The statistically signicant contribution of both perceived and
objective gradients in environmental parameters to the anticipation
of psychological restoration in coastal parks has broad implications.
Natural parks in urban and peri-urban regions have been shown to
offer salutogenic health benets to residents. The justication for
resources expended by societies to maintain parks and access to
natural areas is buttressed by arguments linking such resources to
preventive strategies in mental health care at the population level.
We would like to acknowledge the undergraduate research
assistants who assisted this project: O. Ahumibe, S. Contreras, C.
Gutierrez, E. Margallo, A. Sahakian, A. Seeba, A. Suh, P. Trivedi, M.
Wong, J. Yea. We also thank D. Stokols, S. Reich, R. Raghavan, and
the three reviewers for helpful comments on an earlier draft.
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J.A. Hipp, O.A. Ogunseitan / Journal of Environmental Psychology 31 (2011) 421e429 429
... Restorative effects of natural environments have been examined in various environmental settings such as wilderness , forests (Hauru et al., 2012;Van den Berg et al., 2014), gardens (Ivarsson and Hagerhall, 2008), coastal parks (Hipp and Ogunseitan, 2011;Subiza-Pérez et al., 2020), and small urban parks (Berman et al., 2008;Nordh et al., 2009). Various researchers have studied the effects of visual exposure to natural attributes encompassed in environmental settings, such as the sky (Masoudinejad and Hartig, 2020), water (Hipp and Ogunseitan, 2011;Ulrich, 1981;White et al., 2010), and vegetation (Carrus et al., 2013;Hauru et al., 2012;Hernández and Hidalgo, 2005). ...
... Restorative effects of natural environments have been examined in various environmental settings such as wilderness , forests (Hauru et al., 2012;Van den Berg et al., 2014), gardens (Ivarsson and Hagerhall, 2008), coastal parks (Hipp and Ogunseitan, 2011;Subiza-Pérez et al., 2020), and small urban parks (Berman et al., 2008;Nordh et al., 2009). Various researchers have studied the effects of visual exposure to natural attributes encompassed in environmental settings, such as the sky (Masoudinejad and Hartig, 2020), water (Hipp and Ogunseitan, 2011;Ulrich, 1981;White et al., 2010), and vegetation (Carrus et al., 2013;Hauru et al., 2012;Hernández and Hidalgo, 2005). Table 1 provides a detailed summary of previous studies on the effects of visual exposure to natural attributes on restorativeness, including the experimental setting, length of exposure, outcome variables, assessment measures, and key findings. ...
... However, Wilkie and Stavridou (2013) found that only pleasant water increased restorativeness, whereas water with an unpleasant odor and/or appearance decreased restorativeness and showed even lower restorativeness compared to no water. Hipp and Ogunseitan (2011) also identified similar patterns; perceived water quality affected the perceived restorativeness of coastal park visitors. Overall, water is an excellent natural attribute that increases the restorativeness of the environment. ...
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Vegetation in the built environment is known to affect human well-being. Although previous studies have provided quantitative evidence of the benefits of indoor vegetation on human well-being, the effects of vegetation density in indoor environments remain to be explored. To bridge this gap, this study explored the effects of indoor vegetation density on well-being, particularly on perceived restorativeness, stress reduction, and selective visual attention. This study employed the perceived restorativeness scale (PRS-11) and psychophysiological restorativeness (EEG) and found a positive association between increased indoor vegetation density and restorativeness. Despite the restorative effect, there was an inflection point in the indoor environments at 13%–24% vegetation density. For perceived restorativeness and stress reduction, 13%–24% was the most efficient density within indoor environments. Thus, this study contributes a baseline guideline and reference for designers and decision makers to understand efficient vegetation density in indoor environments.
... Blue space includes all outdoor surface waters, such as rivers, seas, and lakes, which are among the most restorative natural environments [33] and can be considered useful resources for increasing physical activity and improving psychological health [34]. Although environmental psychology is researching aquatic environments (blue space) compared with green space [33][34][35][36], several studies have shown that visiting blue space is associated with good mental health (e.g., [33,37]) and lower levels of perceived stress [38]. ...
