Article

Relationship between psychological responses and physical environment in forest settings

Authors:
  • Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute, Tsukuba, Japan
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Abstract

The present study aimed to clarify the relationship between psychological responses to forest and urban environmental settings and the physical variables that characterize these environments, by examining the psychological responses of 168 subjects to their physical environment. Field experiments were conducted in 14 forests and 14 urban areas across Japan. The semantic differential (SD) method was employed in which a questionnaire was administered to subjects prior to their walks in the forests and urban areas. In addition, the profile of mood states (POMS) questionnaire was administered before and after the walks, as well as before and after they sat and viewed the forest and urban landscapes. The environmental variables measured were air temperature, relative humidity, radiant heat, wind velocity, and two indices of thermal comfort [predicted mean vote (PMV) and predicted percentage dissatisfied (PPD)]. Responses to the SD questionnaire indicated that compared to urban settings, forest settings are perceived as being significantly more enjoyable, friendly, natural, and sacred. The POMS measures of tension and anxiety (T-A), depression and dejection (D), anger and hostility (A-H), vigor (V), confusion (C), fatigue (F), and total mood disturbance (TMD) showed significant differences between the forests and urban areas. These results strongly support the suggestion that forest settings have attention restoration effects. The psychological responses to physical environments were also significantly related to air temperature, relative humidity, radiant heat, wind velocity, PMV, and PPD. The results of this study might be useful in designing restoration environments in urban areas.

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... For example, being in a landscape or viewing photographs of a landscape is known to influence a detailed emotional index of moods. Park et al. (2011) and Koizumi et al. (2018) demonstrated that a well-designed city environment can mitigate emotional pressure and restore the physical and mental health of a respondent, as measured by POMS. This effect is almost equal to that of a charming natural environment. ...
... This effect is almost equal to that of a charming natural environment. Park et al. (2011) conducted experiments in 14 forests and districts in Japan to observe how city and forest landscapes influence human physical and mental health. POMS was used as the measurement tool for mood status. ...
... The researchers discovered that after viewing or walking through the forest, negative mood scores, such as those for tension, depression, anxiety, fatigue, and anger, decreased sharply, while positive mood scores rose dramatically. The total scores of emotional status indicated a positive effect (Park et al., 2011). These studies have proved the close relationship between moods and natural environment. ...
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The interaction between man and nature causes people to have different preferences for their surrounding environment, and pleasant landscapes can bring both physical and mental benefits to people. Previous studies have demonstrated the relationship between moods and landscape preferences, and this study sought to explore the landscape preferences of college students under different moods. A total of 1,034 students participated in the survey, recovering 1,022 valid questionnaires. The Profile of Mood States (POMS) scale was used to evaluate the mental status of each respondent. The study on landscape characteristics proceeded in two steps (comprising four gradients): landscape naturalness and landscape visual openness. The research results show that under natural landscape conditions, college students in a fatigued state have a greater preference for the second-gradient (higher naturalness) landscape environment; under the conditions of landscape visual openness, college students in an indignant state have a greater preference for the second-gradient (relatively private) landscapes. These findings have significance for exploring the rehabilitation function of landscape architecture and have a guiding role for future landscape design.
... In addition, many studies have shown the beneficial effects on mental health of being in the forest. Those studies indicated that being in the forest can reduce negative emotion [22,23], depression [24], anxiety [25], and stress [26], and increase positive emotion [22][23][24] and self-esteem [27]. ...
... In addition, many studies have shown the beneficial effects on mental health of being in the forest. Those studies indicated that being in the forest can reduce negative emotion [22,23], depression [24], anxiety [25], and stress [26], and increase positive emotion [22][23][24] and self-esteem [27]. ...
... For individual visits to forests without a guide, numerous studies have demonstrated the effects of walking or viewing the forest alone in relieving stress levels and inducing psychological relaxation [14,22,29,30]. For example, Park et al. [22] showed that walking and viewing forests improved emotional state, leading to psychological relaxation. ...
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There are generally two types of forest therapy. One is to walk or view the forest alone without a guide, and the other is to be accompanied by a guide. This study aimed to investigate the healing factors and health benefits of self-guided forest therapy and guided forest therapy programs and examine the differences in characteristics between interventions. Thirty-seven undergraduate students participated in a randomized experiment (19 in the self-guided forest therapy and 18 in the guided forest therapy program). Data were collected from 111 self-reported essays after each intervention (three essays per person). Results revealed that the forest healing factors contained four categories in common: auditory element, visual element, tactile element, and olfaction element. Forest therapy’s health benefits included five categories in common: change of mind and body, introspection, change of emotion, cognitive change, and social interaction. Among the typical differences, the self-guided forest therapy group mentioned more keywords related to introspection than the guided forest therapy program group. On the other hand, the guided forest therapy program group mentioned more keywords associated with the change of emotion and social interaction than the self-guided forest therapy. Our findings show that self-guided forest therapy provides an opportunity for self-reflection to focus on and think about one’s inner self. On the other hand, guided forest therapy programs provide positive emotional changes and promoting social bonds through interaction with others. Therefore, because the effects that can be obtained vary depending on the type of forest therapy, participants can utilize forest healing to suit the desired outcomes.
... Lack of large-scale assessment of emotions generates a knowledge gap about the effect of forest experiences on mental health. Using the questionnaire methodology, a total of 14 pairs of forest-vs-urban settings across cities in Japan were included in a study, generating the study with the largest geographical scale on psychological states [32]. This study corroborated findings that an experience in a forest setting can elicit a more positive mental response than that in an urban setting, and found relationships with micro-environmental factors. ...
... High temperatures have been considered to be one driver that makes people feel uncomfortable in forest settings [32]. High humidity was found to be the force that made people show more happy faces [30]. ...
... We hypothesized that: (i) positive expression scores will be higher for people in forests than for those in urban settings. Regarding previous findings [30,32], we also hypothesized that (ii) temperature and humidity differentiates the facial expressions of people in different locations. ...
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Abstract: There is increasing interest in experiences of urban forests because relevant studies have revealed that forest settings can promote mental well-being. The mental response to a forest experience can be evaluated by facial expressions, but relevant knowledge is limited at large geographical scales. In this study, a dataset of 2824 photos, detailing the evaluated age (toddler, youth, middle-age, and senior citizen) and gender of urban forest visitors, was collected from Sina Weibo (a social media application similar to Twitter in China) between 1-7 October 2018, in 12 randomly chosen cities in China. Happy and sad expressions were rated as scores by FireFACE software V1.0, and the positive response index (PRI) was calculated by subtracting sad scores from happy scores. Regional environmental factors were collected to detect driving forces using regression analyses. Happy scores were higher in forests than in urban settings, while sad scores for toddlers were lower in forests than in promenades and squares. Females showed more positive emotional expressions than males. Increases in happy scores were driven by the increase of daily minimum temperature; while PRI declined with increases in latitude. Overall, an urban forest experience can evoke positive emotions, which is likely due to comfortable feelings in warm temperatures.
... Forest therapy research applies an evidence-based approach and field experiments to evaluate the health outcomes of participants. Empirical studies have demonstrated the beneficial health effects on mental health of being in forests [2,6,[16][17][18][19][20][21]. Those studies indicated that in forest environments the intensity of participants' negative emotions decreased while their positive emotions increased, as compared to the emotions of people in urban settings. ...
... Those studies indicated that in forest environments the intensity of participants' negative emotions decreased while their positive emotions increased, as compared to the emotions of people in urban settings. For instance, Park et al. [20] implemented a large-scale field study in Japan, recruiting 168 participants from 14 forests and 14 urban areas and administering the Profile of Mood States (POMS) questionnaire to evaluate the psychological effects of forest therapy. They learned participants' levels of vigor were significantly higher and their negative emotions were lower in the forest, as compared to people in the urban settings. ...
... We employed the short form of the POMS (POMS-SF) scale [50] with satisfactory validity and reliability, which has been widely used in forest therapy studies in order to examine the psychological restorative effects resulting from mood state changes [19][20][21]. This scale is composed of six constructs with 37 adjectives and used to measure emotional state in the dimensions of tension-anxiety (6 items), anger-hostility (7 items), fatigueinertia (5 items), depression-dejection (8 items), confusion-bewilderment (5 items), and vigor-activity (6 items). ...
Article
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Existing studies have demonstrated the restorative benefits of being in forests. However, most studies have designed participants to engage individually in forest walking and viewing, which neglects the social aspect of conversation. Researchers suggested that social context should be studied in order to have a better understanding how forests foster human health. To this end, we examined the role of social context using three types of forest therapy programs: a guided program, a self-guided program, and a walk alone program. A between-subject, pretest–posttest field experimental design was employed to evaluate restorative effects by measuring the physiological responses and mood states incurred in different forest therapy programs. Our findings showed, that the walk alone group exhibited a significant systolic blood pressure decrease and a significant increase in sympathetic nervous activity; the self-guided group showed a significant increase in heart rate values and significant decreases in systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure; and the guided group revealed a significant decrease in systolic blood pressure. Further, the three forest therapy programs had positive effects on improving mood states, except a nonsignificant vigor–activity increase in the walk alone group. The three programs did not exhibit significant differences in changes of restorative benefits in physiological and psychological measures except for a significant difference in changes in sympathetic nervous activity between the walk alone group and guided group. The results showed the restorative benefits of forest therapy are apparent regardless of the program type. The management team should continue promoting forest therapy for public health by providing different types of forest therapy programs and experiences.
... Few studies have examined all three levels concurrently [26]. Only six studies [11,[27][28][29][30][31] have been published on this subject, which compared only the effects of two levels of green exercise, but not all three. In brief, the second level of green exercise (being in the presence of nearby nature) was found to have more positive influences than did the first level of green exercise (viewing nature) in terms of energy [11,27] and relaxation [31]. ...
... In general, weather changes people's preference for natural environments [42,43]. Research on specific atmospheric conditions has shown that temperature, relative humidity, radiant temperature, wind speed, and thermal comfort affect people's moods outdoors [28]. With the increasing awareness of the greenhouse effect, the thermal comfort of the outdoor environment has received increasing attention [44,45]. ...
... The results did not support H1, which stated that higher levels of green exercise would have greater benefits to participants' emotions and attention than would lower levels. Six studies have compared the effects of two levels of green exercise, with most finding varying effects between different environments [11,27,28,30,31]. However, no differences were found in terms of the effects within similar environments [11]. ...
Article
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The current study examined the effects of the three levels of green exercise on people’s psychological health using a randomized trial with a pretest and posttest design and further explored which variables of the physical environment (thermal comfort, noise, and air pollution), social environment (the number of companions and crowdedness), personality traits, physical activity (intensity and frequency), and engagement with nature may help explain experiences during the three levels of green exercise using a cross-sectional approach. Field studies were conducted to test the study’s hypotheses. The participants were 95 students from a technology university in Taiwan. The experiment comprised a 15-min green exercise in a park. No significant differences were found in emotions and attention between the three levels of green exercise. However, a 15-min green exercise of any level significantly improved emotions and attention. Furthermore, fatigue was significantly and negatively associated with daily transportation-related physical activity, agreeableness, and engagement with nature. Moreover, the total mood disturbance was significantly and negatively associated with engagement with nature and daily transportation-related physical activity. The degree of engagement with nature played a pivotal role in green exercise. This study provided the evidence that quantified engagement with nature is beneficial for quantified psychological health for the first time.