... Blue space includes all outdoor surface waters, such as rivers, seas, and lakes, which are among the most restorative natural environments [33] and can be considered useful resources for increasing physical activity and improving psychological health [34]. Although environmental psychology is researching aquatic environments (blue space) compared with green space [33][34][35][36], several studies have shown that visiting blue space is associated with good mental health (e.g., [33,37]) and lower levels of perceived stress [38]. In studies on environmental preference, both natural and artificial scenes containing water were associated with higher preferences and higher perceived restorativeness compared with ones that did not contain water elements (e.g., [33]). ...
... Moreover, beaches and coastal parks have faced a variety of changes in climatic and environmental parameters, including changes in water and air quality, air temperature, and strong gusts of wind onshore and offshore. Air and water temperature have been shown to play a key role in psychological restoration; perceived restorativeness is reportedly higher in coastal environments when ambient temperatures are below the average monthly temperatures [34]. Indeed, it is demonstrated that the increase in air temperature is negatively associated to individuals' cognitive performance, through an important decline in both speed and Sustainability 2023, 15, 2794 3 of 18 accuracy cognitive measure [41]. ...
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This study examines how objective, social, and perceived environmental conditions in a blue space are associated with the perception of psychological restorativeness. We collected data between April 2021 and February 2022 at Poetto Beach in Sardinia, Italy. The participants (N = 255) completed a survey about perceived environmental quality, stress, weather, and restorativeness during their stay at the beach. We used linear models to evaluate the association between psychological restorativeness and social, environmental, and weather parameters. We also analyzed the nature of the association between temperature and restorativeness by viewing this relation as both linear and non-linear and by evaluating the differences in restorativeness between winter, springtime, and summer. The results suggested that the participants viewed the beach as psychologically restorative, especially during the winter season. We also found that the number of people that participants came with was negatively associated with perceived restorativeness. Finally, the results from the correlation analysis revealed that people are less stressed if they go to the beach more frequently.
... Previous research has illustrated that coastal areas as a whole are beneficial for human health (Peng & Yamashita, 2016b;Wheeler et al., 2012;White et al., 2013), that there is some level of cross-country variation in Europe , that the influence of coastal areas as a whole on psychological restoration and mental health is yet unclear (Gascon et al., 2015(Gascon et al., , 2017Hooyberg et al., 2020), but that beaches alone definitely promote psychological restoration (Hipp & Ogunseitan, 2011;Hooyberg et al., 2020;Jarratt & Gammon, 2016;Peng & Yamashita, 2016a;Wyles, Pahl, Thomas, & Thompson, 2016), and that two adjacent types of coastal environments can have different impacts on restoration (i.e. urbanized beach vs coastal city; Vert et al., 2020). ...
... Additionally, spatiotemporal risk factors should be identified, including those related to climate and weather (e.g. time of the year), crowding and desertedness, and litter (Hipp & Ogunseitan, 2011;White et al., 2014;Wyles et al., 2016). Architectural designs already incorporate many preferred natural and urban components (e.g. ...
Outdoor environments benefit health by providing psychological restoration, but the degree of psychological restoration may vary considerably within heterogenous areas. This study focused on the Belgian coast to quantify the inter- and intra-environment variation in psychological restoration and the influence of natural and urban components and people. Students (N = 102, 18-30y, 83 % female) rated 52 pictures of ten coastal environments and of five beach-specific locations on a five-item perceived restorativeness scale (PRS) in random order. General linear mixed modelling standardized for individual and study design-related covariates and random effects. Generally, the average PRS-scores varied according to the scenes’ ‘naturalness’. The PRS was up to 30% higher for beaches, dunes, and salt marshes (PRS ≈ 8/10) than for dikes, docks, recreational harbors, and towns (PRS ≈ 5/10). Green parks, piers, and historical sites scored intermediate. At the beach specifically, pictures taken ‘on a breakwater’ (PRS ≈ 8.5/10) scored up to 20% higher than those taken ‘in a beach bar’ and ‘between beach cabins’ (PRS ≈ 6.5/10). The PRS was also associated with the relative surface area of the picture components. Associations were positive for natural components (i.e. vegetation, sky, and natural underground, not water), negative for urban components (i.e. buildings, vehicles and hardened underground), and unclear for people. This study confirmed the hypothesized inter- and intra-environment variation in the psychological restoration along the Belgian coast, and highlighted the importance of coastal nature for mental health. The generated insights can lead to better informed policy decisions to maximize the health benefits offered by coastal environments.
... According to ART , restorative environments, as recognized by the PRS, affect recovery from attention fatigue in terms of four dimensions: being away, fascination, compatibility, and extent . These dimensions are the psychological benefits of restorative environments (Hipp and Ogunseitan, 2011). ...
... Being away provides the opportunity to escape from an environment that causes mental fatigue (Hipp and Ogunseitan, 2011). Fascination addresses the level of interaction with or interest in the environment, which allows a person to divert their attention from stressors. ...
The literature on restoration has paid insufficient attention to the effect of architecture on psychological restoration. The present study investigated the effect of two physical features of tall buildings-height and color-on residents' perceived psychological restoration. Color imaging was used to manipulate the variables. Height and color were each simulated at three levels: tall, medium, and low for height and white, light gray, and dark gray for color, which were paired in different combinations for a total of nine images. Eighty residents of Hamedan, Iran, responded to questions related to the variables of fascination, being away, and restoration likelihood after viewing each image. According to the results, color did not explain restoration likelihood, but the effect of height on restoration likelihood was confirmed. Moreover, the effect of height and color on restoration likelihood was not mediated by being away or fascination. Analysis of the statistical mean of the dependent variable of psychological restoration indicated that, in tall and low buildings , gray colors resulted in higher restoration likelihood, with light gray being more effective than dark gray in the tall building. However, in buildings of medium height, the white color received the highest restoration-likelihood rating.
... In the 'silence' group, results showed that 'plant richness' may positively predict mental restoration. There is evidence that abundant plant species can enhance the wildlife attraction of the surrounding environment, thereby providing people with a refreshing experience, and also triggering associations with nature's vitality, improving their mental well-being [39,40]. ...
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The natural environment has been widely recognized as an important way of alleviating mental disorders. While a growing number of studies have discussed the restorative effect of the natural environment, the role of sounds in the natural environment (i.e., soundscape) on promoting mental restoration is under limited exploration. Therefore, we examined the restorative effect of visual stimuli and the combination of audio and visual factors in the natural environment. A total of 149 college students were divided into five groups, and exposed to different combinations of photos and sounds (with ‘silence’ as a control group) collected along the East Lake Greenway—the longest urban greenway in China. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to examine the correlation between characteristics of the natural environment and volunteers’ mental restoration, with place attachment as a mediator. Results showed that: (1) sound can alter the effect of visual factors on mental restoration; (2) birdsong can significantly enhance the restorative benefit of urban greenways; (3) an environment that is covered in greenery and consists of water sounds will contribute to a higher level of mental restoration; (4) human noise will have a negative impact on mental restoration; (5) place attachment is a mediator between the natural environment and mental restoration. This study highlights the effectiveness of sounds in the natural environment in promoting mental restoration, and broadens our understanding of the link between the natural environment and mental health. We propose that not only visual factors, but also audio-visual combinations, should be considered when creating restorative environments.
... Research in restorative environments has suggested that natural environments (such as forest and coastal areas) and the ambience from natural surroundings (such as the sound of birds) are more valuable to psychological restoration than the built environment alone (Hartig & Staats 2006, Hipp & Ogunseitan 2011, Ratcliffe, Gatersleben & Sowden 2013. Nevertheless, as urban areas are now the predominant habitat, researchers have shifted their perception from viewing the city as a stressful place to viewing it as the creation 'most fruitful of loci for rethinking approaches to disease and injury prevention whilst simultaneously investing in the conditions that create health' (Grant et al. 2017, p. 4). ...
A significant body of research based on the Attention Restoration Theory (ART) and Stress Recovery Theory (SRT) has shown how the natural elements of an urban public space create a restorative experience. Public art is an important component of urban design for public spaces; yet, to date, little research has examined whether public art offers mental restoration and how this may relate to the existing theories of restorative environments. This thesis uses the Docklands redevelopment in Melbourne, Australia, as a case study to explore the relationship between public art and theories of restorative environments. Using mind mapping, interviews, document search and observation research methods, the thesis examines how art influences the way people engage with the environment. The process and features of aesthetic appreciation in a natural environment are quite similar to that in art. The findings suggest that their positive mood and mental state were influenced by more than just the natural setting. Public art was found to contribute to their contemplation of natural elements of the environment and how they engage with the sites via additional aesthetic elements. The communicative layer of the public art plays an important role in promoting experiences akin to the ART and SRT. However, art may also have a negative impact under some circumstances. It is, therefore, timely to reconsider the role of public art in urban design and its potential in contributing to a restorative experience.