... This outdoor activity in a forest environment is often conceptualized as 'forest bathing' (if the aim of the activity is restoration) [5,6] or 'forest therapy' (if the aim of the activity is usage of the forest for healing) [7]. These activities unquestionably induce psychological relaxation [8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15] and have a positive influence on mental health [7,[16][17][18][19][20]. Induced psychological relaxation might be measured using psychometric techniques. The most popular measured indices are the following: mood states, positive and negative affect, restorativeness and vitality [1,14,[21][22][23][24]. ...
... Forest bathing is an experience that unquestionably positively influences the psychological relaxation of people [1,[4][5][6]8,10,11,13,13,14,21,23,[40][41][42][43][44]44,45]. Consistent with previous studies [28,29], this study confirmed that some factors might interrupt this experience that is frequently called a restorative experience. ...
... Forest bathing is an experience that unquestionably positively influences the psychological relaxation of people [1,[4][5][6]8,10,11,13,13,14,21,23,[40][41][42][43][44]44,45]. Consistent with previous studies [28,29], this study confirmed that some factors might interrupt this experience that is frequently called a restorative experience. ...
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Forest recreation can be successfully used for the psychological relaxation of respondents and can be used as a remedy for common problems with stress. The special form of forest recreation intended for restoration is forest bathing. These activities might be distracted by some factors, such as viewing buildings in the forest or using a computer in nature, which interrupt psychological relaxation. One factor that might interrupt psychological relaxation is the occurrence of an open dump in the forest during an outdoor experience. To test the hypothesis that an open dump might decrease psychological relaxation, a case study was planned that used a randomized, controlled crossover design. For this purpose, two groups of healthy young adults viewed a control forest or a forest with an open dump in reverse order and filled in psychological questionnaires after each stimulus. A pretest was used. Participants wore oblique eye patches to stop their visual stimulation before the experimental stimulation, and the physical environment was monitored. The results were analyzed using the two-way repeated measures ANOVA. The measured negative psychological indicators significantly increased after viewing the forest with waste, and the five indicators of the Profile of Mood States increased: Tension-Anxiety, Depression-Dejection, Anger-Hostility, Fatigue, and Confusion. In addition, the negative aspect of the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule increased in comparison to the control and pretest. The measured positive indicators significantly decreased after viewing the forest with waste, the positive aspect of the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule decreased, and the Restorative Outcome Scale and Subjective Vitality scores decreased (in comparison to the control and pretest). The occurrence of an open dump in the forest might interrupt a normal restorative experience in the forest by reducing psychological relaxation. Nevertheless, the mechanism of these relevancies is not known, and thus, it will be further investigated. In addition, in a future study, the size of the impact of these open dumps on normal everyday experiences should be investigated. It is proposed that different mechanisms might be responsible for these reactions; however, the aim of this manuscript is to only measure this reaction. The identified psychological reasons for these mechanisms can be assessed in further studies.
... Thermal comfort is one of the most direct reflects that can be perceived as soon as experiencing forest settings [23]. Heat exposure accounts for significant feeling of mental stress [24] and negatively physiological response [25]. The increase of minimum daily temperature along a latitudinal gradient in temperate city parks was found to be the main force that drove the appearance of smiles on faces of urban forest visitors [20]. ...
... We chose to document records about rainfall, wind velocity, average temperature, and relative humidity (RH) as our independent variables that can explain the driving forces of facial expressions. Temperature was chosen because it has a strong impact on perception of thermal comfort [23][24][25]. RH was chosen because it was reported to impose positive effects on positive emotions of urban park visitors in Northeast China [19,26]. Rainfall and wind velocity were chosen because they had relationships with temperature and RH in North China [42,43]. ...
... We did not observe any associations of meteorological records with happy or sad scores in Pearson correlation analyses. Our spatial distribution of microclimates did not reflect the pattern of real-time physical environments like those recorded in previous studies [19,24]. Instead, our mapped distribution of environmental factors was derived from means among days when photos were posted to Sina Weibo. ...
Article
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Promotion of mental well-being is a desired goal of service in sustainable urban forest management. Microclimate is impacted by forest settings which makes ecosystem services perceived by users. Changes of regional meteorological factors drive responses of emotional perceptions as spatial distribution pattern in accordance with regional urban forest landscapes. In this study, we collected a total of 1422 pairs of happy and sad scores for visitors in 30 urban parks around Shanxi province in North China, where local meteorological were obtained specially for each location as daily matched records. Happy expression scores increased along a latitudinal gradient from south to north. Microclimate did not have any relationship with emotional expressions, but factors of rainfall, wind velocity, average temperature, and relative humidity all had potential contributions to shape distributions of happy and sad scores. The relationship between meteorological records of wind velocity and average temperature and their potential contributions to happy scores can be described by quadratic polynomial functions. Overall, we recommend an environment of urban parks that can optimize emotional well-being with environments of wind velocity of 5.36 m s−1 and average temperature of 6.05 °C in cities around Shanxi in North China. Therefore, microclimates can shape the regional distributions of urban forest ecosystem services of promoting mental well-being, in a way as implicit drivers instead of explicit forces.
... A larger ambiguity is formed due to the lack of green space measurements with insufficient data about subjective accessibility, vertical distance neglection, and equity among communities [23,26]. Technically, the structure of a green space can modify one's perception through adjusting meteorological perceptions [27][28][29][30]. A group of green spaces will also determine mental perceptions by varied levels in accessibility [31], equity [32], largeness [33], and biodiversity [34]. ...
... No photo was taken from anywhere that required private access. It has also been revealed that posed emotions in public can be affected by perceived stimuli, such as weather [28,29,47] and landscape metrics [62,63]. Users were conscious that they were photographed and that such photos were uploaded online and included the setting around them. ...
Article
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Green and blue spaces are nature-based solutions (NBSs) that evoke positive emotions of experiencers therein. There is an impetus to optimize wetland forest landscapes by planning the geographical arrangement of metrics that promote positive emotion. The facial expressions of nature experiencers in photos, downloaded from social media databases with landscape metrics, were evaluated for emotions and given scores. Happy and sad scores were rated by FireFACE v1.0 software and positive response index (PRI) was calculated as happy score minus sad score. Spatial areas and tree height were evaluated from Landsat 8 images and digital model maps, respectively. Visitors at middle and senior ages smiled more frequently in southern parts than in northern parts, and females had higher happy scores and PRI than males. Both green- and blue-space areas had positive relationships with PRI scores, while blue spaces and their area to park area ratios had positive contributions to happy scores and PRI scores in multivariate linear regression models. Elevation had a negative relationship with positive facial emotion. Overall, based on spatial distributions of blue-space area and elevation, regional landscape was optimized so people perceived more happiness in wetlands around Zhejiang and Shanghai, while people in wetlands of Jiangxi and Hubei showed more net emotional expressions.
... Urban greenspaces can include urban street trees, parks, shrubs and grassy areas, as well as forests. Urban greenspaces also provide a variety of ecosystem services with human health benefits (Pretty et al. 2005;Sanesi et al. 2006;Park et al. 2011;Barton et al. 2012;Villeneuve et al. 2012;Paciência et al. 2020). An ecosystem service is any benefit provided by an ecosystem that holds anthropogenic societal value (Daily 1997). ...
... The health benefits of greenspaces for urban residents include support for both mental and physical health for adults as well as children. For example, exposure to greenspaces has been linked to improved psychological well-being through stress reduction (Grahn and Stigsdotter 2003;Sanesi et al. 2006), relaxation (Park et al. 2011), and alleviation of anxiety and depression symptoms (Ellaway et al. 2009; Barton et al. 2012;Berman et al. 2012;Kearns et al. 2012). Additionally, exposure to forested areas is associated with physiological benefits, such as lower blood pressure and heart rate (Pretty et al. 2005;Villeneuve et al. 2012). ...
Article
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Inequality in the spatial distribution of urban greenspaces occurs globally, with greater greenspaces in neighbourhoods with higher socioeconomic status. This is problematic, as greenspaces provide numerous ecosystem services, including benefits to human health. However, greenspaces can also trigger allergenic responses, inducing negative economic, medical, and social costs. Using geospatial information, we investigated 91 elementary schools in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada to answer: (1) Does the amount and type of greenspaces and greyspaces surrounding schools vary with median household income? and (2) Does the surface area of allergenic greenspace surrounding schools vary with median household income? We characterized landcover within a 300 m radius of public elementary schools using a high spatial resolution urban landcover map of Vancouver derived from a combination of RapidEye imagery from 2014 and airborne laser scanning. Beta regression and analysis of variance models were used to explore associations between household incomes and greenspaces, as well as allergenic vegetation near schools. Schools in areas with higher median annual household incomes (>$80,000 CAD) were surrounded by an average of 14% more greenspaces and 16% less greyspaces than schools located in areas with lower household incomes (<$50,000 CAD). Schools in higher income areas were also surrounded by an average of 81% more cover of allergenic vegetation than schools in lower income areas. Greenspaces are a valuable source of ecosystem services for urban residents and should be distributed equally to optimize their benefits; however, they must be planned carefully to avoid the introduction of disservices from allergenic vegetation.
... In addition to possible differences in physiological response between the genders, different physical environments may also induce varying psychological responses. Park et al. (2011) studied the relationship between various physical environments in forests and psychological responses; they found that they were significantly related [57]. ...
... In addition to possible differences in physiological response between the genders, different physical environments may also induce varying psychological responses. Park et al. (2011) studied the relationship between various physical environments in forests and psychological responses; they found that they were significantly related [57]. ...
Article
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Nature therapy and forest bathing (FB) have been shown to have quantifiable positive effects on human health, but the physiological effects of a guided interactive nature activity remain unexplored. Autonomic nervous system responses to a guided nature walk (Nature Break) were assessed through the continuous measurement of the electrodermal activity (EDA), fingertip temperature, and heart rate (HR) of n = 48 participants, using a wearable sensor. Psychological distress was assessed before and after the activity using the Profile of Mood States (POMS) for n = 38 (24 females, 14 males, mean age = 43.55 ± 11.61 years) participants. The negative dimensions of POMS decreased and the positive (vigor) dimensions increased following a Nature Break. Significant differences were found across all of the physiological features, with some differences occurring between the morning and afternoon groups and between different days. The participants’ mean HR decreased throughout the Nature Break. Our results suggest that interactive nature activities have positive psychological benefits and demonstrate the feasibility of using wearable sensors to monitor physiological responses in a naturalistic forest bathing activity.
... Forest activities are known to play a positive role as a space for psychological and physical recovery. It has been reported that forest activities relieve negative emotions, such as depression and anger [40][41][42] and provide stress recovery [43][44][45]. These positive psychological effects create positive physiological effects, such as parasympathetic nerve activation [42,[46][47][48][49] and stress hormone reduction [49,50]. ...
... According to a study by Shin et al. [66], the forest is a place where one can experience pleasure and self-realization by performing activities that create a sense of accomplishment, exploration, and adventure (in line with the pleasure of flow). This suggests that forests produce a restoration effect, reducing negative emotions and shifting emotional states [40][41][42]. Furthermore, active forest intervention may have a positive effect on the psychological well-being of probationary adolescents. ...
Article
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The study aimed to investigate the psychological and physiological effects of forest therapy programs on adolescents under probation. Fifty probationary teenagers from the Ministry of Gyeonggi Justice Compliance Support Center participated in the study. The study explored the effectiveness of a nonrandomized control group pretest–posttest design forest therapy program. The forest therapy program was conducted for two days and one night for the experimental groups (N = 33), who participated in the forest therapy program, and the control group (N = 17), who received two days of attendance center orders program in the lecture room of the Ministry of Gyeonggi Justice Compliance Support Center. As a result, adolescents under probation who participated in forest therapy programs had a beneficial effect on psychological well-being (K-WBMMS) and HRV’s HF (high frequency) and LF/HF (A ratio of Low Frequency to High Frequency) compared to those who received the general attendance center orders program. These results support that forest therapy programs play a positive role in the psychological and physiological effects of probationary adolescents and can affect the diversity of rehabilitation programs for probationary adolescents.
... Recently, studies have started to examine the relationship between therapeutic outcomes and various forest variables. Investigations were conducted on a wide range of forest variables such as spatial structure [59][60][61], openness-enclosure [59,62,63], vegetation density [59,64,65], tree cover density [66], stand structure [67], species composition [44], management [68,69], and physical environment [45,[70][71][72]. Those investigations aimed to assess and estimate the benefits of the forest by its characteristics, determine adequate levels of forest variables, and provide guidance to create and manage forest sites for therapeutic use [73]. ...
... However, within the scope of this study, we cannot elucidate the underlying mechanisms. Several previous studies exploring differences in preference or beauty according to the characteristics of forest settings explained the differences using semantic difference measures [21,45,50,57,70] or physical-psychological predictors [74−77]. Especially, psychological mediators such as a sense of safety, visual access, and ease of movement were used to explain the difference in preference among forest settings with respect to structural variables [74−76]. ...
Article
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In recent decades, forests have expanded from natural resources for conservation and production to health-promoting resources. With the growing body of evidence supporting the therapeutic effects of forests, the number of investigations on the relationship between forest characteristics and therapeutic effects have increased. However, quantitative synthesis of primary studies has rarely been conducted due to a limited number of health studies including forest description and high heterogeneity of forest variables. In this study, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to evaluate the relationship between the forest structure and the therapeutic effect. We systematically searched the studies examining the therapeutic effects of forests with different stand density and canopy density and synthesized the results. As a result of subgroup analysis, we found that stand density modifies the therapeutic effects. Emotional and cognitive restoration showed greatest improvement in low-density forests with a stand density of less than 500/ha and the therapeutic effects diminish as the stand density increases. The impact of canopy density was not found due to a lack of studies reporting canopy density. Although some limitations remain, the findings in this study have great significance in providing the basis for establishing management strategies of forests for therapeutic use.
... Noisy conditions on university campuses have direct negative effects on students' learning and also on the teaching environment of many teachers [11,12]. Whereas sounds from waterscape, green belt, and birdsongs on campus are perceived as being very pleasant and could be the desired soundscapes to mitigate noise impact [13,14]. In recent years, the noise sources on university campuses have become complex and diverse, and the resulting noise pollution has become increasingly problematic [15]. ...
... Sustainability 2022, 14, 8613 ...
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Considering the characteristics of a campus environment and the rules that govern outdoor sound propagation, this paper identifies traffic noise as the dominant noise source of the campus environment based on the measurement of the noise environment. A noise propagation model that is suitable for university campuses was developed and used it was to create a noise map of the ambient area of the teaching building on the campus of Guangxi University. This noise map was then utilized to analyze the noise environment. The results revealed that for a given teaching building, the noise disturbance on high-rise classrooms is more significant compared to the impact on low-rise classrooms. Attention should then be paid to noise control in the high-rise classroom of the building. By appropriately increasing the distance between the building and the main traffic road or by adopting a judicious soundscape design that considers the shape of the building, it is possible to effectively reduce the interference of noise during teaching activities in a building and improve the sound quality of the campus environment. The results of this study provide a theoretical framework for the governance of the campus acoustic environment.
... In the study by Hartig et al. (2003), walking in oak-sycamore woodland nature settings increased positive affect and reduced anger whereas urban walks in a city retail and office space had the opposite effect. The second one is the study by Park et al. (2011) showing that tension, anxiety, fatigue, and confusion were decreased by a nature walk, but not by an urban walk of equivalent duration. Unfortunately, an important limitation of these two studies is that exercise intensity was not measured. ...
... The finding that Positive Affect increased in the green but not in the urban walking group supports our research hypothesis and is in line with the findings from Hartig et al. (2003) or Park et al. (2011). However, several differences limit the comparability of results: (a) Hartig et al. (2003) asked half of their participants to perform various cognitive tasks before walking (attentional and memory tests); (b) exercise intensity was neither measured nor controlled in these two previous studies; (c) positive affect was measured using a relatively crude and nonspecific instrument in Hartig et al.'s (2003) study (the Zuckerman's Inventory of Personal Reactions; ZIPERS, Zuckerman, 1977); and (d) there was no sedentary control group in Hartig et al.'s (2003) study. ...
Article
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It has been consistently demonstrated that physical exercise is a cost-effective way to promote emotional well-being. However, the environment in which it takes place might amplify or mitigate this beneficial effect. The present study aimed at comparing the effects of walking in a natural or urban field setting on positive and negative affect. For this purpose, 150 students (46 female, 104 male; mean age: 20.2 years) were randomized into one of three groups: Green Walking (GW, n = 50), Urban Walking (UW, n = 50), or no-exercise (control; CTRL, n = 50). Positive and negative affect ratings were collected for each participant before and after walking (or before and after attending a class in the CTRL group). Exercise parameters (duration, intensity, weather conditions, group size) were identical in the GW and UW groups. The walking routes differed in terms of vegetation density, proximity of water, presence of traffic, and amount of asphalted surfaces. Participants in the GW and UW groups reported significant reductions in negative affect pre-to post walking. However, positive affect was increased only for participants in the GW group. This finding may have meaningful implications for mental health professionals who treat patients with significant emotional distress or mood instability. Several explanations are discussed as potential mechanisms for the more beneficial effect of Green walking, and presented as an important avenue for future research.
... Both of them emphasized the importance of the quality of UGS facilities (e.g., paved and unpaved trails, tables, benches, cafés, playgrounds). In relation to microclimate features, thermal comfort has been observed to be significantly correlated with psychological restoration outcomes using physiological equivalent temperature (PET) and predicted mean vote (PMV) [40,41] in roadside and forest scenes. However, with the degeneration of thermal sensation in older adults [42], the mental restoration of objective environmental features can vary with age, resulting in the restoration benefits having different effects. ...
Article
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Exposure to small public urban green spaces (SPUGS) has been demonstrated to have mental benefits for older adults. However, studies on identifying the objective environmental features of SPUGS and their effects on mental restoration for older adults remain limited. This study employed a multilevel regression model to investigate the restorative and vitalizing effects of the environmental features of 11 SPUGS in Tokyo. Onsite measurements were conducted in Kita-Ku, and 202 older adults were surveyed. The results showed that: (1) The fitting curve of the green view index and Restoration Outcome Scale (ROS) score showed an inverted U shape—both green view index and boundary enclosure had a strong impact on the mental restoration of older adults; (2) The colorfulness index showed the strongest relationship with the vitalizing effect. (3) The sky view factor and number of seats only influenced the ROS score, while the results of evitalization suggest that large areas of water should be avoided. (4) Physiological Equivalent Temperature (PET) was also confirmed to have negative effects on the mental restoration of older adults in autumn. These empirical findings can be used as a resource to promote the mental health of older adults in the design of SPUGS in high-density Asian countries.
... A variety of greenspaces have been shown to provide psychological benefits, including both naturalistic typologies as well as more urban ones (Grafius et al. 2018;Park et al. 2011). Additional psychological benefits of GS interaction include recovery from stress, reduction in depression (Astell-Burt and Feng 2019), reduction in both stress levels and ADHD in children (McCormick 2017), increased peacefulness and tranquility (Marafa et al. 2018), fewer reported stress-related illnesses (Reklaitiene et al. 2014) and reduced mortality (Heo and Bell 2019). ...
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Greenspaces are integral components of communities and provide numerous benefits. However, human development threatens these spaces, particularly in communities of color where histories of racial injustice persist and environmental vulnerabilities remain. A step towards preventing the loss of important cultural greenspaces is documenting knowledge and experience. This research employed community-based participatory techniques to study the relationship between the landscape and African-Canadian communities around Preston, Nova Scotia, the oldest and largest in Canada. Community-directed meetings created collaborative-based knowledge about perceptions surrounding land use change while identifying valued greenspaces. This paper studies the relationships between the community’s greenspaces and the benefits to psychological, social, and physical aspects of human wellbeing. This relationship is operationalized through the use of a public participation geographic information system (PPGIS), SoftGIS, which activates the greenspace–human wellbeing relationship through interaction and its map-based survey data collection. Results indicate residents predominately visited greenspaces near a church or community center for social wellbeing benefits to interact with neighbors and friends, to cookout, or to bring children outside. This research contributes to a greater understanding of the Preston area’s greenspace identification and qualification, resident behavior, and cultural perspectives to inform strategies and goals for engaging government agencies surrounding policy and land use planning. This research illustrates frameworks for improving building capacity and promoting racial equity within the urbanization process in other communities.
... If the results hold for chronic exposures, then it is likely that city dwellers experience prolonged increased stress levels, which are a major factor not only in physiological symptoms such as chronic fatigue and elevated stress hormones, but also various psychological consequences such as mental exhaustion and stress-induced mental illnesses (Dolling et al., 2017). In addition, urban dwellers are further exposed to physical environmental stressors commonly found in cities such as pollution, noise, and grey infrastructure, which may further contribute to increased stress levels and negative mental health effects (Galea, Uddin, & Koenen, 2011;Hartig et al., 2011;Park et al., 2011;Svendsen, Northridge, & Metcalf, 2012 ;Tyrväinen et al., 2014;Wang et al., 2016). These observations may partially explain the higher rates of major mental illnesses in urban environments where individuals are more likely to suffer from PTSD, distress, paranoia, schizophrenia, and depression (Galea et al., 2011). ...
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It is well accepted that particulate matter (PM) can affect human health detrimentally. Chronic and prolonged exposures to particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter ranging between 2.5 and 10 microns (PM10), 0.1 and 2.5 microns (PM2.5) and less than 0.1 microns in size (UFPM), have been associated with cardiopulmonary diseases. PM is ubiquitously present in urban settings, while primarily absent in forest environments primarily due to the direct interception of airborne pollution particles by trees. Both short- and long-term exposure to trees in forested environments is associated with lower blood pressure and inflammation, as well as enhanced immune function. Additionally, exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) actively released by trees is associated with improved health through enhanced natural killer cell activity, reduced inflammatory responses, and reduced psychological stress. This article presents the results of a literature review on the harmful health effects of air pollution in urban environments, and the potential of forested environments to promote health and disease prevention.
... In addition to the recreation role, they improve the ecological balance inside the city as they remove the dust and harmful gases from the polluted air. The urban air is polluted due to various anthropogenic activities including industrial plants, residential areas and motorized vehicles [37,38]. ...