... It states that human beings are genetically predisposed to respond positively to natural environments, as this is the environment in which humanity evolved. Accordingly, past research provides evidence for nature's beneficial effects on cognitive and affective functioning, e.g., [5][6][7][8], as well as on quality of life, subjective health, and heart rate [9]. However, depending on the spatial design, urban sites such as pedestrian areas or built environments in historic styles also have restorative potential [8,10] and can be associated with lower physiological parameters of cortisol concentration [7] or increased heart rate variability [11]. ...
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The present study aims to investigate whether a sense of relatedness to a city helps to broaden understanding of the restorative potential of urban public spaces. Findings based on a sample of German adults (n = 249) confirm that people experience relatedness to a city. The study’s 3 × 3 (built, mixed, natural environment) × (average, livability environment, bird’s-eye view) design revealed disordinal interactions for being away, fascination, preference, mental fatigue, and stimulating and activating effects associated with cities. This implies that humans’ place perceptions are more complex than previously assumed. Both city and nature relatedness were relevant covariates of these findings. Surprisingly, the construct ‘activating effects’, was found to be mostly perceived as more positive for mixed and built environments compared to natural environments. Thus, complementing restorative environments research by introducing a measure for city relatedness significantly enhances understanding of the potential of urban public spaces for promoting human health and well-being.
... Previous restorative environment research has found that weather (Zacharias 2001;Thorsson et al. 2007;Hipp and Ogunseitan 2011), setting size (Nordh et al. 2009), visit duration (Hansmann et al. 2007; Barton and Pretty 2010), being alone or with company (Staats and Hartig 2004;Korpela and Staats 2014) and life stage (Kaplan 1995;Scopelliti and Giuliani 2004) can influence individuals' restorative perceptions. The former three are controlled in our experiment design and the last one explored in the analysis. ...
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Contemporary high-density urban environments frequently have limited green resources, such as parks and woodlands, that are conventionally associated with psychological restoration. The restorative potential of everyday spaces such as urban streets, therefore, takes on heightened significance. Our study proposes that the delivery of streets for psychological restoration differs from that of wider urban open spaces. This is because streets serve functions not primarily associated with optional leisure activities. During the study, we used an online questionnaire (n = 153) based on Restorative Component Scales (RCS) to assess peoples’ restorative expectations on four different types of Shanghai street. We also adopted a scenario approach which asked participants to imagine and evaluate the ideal condition of each street type for providing them with restorative experiences. Our results show that users expected the highest restorative quality in the street scenario ‘landscape and leisure’, with the lowest expectations expressed for ‘traffic-oriented’ streets. People’s expectations on ‘commercial’ and ‘living and service’ street scenarios were similar. These findings reveal clear design implications for the delivery of socially restorative streets, with special consideration on street typology and user expectations.
... It is also important to note that our study dealt with only one aspect of the social environment of a person: Human density at tourist places. Multiple other characteristics of the natural and social environment such as the temperature, air quality, and being alone or with a friend affect personal experiences [101,102], possibly including perceptions of crowdedness. Another important question is the longevity or permanency of the COVID-19 effects on crowdedness perceptions. ...
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The study set out to determine whether tourists’ response to human density at destinations changed after the COVID-19 outbreak and, thus, gain insight into whether tourist flows will be sustained in the post-COVID-19 environment. An experimental design with the photo-elicitation technique embedded into an online survey was employed. The two-phase data collection allowed an examination of respondents’ reactions to the same experimental stimuli (images depicting different levels of density) before and after the outbreak. The effect of COVID-19 on the relationship between density and the outcome variables of perceptions of crowdedness, the feeling of being comfortable, and the anticipated experience was small and registered at the medium density level only. The effects of personality profiles on those relationships depend on the tourist density level. The personality profile also moderates the effect of COVID-19 on study variables, mostly at the medium-density level. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
In the face of global environmental changes threatening health, and despite increased calls for nurses to broker access to nature-based well-being interventions for people with mental health difficulties, there is a surprising absence of literature examining the nature-nursing relationship, inhibiting its inclusion within nursing curricula and practice. This critical interpretive synthesis supports the notion that nature immersion has the capacity to increase positive affect, reduce negative affect, provide restoration from everyday stress, promote meaning-making, enhance belonging, and foster an interest in caring for the natural world. Yet, critical examination of the literature reveals multiple social and environmental inequalities and unmasks latent anthropocentric, gendered, and colonialist thinking, which threatens the delivery of equitable and just sustainable practice. Recommendations are made for a transdisciplinary, systemic approach, which recognizes and responds to our shared humanity and vulnerability in pursuit of planetary health.