... Based on the research conclusions that there is no signi cant individual differences in many landscape evaluations (Lim et al., 2006;Park et al., 2011), 220 respondents participated in this study. These participants are all postgraduates in their mid-20s, and in the 1th or 2th grade of the Dept. of Forestry and Landscape Architecture in Nanjing Forestry University. ...
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In recent years, the construction of urban forest parks has run into the fast lane in China. As an indispensable natural landscape resource for urban forest parks, forest landscape has been paid increasing attentions by the public, in contrast, less effort has been made in the field of aesthetic evaluation of forest landscape. Based on the theories of landscape esthetics and psychology, this paper aims to present methods for the aesthetic evaluation, and understand citizen’s aesthetic perceptions of forest landscape using Semantic Differential (SD) and Principal Component Analysis (PCA) methods. Moreover, further suggestions will be put forward for a better development of the forest landscape, thereby giving full play to their landscape and recreation functions. As per the findings of this paper, the vegetation element diversity (PC 1 ), the magnificent feel (PC 2 ), the nature-pastoral feel (PC 3 ) and the sense of space (PC 4 ) present the critical comprehensive indexes affecting the aesthetic values of the forest landscape. The relationship between the comprehensive indexes and the landscape aesthetic value is revealed by multiple regression analyses. PC 3 and PC 4 are found to be less influencing on aesthetic values than PC 1 and PC 2 . At last, three suggestions for the construction and protection of forest landscape are put forward. The results of this study will contribute to the preservation of the forest landscape aesthetic, and the integration of these conclusions into the sustainable development strategies of urban forest parks.
... Spatiotemporal changes of place and time will probably result in varied findings due to changes in physical factors (Park et al., 2011;Wei et al., 2020b). Secondly, the way that we used to take photos was one way per hour, which may neglect some pedestrians who were not passing the view of technicians. ...
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It is widely believed that an experience in a forest environment can induce positive emotions for people. Current evidence that supports this argument mostly come from studies using self-reported scores on questionnaires as a source of data. As respondents have to be informed in advance, reported emotional scores can partially result from a participant’s study awareness. To overcome this potential bias, a crossover study was conducted in Heilongjiang Forest Botanical Garden (forest) and the Central Street (urban) over two days of early summer at Harbin city, Northeast China. A total of 8,792 photos with spontaneous facial expressions showing happy and sad emotions were randomly taken for pedestrians during the day. Young and middle-aged pedestrians in forests generally showed a higher level of least-square (LS) means of happy scores than those in urban settings. The dynamic expression of LS means of happy and sad scores both showed a decreasing trend. During the afternoon (14:00-16:00 pm), happy scores in urban settings suddenly declined and were significantly different from the forest setting. Regression analysis using the zero-inflated negative binomial model indicated that only in the morning (09:00-10:00 am) did the forest setting experience induce a positive effect on happy expressions in middle-aged females. Overall, our results revealed that facial expression scores will decline with time for both positive and negative emotions, but the decline can be mediated by the forest environment than urban settings. The higher level of positive expression scores for forest experiencers was the result of at least the sharper decline of positive emotion of people in the promenade, instead of the solely effect by an urban forest experience.
... It has been shown that a proximity to nature and biodiversity has beneficial effects on human health and wellbeing 19,20 . Several studies have demonstrated how a contact with nature, including urban green spaces, can lead to measurable psychological 21 , physiological 22 and health benefits 23 . A brief visit to forests, parks or natural environments has shown to reduce stress and fatigue 24,25 and trigger a positive mood 26 . ...
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The connection between nature conservation and human wellbeing is well known, however, the role of declining biodiversity and emerging diseases is relatively less studied. The presence of a thriving biological diversity is known to have therapeutic effects on human health. On the other hand, human economic activities have contributed to a sharp decline in species, resulting in poor ecosystem health. Several studies have shown how microorganisms have switched from animals to humans, leading to novel diseases. This review describes studies on zoonotic diseases and biodiversity, with examples from India. It is argued that conservation of biodiversity and ecosystems and changes in economic activities must be made to ward off new diseases, and why cooperation between ministries is critical to restrict the decline of biological diversity in a megadiverse country like India.
... Higher VGI of spaces in summer could improve respondents' emotions to a limited extent. However, in this study, such effects were statistically insignificant, and many studies have come to similar conclusions [83][84][85]. In winter, PA and VGI were negatively correlated. ...
Article
Emotions affect cognition, perception, and response to the external world. In this study, six open spaces on a university campus in Xi'an, China were selected to detect emotional responses to thermal perceptions from 516 staff and students. Respondents' emotional changes and subjective thermal sensation vote (TSV) were recorded as they completed a stressful task. Responses were rated using a Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) and thermal comfort questionnaires. Respondents' subjective thermal sensation changes, emotional responses, and influence factors on thermal sensation under different physiological equivalent temperature (PET) ranges were analyzed. Results showed that: (1) As air temperature (Ta), globe temperature (Tg) and mean radiation temperature (Tmrt) increased, positive affect (PA) varied as an inverted V-shaped trend, but negative affect (NA) showed the opposite trend. Sky view factors were negatively related to PA, and positively related to NA in summer. Visible green index was negatively related to PA in winter. (2) Neutral PET, neutral PET ranges, preferred PET and thermal acceptable ranges were 19.4 °C, 12.2–26.6 °C, 25.2 °C and 12.9–33.9 °C before a stressful task, 16.3 °C, 8.1–24.5 °C, 24.3 °C and 11.2–33.5 °C after the stressful task, and 20.0 °C, 12.7–27.3 °C, 25.3 °C and 14.1–36.3 °C after recovery, respectively. (3) Wind speed (Va) and Tmrt were the primary meteorological parameters that influenced respondents' thermal sensation. TSV approached to neutral as PA increased; increasing NA may increase TSV. Additionally, the influence of emotional regulation on TSV varied as the range of PET changed.
... Physiologically, the forest environment has been found to have helpful effects on physical relaxation and immune system strength (Park et al., 2007;Li et al., 2010;Tsunetsugu et al., 2013). Psychologically, accumulated evidence indicates that forest therapy can promote a positive mood by making subjects feel more relaxed, comfortable, and energetic with less tension, anxiety, and fatigue (Park et al., 2011;Tsunetsugu et al., 2013;Lee et al., 2014;Ochiai et al., 2015b;Liu Q. et al., 2021). ...
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Exposure to forest environments promotes human health. The number of relevant studies in this area has increased rapidly. However, an overall review of relevant analyses from the perspectives of bibliometrics and visualization is lacking. A scientometric analysis of 2,545 publications from 2007 to 2021 via the Web of Science database was conducted to identify the knowledge structure and frontiers objectively. The publications were subsequently analyzed in terms of the distribution of journals and countries, citation bursts, major subject areas, and evolutionary stages. The findings showed that the knowledge foundation of forest therapy was multidisciplinary with most published in the fields of environmental sciences and ecology but lacking input from social disciplines. The research hotspots evolved from the early focus on individual benefits obtained from nature to increasing attention on human well-being at the social-ecological scale. More rigorous experiments with strict randomized controlled trials and blinding are needed to accommodate the trend of forest therapy toward non-pharmacological treatments. According to Shneider’s four-stage theory, forest therapy research is in the third stage of the scientific research process. More future studies utilizing novel technologies and decision-making frameworks to solve practical issues are needed for introducing health into policies and promoting human well-being.
... A natural environment is likely to provide a distinctive intervention to help people with solving many of these health problems. Furthermore, an increasing number of studies have confirmed the restorative effects between nature and physiological and psychological well-being [5,6], including the prevention of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases [7,8], reduction of stress levels [9], lifting of mood condition [10][11][12] as well as the restoration and sustainment of vitality [13][14][15]. Restorative effects refer to the restoration and replenishment, or updating the topic of forests' restoration effects, but there still needs to be a focus on integrating descriptions of forests' characteristics and how they are related to human health. ...
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Many studies have proved that having nature experiences in forests is conducive to human physiological and psychological health. However, currently there is little research focusing on the effects of forest characteristics and the experiential characteristics of nature experiences on changes in health. In the study, three types of forest (mixed forest; deciduous forest; coniferous forest) and an urban site were used to measure the effects of these environments on participants’ physiological and psychological restoration after nature experience activities (sitting and walking activities). The study participants were 30 young adult students from Beijing Forestry University. Restorative effects were measured by physiological indicators (blood pressure and heart rate) and four psychological questionnaires (Profile of Mood States (POMS); Restorative Outcome Scale (ROS); Subjective Vitality Scale (SVS); Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale (WEMWBS)). Results demonstrated that all types of forest were beneficial to lower blood pressure and heart rate as well as to reduce negative feelings while boosting positive emotions. The mixed forest was more effective in lowering blood pressure and heart rate as well as increasing vitality. The levels of restoration and positive mental health increased significantly, while all subscales of the POMS (with the exception of vigor) decreased greatly in the coniferous forest. Relative to the sitting activity, obvious decreases in blood pressure and negative emotions were observed, while significant increases in restoration, vitality and positive mental health were observed after the walking activity. In conclusion, the impact on subjects’ health restoration varied with different forest characteristics, and the experiential characteristics of exposure may be helpful for creating supportive interventions and lifting the benefits of forest therapy as people interact with the forest.
... Lee et al., 2014;M. Lee et al., 2015;Ochiai et al., 2015;Olafsdottir et al., 2020), as well as with mental restoration (Igarashi et al., 2015;Olafsdottir et al., 2020) and cognitive improvements (Chiang et al., 2017;Jiang et al., 2014;Ochiai et al., 2015;Park et al., 2011). Noise reduction by green infrastructure (Yang et al., 2011) and improved acoustic urban environments (Medvedev et al., 2015) improve visitors' psychological and emotional experiences. ...
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Problem, research strategy, and findings City leaders are under pressure to increase urban residential density to provide affordable housing and meet sustainability objectives. Yet despite the advantages of urban densification, communities throughout North America persistently oppose new developments and housing projects in their neighborhoods. The impact of residential densification on the quality of life for existing residents is ambiguous. In this study we focus on measuring the impact of one key aspect of urban densification: the perceived quality of public space. We use an experimental design to increase pedestrians and stationary users in a pedestrianized green street for randomly selected periods over 3 weeks. We collected surveys with and without our pedestrian treatment and find that adding users to a residential street decreased the perceived quality of the space overall. The changes in perceptions were small yet significant and illustrate the real tradeoffs that planners must consider when increasing urban density in cities, especially in lower density residential communities. Takeaway for practice Increasing the number of public users in a residential neighborhood may slightly decrease the perceived quality of the public space. Women’s perceptions differ from those of men, and women are more sensitive to the addition of public users. We illustrate how planners may use public life experiments to anticipate how the public might respond to future changes in the public realm.
... Campus planning should emphasize potential effects on disparities in students' satisfaction, well-being, and academic success (Foellmer et al., 2021). Forest and park therapy studies have been proven from the stimulus carried out in the laboratory (Jo et al., 2019) and on-site surveys (Park et al., 2010(Park et al., , 2011. In the era of technology disruption, the usage of virtual stimuli (Benzina et al., 2019;Guo et al., 2020) and cloud computing were applied for landscape planning or evaluation (Richards et al., 2018;Urech et al., 2020;Włodarczyk-Marciniak et al., 2020). ...
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COVID-19 has doubled the prevalence of mental health problems among young adults. In Indonesia, it extends the vulnerability of families, increases economic uncertainty, interrupts food security, and affects psychological well-being. Accordingly, this research examined the correlation between psychological effects and preferred landscape elements. Experiments were conducted in a campus park, arboretum, and a road. Participants captured attractive views during the walk using the Visitor-Employed Photography method and evaluated psychological effects using the Profile of Mood States (POMS) and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) pre-and post-walking. Google Cloud Vision API was used to get the image annotation keywords. The results indicated a correlation between psychological effects and preferred landscape elements. Park therapy components, including plant, flower, and sky, were negatively correlated with negative moods and anxiety levels. These findings presented scientific evidence for the psychological relaxation outcome of walking and prominent components of park therapy to support therapeutic campus greenspace planning.
... As a result, regional climates change in response to modified water balance and biodiversity (Guo et al., 2016;Sarkar et al., 2019). It has been demonstrated that the change of regional climates in urban forest settings can induce the responses of psychological (Park et al., 2011;Wei et al., 2020b) and physiological well-being . Therein, local air temperature, relative humidity, and sunlight spectrum were all found to impose significant effects on perceived emotions. ...
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Interacting with aquatic environments in blue spaces is believed to benefit mental well-being. Relevant understanding is limited to regional pilot studies using self-reported emotions on questionnaires. We assessed emotional response by rating facial expressions on a large geographical scale with the purpose of detecting a relationship to microclimates. A total of 920 facial photographs were collected from Sina Weibo from 20 wetland parks in 14 eastern cities of China during 2020. Daily average air temperature, rainfall, average relative humidity (RH), and wind velocity were also recorded from the days when photographs were posted online. We found that happy expressions were higher in wetlands of eastern cities than in northern and inland cities. Sad expressions varied statistically among wetland locations. Weather records differed between temperate and subtropical climatic zones and were highly varied among cities. Happy and sad scores were driven by the change in average air temperature. Combined multivariable regression and binomial correlation suggested that increasing air temperature would not evoke positive emotions unless higher than 11.5°C, and an air temperature range of 17.5–22.3°C will be optimum to induce the presentation of a smiling face. Air humidity generally imposed a negative effect on expressions of positive emotions. Further verification of our findings is suggested on a larger geographical scale using more powerful big-data to obtain more robust conclusions.
... The second focuses on the properties of an environment that support affective and physiological recovery from acute stress. In latest decade, there is a growing body of evidence suggesting that contact with natural environments can promote well-being and psychological restoration from stress and fatigue (Park et al., 2011;van den Bosch & Ode Sang, 2017;Wang et al., 2018;Zhao et al., 2018), because natural environments are the cradle of mankind, they can provide various resources for human survival and reproduction. Psychological restoration can be achieved through human perception of adequate resources (Kaplan, 1995). ...
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Aim This study checked the effects of landscape types and complexity along path in urban green spaces on perceived restorativeness, so as to provide guidance for path landscape design. Background Paths in urban green spaces are not only the connections between places but also places for visitors reducing mental stress and seeking psychological well-being. However, there is a lack of evidence-based research on the effects of landscape composition along the path on restorative quality, failing to provide a cohesive guideline for practice. Methods Fourteen videos representing the popular path landscapes in urban green spaces were produced using computer software by adding or/and deleting elements and controlling environmental components. The restorative quality of these videos was measured by Short-version Revised Restoration Scale (SRRS). Statistical analysis was employed to treat the data and checked the effects of different landscape types and complexity on restorative quality. Results (1) A significant difference in restorative quality between 14 path landscapes was found, comparatively, the path containing lawn or(and) forest was much better than that containing bamboo and waterscape, and bamboo was a negative predictor of restorative quality; (2) waterscape generally reduced the restorative quality of vegetated path landscape, especially when the landscape possessed higher restorative quality; (3) path landscape complexity had a weak influence on restorative quality. Conclusions This study explains how path landscapes affect mental restoration of users, and these findings contribute to enhancing the restorative quality of urban green spaces and have applications for path landscape design.
... The second suggests that affective appraisals of one's environment are responsible for restorative outcomes. Contact with nature can have both physical and psychological benefits, including lower level of physiological indexes of stress such as blood pressure, sympathetic nervous activity and heart rate (Tsunetsugu et al., 2007(Tsunetsugu et al., , 2013; Lee et al., 2011), improved focus, increased vitality (Bratman et al., 2012), and better mood (Herzog et al., 2003;Morita et al., 2007;Park et al., 2011). Specifically, landscape containing water is considered "peaceful", "traditional", "preferable" and "worth-preserving" (Yamashita, 2002), and enhances human health and well-being Kistemann, 2013, 2015;White et al., 2013). ...
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Despite the important roles that animals play in ecosystems, their functions in urban green spaces are often overlooked. To fill this gap, this study explored the effects of four animal species on the mental restorative quality of urban green spaces by comparing observers’ response to pictures with and without animals. The results indicated that swans, deer, and pigeons which were unthreatening to humans could significantly improve mental restoration of observers, and comparatively, swans had the strongest effect. Conversely, unleashed dogs were a potential threat to humans, and decreased the mental restorative quality of urban green spaces. The mechanism of animals’ effects on mental restoration and the differential effects of four animal species were discussed. To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study addressing the mental health impacts of animals in landscapes, and the results suggest that “animal-inclusive landscape design” has a positive impact on urban green spaces.
... Recent research has reported that people across the world visited more green spaces such as parks and urban forests during the COVID-19 pandemic to reduce these negative effects [2][3][4][5][6][7]. The increased visits have been observed because of the positive effects of urban parks on psychological and physical well-being, social cohesion, and mental wellness [1,[8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17]. ...
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Many people visited urban parks during the COVID-19 pandemic to reduce the negative effects of lack of physical activity, social isolation, anxiety, and depression. It is unclear whether all parks are robust against the pandemic, helping people sustain healthy daily living through the diverse activities within them. Nevertheless, few studies have identified the specific relationship between park visits and the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, this study aims to demonstrate how physical features such as type, functionality, and access influenced daily visiting to parks during the pandemic, using mobile phone data at a micro level. This study first classified urban parks as point-type parks with an area of less than 1 ha, plane-type parks with 1 ha or more, and line-type parks with elongated shapes, while measuring accessibility to residential, employment, transportation, and auxiliary facilities within the park. The study employed the multi-level regression model with random intercept to investigate the effects of differing park visits, focusing on Goyang city, South Korea. Our analysis results identified that easy access from home was more important than the park size during the pandemic. If we look at the types of parks, the use of both plane- and point-type parks increased more than that of line-type parks. However, line-type parks near homes, along with shopping and sports facilities, were found to be more robust to the pandemic. These findings can be informative to provide specific guidelines to fulfill the enhanced role of parks in sustaining public health during an infectious disease pandemic that may strike again.
... It showed that being in the forest can reduce "tension and anxiety", "anger and hostility", "fatigue", "chaos" and "total emotional state", and increase "vitality". Forests can therefore reduce negative emotions and enhance positive emotions [23]. Kaplan and Kaplan [19] have also proposed Attention Restoration Theory (ART). ...
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In Taiwan’s forest environment, the type closest to people’s living area is the protection forest, which mainly has the aims of regulating, supplying, and supporting, in those of the ecosystem services (ES). In recent years, due to the people’s demand for being close to nature and relieving stress, protection forests have become venues for people’s sports and leisure activities. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between public perceptions of the value of ES and mental health benefits, so as to adjust the Taiwan’s management policy towards its protection forests. Our research site is the Zhunan Protection Forest on the western coast of Taiwan. In total, 355 questionnaires were issued, and 301 of those were deemed valid. The results showed that (1) people have a high perception of the ES, in which supporting and regulation values were higher than cultural and provisioning values. Education could enhance the perception of ES. (2) For the people who have exercise habits and live near protection forests, their “compatibility” of PRS was higher than for other people. (3) People who live around protection forest areas had a higher positive mood and lower negative mood, which could have healthier mental effects. (4) People’s perceptions of ES were related to PRS dimensions. The higher ES values people were also more likely to participate in exercise in the forest, achieving good mental health. The results are discussed with relevant literature and provide suggestions for follow-up research for revising forest protection management policies.
... There is growing evidence that exposure to nature increases human well-being [1]. Nature is related to a variety of indicators of well-being, such as improved mood, increased cognitive function, overall general health, and life satisfaction [2][3][4][5][6][7], though these relationships can be complicated [8]. Studies have used a wide variety of measures of nature to test this relationship. ...
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There is growing evidence that exposure to nature increases human well-being, including in urban areas. However, relatively few studies have linked subjective satisfaction to objective features of the environment. In this study we explore the links among objective environmental features (tree cover, water, and bird diversity) and subjective judgements of satisfaction. We surveyed residents of Ottawa, Canada (n = 1035) about their satisfaction with their local neighbourhoods. We then compared the survey responses to measures of nature near their homes, including bird diversity (number of bird species), tree canopy cover, and distance to water. After controlling for effects of income and subjective happiness, residents’ neighbourhood satisfaction was positively related to the number of bird species nearby, even before participants were prompted to consider nature. Residents’ appreciation of their local neigbourhood relative to others also increased with tree canopy cover and nearness to water. Unsolicited comments from participants following the survey indicated that while residents consciously appreciate trees and water, the relationship between bird diversity and neighbourhood satisfaction appears to be unconscious; very few of the participants mentioned birds. Based on these results, we speculate that a diverse local bird community may provoke feelings of satisfaction through their presence, activity, and songs. Our results create a compelling argument for city planners and individual residents to maintain bird-friendly spaces in urban areas.
... The coexistence of natural and artificial elements in a landscape not only provides opportunities for people to come into contact with nature, which has been demonstrated to enhance the public's well-being (e.g. Morita et al., 2007;Park et al., 2011;Zhao et al., 2018) but also reduces the potential negative effects associated with nature such as fear (Lorenc, 2012) and the presence of harmful creatures (mosquitoes, rats, ticks, etc.) (Lohmus & Balbus, 2015). On the other hand, moderate seasonal diversity can also be achieved through the combination of various natural elements, which have different seasonal changes (Kuper, 2020b). ...
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Seasonality is a typical feature of landscapes in temperate regions. Seasonality's effects on visual aesthetic quality (VAQ) are widely recog-nised but not well understood. To address this gap, 10 sample sites were selected to represent the diversity of urban green spaces in Xuzhou, eastern China, which has a typical temperate monsoon climate. Photographs of the 10 sites were acquired in eight typical months to capture seasonality. Online surveys were used to evaluate the VAQ of the photographs. The mean value of the coefficient of variation of 16 landscape characteristics of a site during the seasons was used to represent seasonal diversity. The results indicated that: (1) the autumn landscape was the most preferred, and the winter landscape was the least preferred; (2) there was a significantly inverted U-shaped relationship between year-round VAQ and seasonal diversity. This is the first study to define seasonal diversity and its effect on VAQ.