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This article examines four domains of variables to assess their relative merit in explaining environmental preference. Within each of the domains, between three and seven specific attributes were measured, for a total of 20 predictor variables. The study site includes small forested areas, agricultural land, and fields, with little topographic variation. Preference ratings of 59 scenes representing the area serve as the dependent variable. Taken together, the 20 attributes accounted for 83 percent of the preference variance. Taken separately, the Physical Attributes lacked predictive power. Of the Informational variables, Mystery was the only significant contributor. The Land Cover types proved effective, with Weedy Fields, Scrubland, and Agriculture all significant negative predictors. Finally, the Perception-based variables were most powerful, with Openness and Smoothness particularly useful predictors. The results point to the importance of using different predictor domains, rather than relying exclusively on any one, since their role in different environmental contexts is likely to vary.
A comprehensive statistical analysis of how an index of the Southern Oscillation changed from 1882 to 1995 was given by Trenberth and Hoar [1996], with a focus on the unusual nature of the 1990–1995 El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) warm event in the context of an observed trend for more El Niño and fewer La Niña events after the late 1970s. The conclusions of that study have been challenged by two studies which deal with only the part of our results pertaining to the length of runs of anomalies of one sign in the Southern Oscillation Index. They therefore neglect the essence of Trenberth and Hoar, which focussed on the magnitude of anomalies for certain periods and showed that anomalies during both the post-1976 and 1990-mid-1995 periods were highly unlikely given the previous record. With updated data through mid 1997, we have performed additional tests using a regression model with autoregressive-moving average (ARMA) errors that simultaneously estimates the appropriate ARMA model to fit the data and assesses the statistical significance of how unusual the two periods of interest are. The mean SOI for the post-1976 period is statistically different from the overall mean at <0.05% and so is the 1990-mid-1995 period. The recent evolution of ENSO, with a major new El Niño event underway in 1997, reinforces the evidence that the tendency for more El Niño and fewer La Niña events since the late 1970s is highly unusual and very unlikely to be accounted for solely by natural variability.
This observational study of plaza-user behavior in San Francisco is intended first to determine whether behavior is invariant across different microclimatic regimes. Statistical behaviors in the present study are indistinguishable from those observed in a previous study, holding constant the microclimatic conditions in the two cases. Certain social behaviors are examined in relation to response to microclimatic conditions. The presence of smokers had no effect on the distribution of users and activities. However, when preferred environmental conditions were in limited supply, users accepted slightly higher levels of crowding in the preferred condition. When a threshold density of persons was reached, users opted for less ideal conditions, moving into the preferred condition when space became available. The provision of seating had no impact on use level, whereas a redesign to provide sheltered seating had a modest positive impact. In this study, environmental design had minor effects in relation to microclimate.
Construction of a multidisciplinary conceptual framework of environmental quality and quality of life is required to advance the field of urban development, environmental quality and human well-being. Such a framework would allow for a more theory-based choice of indicators and for the development of tools to evaluate multidimensional aspects of urban environmental quality. These tools are required to assess the current and future quality of the urban environment and to have, eventually, the ability to assess the implications of spatial and urban planning policies with respect to these dimensions. Against this background, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands (RIVM) performed a major literature review [Leidelmeijer, van Kamp, 2002, in press] to identify various concepts in the literature concerning environmental quality, the relationships between these various concepts, as well as their respective theoretical bases. This paper summarises the outcomes of this survey. It reviews the main (types of) concepts of livability, environmental quality, quality of life and sustainability, and presents examples of underlying conceptual models. Different notions and concepts are compared along the dimensions of domain, indicator, scale, time-frame and context as described by [Urban Environmental Quality—a social geographical perspective, this issue]. It is concluded that a multidisciplinary conceptual framework of environmental quality and quality of life that will go beyond the disciplinary differences found in the current literature is needed if the field is to advance.