... Lee et al. (2014) suggest that, since humans have evolved with natural environments, people can readily draw on their interactions with forest environments to create states of physiological relaxation and reduce stress. Numerous studies have documented the healing properties of natural environments to attend to the needs of people with serious illnesses (Chalquist, 2009;Park et al., 2011;Shin et al., 2010;Tsunetsugu et al., 2010), suggesting that immersion in forests and other green spaces can help people find growth post-diagnosis of cancer (Glover & Parry, 2009). Ongoing exposure to, and immersion in, natural environments can then be a requisite resource for individuals as they age and continue to face new obstacles and hardships along the way (Harmon & Kyle, 2020). ...
Article
While some studies have explored the effectiveness of self-directed participation in online support groups for survivors of cancer after treatment, there is a dearth of focus on participation in nontraditional support groups for extended periods of time, whether the individuals have ongoing treatment, metastatic cancer, or show no evidence of disease. This study is the second instalment of a longitudinal investigation into the benefits of a hiking programme for cancer survivors, four years after the original investigation. The purpose of the study is to determine whether participation in the hiking program contributes to members' subjective sense of wellbeing and quality of life over the course of time.
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This study aimed to examine the psychological effects of forest activities in a campus forest. A pre-test and post-test control group design was employed to evaluate the psychological effect of forest activities in a campus forest. A total of 38 participants participated in this study (19 in the forest activities group; 19 in the control group). The Profile of Mood State (POMS) questionnaire, the Concise Measure of Subjective Well-Being (COMOSWB), and the modified form of the Stress Response Inventory (SRI-MF) were administered to each participant to assess psychological effects. This study revealed that participants in the forest activities intervention group had significantly positive increases in their mood, stress response, and subjective well-being, comparing with those of control group participants who did not partake in any forest activities. In conclusion, the implementation of forest activities in a campus forest is an efficient strategy to provide psychological well-being benefits to college students.
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The coupling effect between urban PM2.5 concentrations and urban heat island effect has been paid more and more attention to. Previous studies mostly focused on the analysis of data correlations, lacking the interpretation of the formation texture. Taking Hefei as the subject, this study combined the spatial statistical model with the coupling coordination degree model to explore the influence of spatial environment-related indicators on the coupling effect of cities. In addition, at the micro level, the paper used grid unit to verify the relevance and made a comprehensive analysis on the formation texture of coupling effect. The results indicated that: (1) there is a significant coupling effect between the urban heat island intensity and PM2.5 concentrations in the main urban area of Hefei with significant spatial heterogeneity. (2) to some extent, the indicators of urban spatial environment, including vegetated areas, buildings, residential land, commercial land, industrial land, building density, floor area ratio, building form ratio, the densities of road junctions and sub-arterial roads, have different effects on the coupling effect. In general, the higher the degree of human activity, the higher the degree of coupling effect. (3) the coupling effect may be influenced by a variety of spatial environment factors.
Article
In this study, we used an irradiation system to investigate differences in the following: (1) impressionistic assessment of room environment; (2) effects on physical and psychological restorativeness; and (3) job satisfaction due to brief rests in a nursing home room with or without Komore-bi. Results showed that impressionistic assessment (SD/PRS) for each room environment was more positive with Komore-bi. Additionally, salivary amylase activity, a physical indicator, was significantly reduced; while the subjective feeling of restorativeness (ROS) and mood states (POMS), both psychological indicators, significantly improved in the room with Komore-bi. Furthermore, some statistical differences in job satisfaction were found in the presence or absence of Komore-bi. In other words, this experiment has shown that short exposure to the Komore-bi irradiation system might contribute to the physical and psychological recovery and increased job satisfaction among staff members.
Article
Forests have provided support for human health and survival since ancient times. With improved public awareness of health issues and the importance of forest ecological functions, forest therapy has gradually gained momentum. Forest therapies have been applied around the world as preventive and alternative therapies to promote human health. As a safe, side-effect-free, low-cost, preventive, and alternative therapy, forest therapy has been scientifically proven to promote physical and mental health in humans. However, the forest therapy service system is still underdeveloped, and forest therapy has not become a mainstream part of clinical medical treatment methods in most countries worldwide. Therefore, in order to better present the development path and current situation of forest therapy in different countries and provide guidance for how other countries can develop similar interventions and clinical sites to base these activities, this study uses Germany, Japan, and China as examples to systematically tease out how forest therapy has developed and the status of forest therapy services in different countries, as well as the health benefits of forest therapy. Furthermore, the key components and traditional cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds related to forest therapy are discussed. Finally, based on published empirical research, we believe that forest therapy can be a solution to public health problems thanks to its multiple, medically proven health benefits. Forest therapy facilitates the return of people to the forest and nature to achieve health and well-being effects. However, there is a need for more research on the mechanisms (such as the immune system, endocrine system, nervous system, etc.) underlying forest therapy’s effectiveness, which should include strengthened collaborations between disciplines. In addition, the role of forest therapy services in promoting human health needs to be emphasized.
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Although people generally have positive evaluations of natural environments and stimuli, theory and research suggest that certain biomes are more preferable than others. Existing theories often draw on evolutionary ideas and people’s familiarity with biome types, with familiarity being the most supported, albeit not conclusively, in existing research. Across three samples (n = 720) we sought to compare preference ratings of 40 images that represented ten biomes (beach, lake, tropical and temperate forest, marsh, swamp, meadow, park, mountain, and river). We addressed objective familiarity by recruiting samples from two distinct geographies (Florida and Ontario), and we assessed subjective familiarity via image ratings. Familiarity was positively associated with liking biomes, though this trend was stronger for subjective familiarity compared to geography. Substantial variation in biome type preferences could not be attributed to familiarity. Specific biome types were strongly preferred irrespective of familiarity and geography. e.g., beaches and lakes were highly preferred, while marshes and swamps were substantially less preferred than other biome types. Further analyses found that the individual difference of nature relatedness predicted both familiarity and liking of all biomes except beaches, and that there was a lack of seasonal effects (fall and winter) across two Ontario samples. We discuss how results provide qualified support for the familiarity view, limits of this interpretation, how methodological choices such as the number of ratings might impact findings, and the potential applications of these results in landscape design.
Article
Demand for parks and green space for physical and mental relaxation has increased dramatically during and after the COVID−19 Pandemic in many countries. In order to understand nature and forest experience with human health, we conducted multi-disciplinary research to examine if different auditory stimuli will cause the change of healthy people's physiological and psychological effects, especially under typical forest therapy activity---focused-attention meditation (FAM). In this study, we recorded the data of heart rate, blood pressure as well as brainwave activities as physiological indices. We used a modified Semantic Differential Method (SD) to investigate participants' subjective feelings on different sound stimuli. A significant increase in heart rate was found during meditation under a street sound auditory background. The theta band power reduced significantly compared to that under other sound stimulation. The highest feeling scores on the level of comfort, relaxation, and nature showed with the presence of a natural sound environment. In conclusion, the natural sound background of the forest can make people more relax physically and psychologically during meditation.
Chapter
Although outdoor thermal comfort has gained increasing research attention, meteorological conditions and thermal sensation in different urban settings in high-density cities have not been systematically studied from the perspective of urban planning and design. Considering the potential relationship between environmental quality and thermal sensation in outdoor spaces—an emerging topic in perceived comfort, this study offers a new approach for planning and design for climate resilience in cities. This chapter presents the results of an outdoor thermal comfort survey conducted on hot summer days in Hong Kong. Diverse patterns of PET-comfort ratings relationships were found in different urban settings. The study revealed that air temperature, subjective assessments of solar radiation, and wind environment were strong determinants of thermal sensation and evaluation. In our analysis, wind condition showed a significant indirect effect on comfort through subjective perception. Statistical modelling showed that subjective perceptions on microclimate condition and comfort are moderated by various aspects of environmental quality. The findings help inform future design for climate resilience in outdoor urban spaces in hot–humid subtropical cities.
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This study investigated the effects of visual environment reproduction methods of virtual reality (VR) on soundscape and landscape assessments for reproducing VR environments in laboratory settings. It also subjectively assessed urban environments to compare assessment method qualities. Specific monitor and head-mounted display (HMD) environments were selected as visual reproduction methods. Spatial audio that applied first-order ambisonic-based head-tracking technology was equally provided in both visual environments. We analyzed the subjective responses of 40 individuals according to overall satisfaction, VR reproduction quality, perceived audio-visual elements, and adjective attributes describing soundscape and landscape. The results showed that urban environments were more sensitively assessed through HMD than the monitors. Negative and positive components were more clearly perceived in the HMD environment. Furthermore, the negative effects of artificial components were rated highly in the HMD environment. The surrounded landscape affected urban contextual perceptions positively in HMD and negatively in monitor environments, making it an important assessment factor. Consequently, monitor and HMD environments were beneficial to the overall awareness of urban environments and spatial presence, respectively. The discoveries and data of this study could be extensively used as a basis for developing experimental methodologies to assess the soundscape and landscape of urban environments in laboratory settings.
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Large populations worldwide have been deprived from nature experiences due to mass quarantines and lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic, and face a looming mental health crisis. Virtual reality offers a safe and practical solution to increase nature exposure. This research examined the effects of virtual nature using a within-subject design with young adults (Study 1) and senior citizens (Study 2). Results from the young adult sample showed that walking in a virtual forest reduced negative affect due to enhanced nature connectedness, and reduced stress measured by heart rate. Consistently, the senior citizen sample reported improved positive affect due to enhanced nature connectedness after the virtual nature walk. Our findings unveil the underlying mechanism of how virtual nature may improve psychological well-being and demonstrated how virtual nature can be used as an intervention to promote mental health. Supplementary information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s10055-021-00604-4.
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Many cross-sectional studies have supported the health benefits of urban greenways. However, the causal relationship between urban greenway intervention and residents’ physical and mental health remains unclear. Furthermore, the potential dose-response effect by distance to a greenway intervention remains unknown. This study explored the impact of a large-scale urban greenway intervention (construction of a 102-km-long East Lake Greenway in Wuhan, China) on the health outcomes of residents by using a natural experimental research design. We collected data before and after the intervention (in 2016 and 2019, respectively) from 1,020 participants living within a 5-km street-network distance from the entrances of this greenway. The average age of the participants was approximately 50, and most of them were married. More than half of the participants were female, currently employed, and had received a college education or above. Mixed-effects difference-in-difference (DID) models were used while controlling for individual and neighbourhood covariates. The results showed that the East Lake Greenway had a positive effect on the self-reported mental health of residents who lived within 2 km, and these benefits decreased with distance. The physical health benefit was insignificant. To increase the health benefits of urban greenways, more effort should be made to improve the accessibility of greenways and the surrounding environment. We also advocate that future natural experiments should explore the distance-varying dose-response effect of green space interventions on health outcomes.
Article
Changes in the dimensions of psychological health in relation to workplace greenspace exposure and its relationship with job stress was not yet fully revealed. A neighboring park of the workplace and a forest were chosen to represent experimental stimuli and the control, respectively. The experiment was conducted in March 2021 in Taiwan, using a virtual reality. Results show that negative emotions decreased in the post-test in both environment settings. However, positive emotion increased only after exposure to the forest (t=-3.88, p < .001). After virtually visiting the workplace greenspace, depression in the high stress group decreased significantly (t = 3.48 , p < .01) while the counterpart did not exhibit any significant change. Based on the interviews, participants only indicated stressful elements of the workplace greenspace video, despite the video also contained natural elements. Topics related to work decreased feelings of being away. Greenspace in a work context should be carefully designed to avoid the stressful elements.
Technical Report
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The Vitality of Forests: Illustrating the evidence connecting forests and human health, is intended to better justify why the public, policymakers, and private sector should be interested in forests’ role beyond their recreational, carbon sequestration, or biodiversity conservation potential. The evidence demonstrates that public health and forests are entwined—at the local, regional, and global scale—and that across each of nature’s contributions to human health, forest conservation, protection, and management can improve human lives.
Article
Research suggests that exposure to natural environments can be beneficial for health, such as reducing physical illness and improving mood and cognitive ability. The potential benefits of nature have come into focus at a time when mental health issues are growing globally. Here, we have selected 24 studies from four databases for meta-analysis to explore the effects of exposure to the natural environment on the anxiety of the human body and summarize the influencing factors on the anxiety relief effect. A random-effect meta-analysis of anxiety state changes before and after exposure to natural environment shows that natural exposure effectively alleviated human anxiety (SMD −1.28, 95% CI: −1.65 to −0.92). The overall quality of the included papers, assessed using the PEDro scale, is considered to vary considerably, but most of the papers are rated between 4 and 7 which is considered fair or good. In addition, we have also investigated the potential moderators of anxiety-relieving effects of the nature. Our results shows that the age and exposure time of the subjects are related to the effect of anxiety relief. The results of the subgroup analysis of moderators prove that compared with the middle-aged people (SMD −0.63, 95% CI: −1.13 to −0.12), young people (SMD −1.50, 95% CI: −1.90 to −1.10) get better anxiety alleviation effect in the natural environment. In terms of exposure time, compared with 0.5–2 h (SMD −0.18, 95% CI: −0.59 to −0.23) and >2 h (SMD −0.84, 95% CI: −1.40 to −0.27) exposure periods, subjects get the maximum anxiety relief benefit when they spent <0.5 h (SMD −1.60, 95% CI: −1.93 to −1.27) in the natural environment. However, the quality of the included studies varies greatly and there is a significant heterogeneity in the meta-analysis. Study location, natural environment type and other moderator factors have no obvious correlation with anxiety-alleviation effect of the nature. A higher quality and more comprehensive study needs to be carried out to find out more moderators about the effects of the natural environment on anxiety alleviation. Further experimental studies should also be conducted to determine the mechanism by which natural exposure reduces anxiety so as to provide strong support for the construction and improvement of healthy natural environment.
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In the context of urban land-use growth and the consequent impacts on the environment, green spaces provide ecosystem services for human health. The ecosystem services concept synthesises human–environmental interactions through a series of combined components of biodiversity and abiotic elements, linking ecological processes and functions. The concept of green infrastructure (GI) in the urban context emphasises the quality and quantity of urban and peri-urban green spaces and natural areas. In dense urban contexts, the applications of GI are limited and not applied to the potential urban spaces such as roofs and gardens. Often, roofs are characterised by impermeable paved surfaces with negative effects on human well-being, whereas garden designs do not consider social needs and environmental interactions. The role of urban stressors or the urban context as a driving force or pressure of urban green space is not always well understood and employed in the planning of green spaces. This is partly due to a knowledge gap between different science disciplines that operate on different scales, from single processes of the plants (which focus on plant responses to environmental stresses affecting human well-being) to urban ecosystems (which focus on the biodiversity and urban space planning–human well-being relationship). This can create a paradox, as green spaces that are not adequately designed might not produce the expected effects. In this paper, an overview of benefits and limitations of applying the ecosystem services approach when designing green spaces is presented. The focus is on the main urban ecosystem services provided by green roofs and community gardens such as GI that can represent strategies to provide ecological and social multifunctionality to waterproofed surfaces connected to the buildings and low-exploited gardens being the main areas that affect dense urban settlements, and thus, increasing the ecosystem services in the urban environment, such as reducing the Urban Heat Island, as well as flooding events. Specifically, the paper highlights (i) feedback between ecological processes and functions that support ecosystem services, (ii) urban environmental stresses in relation to disservices that these can create for human well-being and (iii) key issues that should be considered in the planning and design of urban ecosystem services. Such a new vision of urban ecosystem services highlights the need to look at GI as an active part of the urban space design in the built environment.
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It is widely believed that coming into contact with forest environments is somehow beneficial to human well-being and comfort. In Japan, "Shinrin-yoku" (taking in the atmosphere of a forest) has been proposed to be a relaxation activity associated with forest recreation. The purpose of this study was to examine the physiological effects of forest recreation on the autonomic nervous activity. The subjects were twelve male university students (21.8 ± 0.8 years old). On the first day of the experiment, six subjects were sent to a forest area, and the other six to a city area. On the second day, each subject was sent to the area he did not visit on the first day as a cross check. The subjects walked (15 minutes) around their assigned areas before noon, and sat on chairs viewing (15 minutes) the landscapes of their assigned areas in the afternoon. Heart rate variability (HRV), blood pressure, and pulse rate were measured as physiological indices. Measurements were taken at the place of accommodation in the morning, before and after walking, and before and after viewing at their assigned field areas. Pulse rate, diastolic blood pressure and LF/(LF+HF) (LF- low frequency, HF- high frequency) components of HRV were significantly lower in the forest area than in the city area. HF components of HRV tended to be higher in the forest than in the city. In conclusion, the results of the physiological measurements show that forest recreation enabled effective relaxation in people, both of the mind and body.
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Different conceptual perspectives converge to predict that if individuals are stressed, an encounter with most unthreatening natural environments will have a stress reducing or restorative influence, whereas many urban environments will hamper recuperation. Hypotheses regarding emotional, attentional and physiological aspects of stress reducing influences of nature are derived from a psycho-evolutionary theory. To investigate these hypotheses, 120 subjects first viewed a stressful movie, and then were exposed to color/sound videotapes of one of six different natural and urban settings. Data concerning stress recovery during the environmental presentations were obtained from self-ratings of affective states and a battery of physiological measures: heart period, muscle tension, skin conductance and pulse transit time, a non-invasive measure that correlates with systolic blood pressure. Findings from the physiological and verbal measures converged to indicate that recovery was faster and more complete when subjects were exposed to natural rather than urban environments. The pattern of physiological findings raised the possibility that responses to nature had a salient parasympathetic nervous system component; however, there was no evidence of pronounced parasympathetic involvement in responses to the urban settings. There were directional differences in cardiac responses to the natural vs urban settings, suggesting that attention/intake was higher during the natural exposures. However, both the stressor film and the nature settings elicited high levels of involuntary or automatic attention, which contradicts the notion that restorative influences of nature stem from involuntary attention or fascination. Findings were consistent with the predictions of the psycho-evolutionary theory that restorative influences of nature involve a shift towards a more positively-toned emotional state, positive changes in physiological activity levels, and that these changes are accompanied by sustained attention/intake. Content differences in terms of natural vs human-made properties appeared decisive in accounting for the differences in recuperation and perceptual intake.
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"Shinrin-yoku", which can be defined as "taking in the forest atmosphere or forest bathing", has been receiving increasing attention in Japan in recent years for its capacity to provide relaxation and reduce stress. Since 2004, the authors of this paper have been involved in an investigation designed to ascertain the physiological effects of "Shinrin-yoku" within the framework of the "Therapeutic Effects of Forests" project. We have conducted physiological experiments, both in actual forests and in the laboratory, to elucidate the physiological effects on individuals of exposure to the total environment of forests or to only certain elements of this environment, such as the odor of wood, the sound of running stream water, and the scenery of the forest. We have obtained physiological measurements of central nervous activity, autonomic nervous activity, and biomarkers reflecting stress response that can be applied in this line of approach. Using these measurements, we have summarized the separate elements of forests in terms of the five senses. We have also reviewed a selection of field studies and introduced a number of results from ongoing projects as well as those from early studies. Future perspectives are also discussed.
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This review aims to contribute to the ongoing discussion about human health, global change, and biodiversity by concentrating on the relationships between forests and human health. This review gives a short overview of the most important health benefits that forests provide to humans, and the risks that forests may pose to human health. Furthermore, it discusses the future challenges for the research on the links between forests and human health, and for delivering health through forests in practice. Forests provide enormous possibilities to improve human health conditions. The results of a vast amount of research show that forest visits promote both physical and mental health by reducing stress. Forests represent rich natural pharmacies by virtue of being enormous sources of plant and microbial material with known or potential medicinal or nutritional value. Forest food offers a safety net for the most vulnerable population groups in developing countries, and healthy forest ecosystems may also help in regulation of infectious diseases. Utilizing forests effectively in health promotion could reduce public health care budgets and create new sources of income. Main challenges to delivering health through forests are due to ecosystem and biodiversity degradation, deforestation, and climate change. In addition, major implementation of research results into practice is still lacking. Inadequate implementation is partly caused by insufficient evidence base and partly due to the lack of policy-makers' and practitioners' awareness of the potential of forests for improving human health. This calls for strong cooperation among researchers, policy-makers, and practitioners as well as between different sectors, especially between health and environmental professionals.
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This paper reviews previous research on the physiological effects of Shinrin-yoku (taking in the forest atmosphere or forest bathing), and presents new results from field experiments conducted in 24 forests across Japan. The term Shinrin-yoku was coined by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries in 1982, and can be defined as making contact with and taking in the atmosphere of the forest. In order to clarify the physiological effects of Shinrin-yoku, we conducted field experiments in 24 forests across Japan. In each experiment, 12 subjects (280 total; ages 21.7 +/- 1.5 year) walked in and viewed a forest or city area. On the first day, six subjects were sent to a forest area, and the others to a city area. On the second day, each group was sent to the other area as a cross-check. Salivary cortisol, blood pressure, pulse rate, and heart rate variability were used as indices. These indices were measured in the morning at the accommodation facility before breakfast and also both before and after the walking (for 16 +/- 5 min) and viewing (for 14 +/- 2 min). The R-R interval was also measured during the walking and viewing periods. The results show that forest environments promote lower concentrations of cortisol, lower pulse rate, lower blood pressure, greater parasympathetic nerve activity, and lower sympathetic nerve activity than do city environments. These results will contribute to the development of a research field dedicated to forest medicine, which may be used as a strategy for preventive medicine.
Article
Research and teaching in environmental health have centered on the hazardous effects of various environmental exposures, such as toxic chemicals, radiation, and biological and physical agents. However, some kinds of environmental exposures may have positive health effects. According to E.O. Wilson’s “biophilia” hypothesis, humans are innately attracted to other living organisms. Later authors have expanded this concept to suggest that humans have an innate bond with nature more generally. This implies that certain kinds of contact with the natural world may benefit health. Evidence supporting this hypothesis is presented from four aspects of the natural world: animals, plants, landscapes, and wilderness. Finally, the implications of this hypothesis for a broader agenda for environmental health, encompassing not only toxic outcomes but also salutary ones, are discussed. This agenda implies research on a range of potentially healthful environmental exposures, collaboration among professionals in a range of disciplines from public health to landscape architecture to city planning, and interventions based on research outcomes.
Article
Windows have been found to be a particularly salient feature of the workplace, not only as a matter of preference but also for health and well-being. Depending on what is in the view, looking out of the window may provide numerous opportunities for restoration. This study investigated the effect of window views on job satisfaction and stress. The impact of two specific influencing mechanisms was examined: existence of forest views through windows in workplaces, and absence of forest views through windows in workplaces. The sample consisted of 931 office workers in Seoul, South Korea, 481 who could see forest views from their workplaces and 450 who could not see forest views. A set of self-administered questionnaires including job satisfaction and job stress measures was distributed to the sample from April to September 2004. The results showed a significant direct effect of forest views from windows on job satisfaction and stress. Respondents' personal information such as gender, age and job category did not influence on the window view effects. As expected, employees' job satisfaction and job stress were highly and negatively correlated.
Article
Growing attention has been paid to the health-enhancing or therapeutic effects of natural environments, such as forests, and the requirement for an evidence-based approach has been pressing. However, there is a lack of evidence-based research in this field. In this study, the restorative effects of viewing real forest landscapes were examined through field experiments by comparing the effects of urban landscapes. Twelve Japanese male subjects in their twenties participated in a 3 day field experiment. The subjects were instructed to visit forest and urban environments randomly and to view each real landscape. Physiological and psychological data on each subject were collected four times a day. Significant differences between the responses of the subjects in forest compared with those in the urban environment were found. Forest environments had significantly lower values than urban environments after viewing in (1) salivary cortisol concentration (an index of stress response), (2) diastolic blood pressure, and (3) pulse rate. Further, subjects felt more comfortable, soothed and refreshed when viewing a forest landscape than an urban one. These findings support the idea that real forest landscapes may ameliorate stress, aid autonomic nervous system relaxation and increase positive emotion, and provide important scientific evidence of forest-guided health benefits.
Article
Addresses the recreational role of nature in everyday environments as reflected in outdoor recreation literature, noting the psychological value of nature in built environments and the sense of deprivation experienced in their absence. It is asserted that recreation research has progressed so that general classes of influence on outdoor decision making can be posited. A theoretical framework to account for individuals' attachment to natural elements in and around their daily environments is presented. (8 p ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
We compared psychophysiological stress recovery and directed attention restoration in natural and urban field settings using repeated measures of ambulatory blood pressure, emotion, and attention collected from 112 randomly assigned young adults. To vary restoration needs, we had half of the subjects begin the environmental treatment directly after driving to the field site. The other half completed attentionally demanding tasks just before the treatment. After the drive or the tasks, sitting in a room with tree views promoted more rapid decline in diastolic blood pressure than sitting in a viewless room. Subsequently walking in a nature reserve initially fostered blood pressure change that indicated greater stress reduction than afforded by walking in the urban surroundings. Performance on an attentional test improved slightly from the pretest to the midpoint of the walk in the nature reserve, while it declined in the urban setting. This opened a performance gap that persisted after the walk. Positive affect increased and anger decreased in the nature reserve by the end of the walk; the opposite pattern emerged in the urban environment. The task manipulation affected emotional self-reports. We discuss implications of the results for theories about restorative environments and environmental health promotion measures.
Article
The visible landscape is believed to affect human beings in many ways, including aesthetic appreciation and health and well-being. The aim of this paper is to analyse the range of landscapes used in environmental psychology studies, and the evidence of health effects related to viewing these landscapes. A literature review of publications linking landscapes and health effects was conducted. This reported evidence of health and well-being effects related to exposure to visual landscapes. The results of the review include an overview of the types of landscape used in the studies, the evidence on health effects, the methods and measures applied and the different groups of respondents. The analysis reveals a predominance of studies using only coarse categories of landscapes. Most landscape representations have been classed as “natural” or “urban”. Few studies were found to use subcategories within these groups. Generally, the natural landscapes gave a stronger positive health effect compared to urban landscapes. Urban landscapes were found to have a less positive and in some cases negative effect on health. Three main kinds of health effects have been identified in the study; short-term recovery from stress or mental fatigue, faster physical recovery from illness and long-term overall improvement on people's health and well-being.The study provides an overview of the relationships between health and landscapes arranged in an accessible format, identifying gaps in our knowledge requiring further research. The identification of quantifiable landscape attributes that affect health is seen as an important factor in enabling future landscape design to be of benefit to human health.
Article
We tested the hypothesis that exposure to nature stimuli restores depleted voluntary attention capacity and affects selective attention. Before viewing a video of either a natural or an urban environment, 28 subjects first completed a proofreading task to induce mental load and then performed Posner's attention-orienting task. After viewing the video they performed the attention-orienting task a second time. Cardiac inter-beat interval (IBI) was measured continuously to index autonomic arousal. Before the video both groups reacted faster to validly versus invalidly cued targets in the attention-orienting task. After the video, the urban group was still faster on validly versus invalidly cued trials, but in the nature group this difference disappeared. During the video the nature group had a longer mean IBI (lower heart rate) measured as the difference from baseline than the urban group. The results suggest that reduced autonomic arousal during the video engendered less spatially selective attention in the nature group compared to the urban group.
Article
Directed attention plays an important role in human information processing; its fatigue, in turn, has far-reaching consequences. Attention Restoration Theory provides an analysis of the kinds of experiences that lead to recovery from such fatigue. Natural environments turn out to be particularly rich in the characteristics necessary for restorative experiences. An integrative framework is proposed that places both directed attention and stress in the larger context of human-environment relationships.
The POMS (Profile of Mood States) was translated into Japanese, and reliability and validity of the Japanese edition was assessed on 354 healthy males aged 20 to 59 years (mean 42). The following findings were obtained. 1) Reliability coefficients (Cronbach's alpha) were 0.779-0.926 for six mood scales measured by the Japanese edition, i.e. "Depression-Dejection", "Vigor", "Anger-Hostility", "Fatigue", "Tension-Anxiety" and "Confusion." 2) Five factors were extracted by factor analysis for the 65 items of the POMS. "Vigor" and "Anger-Hostility" were solely explained by their respective factors, indicating that these two scales had the highest factorial validity. "Fatigue" had the second highest factorial validity; and "Tension-Anxiety" was third. "Confusion" and "Depression-Dejection" were related to the same one factor. 3) In 33 of the subjects, the scores for mood measured by the POMS were significantly correlated to ratings by a psychiatrist, indicating that the POMS had good criterion-related validity, except for "Anger-Hostility".
Article
Research and teaching in environmental health have centered on the hazardous effects of various environmental exposures, such as toxic chemicals, radiation, and biological and physical agents. However, some kinds of environmental exposures may have positive health effects. According to E.O. Wilson's "biophilia" hypothesis, humans are innately attracted to other living organisms. Later authors have expanded this concept to suggest that humans have an innate bond with nature more generally. This implies that certain kinds of contact with the natural world may benefit health. Evidence supporting this hypothesis is presented from four aspects of the natural world: animals, plants, landscapes, and wilderness. Finally, the implications of this hypothesis for a broader agenda for environmental health, encompassing not only toxic outcomes but also salutary ones, are discussed. This agenda implies research on a range of potentially healthful environmental exposures, collaboration among professionals in a range of disciplines from public health to landscape architecture to city planning, and interventions based on research outcomes.
Article
The study tested for the existence of a set of mood factors, replicated the factors, and determined their sensitivity to brief chemotherapy and psychotherapy. 5 moods were hypothesized, identified in 1 study, and replicated in 2 studies involving large groups of psychiatric outpatients. These moods were: Tension, Anger, Depression, Vigor, and Fatigue. 2 additional moods, Friendliness and Confusion, were identified but have not been confirmed. Evidence is presented for the factorial and concurrent validity of the mood factors and for their sensitivity to various treatment effects. A cross-study comparison is made of mood factors in the literature. The mood scales are thus shown to provide a useful method for assessing mood profiles in psychiatric outpatients. (19 ref.)
Article
The first portion of this paper describes a behavioral conception of the sign-process as developed from a general mediation theory of learning. The remainder is concerned with the problem of measuring meaning The development of a semantic differential as a general method of measuring meaning is described. It involves (a) the use of factor analysis to determine the number and nature of factors entering into semantic description and judgment, and (b) the selection of a set of specific scales corresponding to these factors." 118-item bibliography.
Article
Shinrin-yoku (walking and/or staying in forests in order to promote health) is a major form of relaxation in Japan; however, its effects have yet to be completely clarified. The aims of this study were: (1) to evaluate the psychological effects of shinrin-yoku in a large number of participants; and (2) to identify the factors related to these effects. Four hundred and ninety-eight healthy volunteers took part in the study. Surveys were conducted twice in a forest on the same day (forest day) and twice on a control day. Outcome measures were evaluated using the Multiple Mood Scale-Short Form (hostility, depression, boredom, friendliness, wellbeing and liveliness) and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory A-State Scale. Statistical analyses were conducted using analysis of variance and multiple regression analyses. Hostility (P<0.001) and depression (P<0.001) scores decreased significantly, and liveliness (P=0.001) scores increased significantly on the forest day compared with the control day. The main effect of environment was also observed with all outcomes except for hostility, and the forest environment was advantageous. Stress levels were shown to be related to the magnitude of the shinrin-yoku effect; the higher the stress level, the greater the effect. This study revealed that forest environments are advantageous with respect to acute emotions, especially among those experiencing chronic stress. Accordingly, shinrin-yoku may be employed as a stress reduction method, and forest environments can be viewed as therapeutic landscapes. Therefore, customary shinrin-yoku may help to decrease the risk of psychosocial stress-related diseases, and evaluation of the long-term effects of shinrin-yoku is warranted.
Article
The human Ether-a-go-go Related Gene (hERG) potassium channel is one of the major critical factors associated with QT interval prolongation and development of arrhythmia called Torsades de Pointes (TdP). It has become a growing concern of both regulatory agencies and pharmaceutical industries who invest substantial effort in the assessment of cardiac toxicity of drugs. The development of in silico tools to filter out potential hERG channel inhibitors in early stages of the drug discovery process is of considerable interest. Here, we describe binary classification models based on a large and diverse library of 495 compounds. The models combine pharmacophore-based GRIND descriptors with a support vector machine (SVM) classifier in order to discriminate between hERG blockers and nonblockers. Our models were applied at different thresholds from 1 to 40 microm and achieved an overall accuracy up to 94% with a Matthews coefficient correlation (MCC) of 0.86 ( F-measure of 0.90 for blockers and 0.95 for nonblockers). The model at a 40 microm threshold showed the best performance and was validated internally (MCC of 0.40 and F-measure of 0.57 for blockers and 0.81 for nonblockers, using a leave-one-out cross-validation). On an external set of 66 compounds, 72% of the set was correctly predicted ( F-measure of 0.86 and 0.34 for blockers and nonblockers, respectively). Finally, the model was also tested on a large set of hERG bioassay data recently made publicly available on PubChem ( http://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/assay/assay.cgi?aid=376) to achieve about 73% accuracy ( F-measure of 0.30 and 0.83 for blockers and nonblockers, respectively). Even if there is still some limitation in the assessment of hERG blockers, the performance of our model shows an improvement between 10% and 20% in the prediction of blockers compared to other methods, which can be useful in the filtering of potential hERG channel inhibitors.
Restorative environments Ergonomics of the thermal environment—Analytical determination and interpretation of thermal comfort using calculation of the PMV and PPD indices and local thermal comfort criteria
  • T Hartig
  • H Staats
Hartig, T., & Staats, H. (2003). Restorative environments. Journal of Environmen-tal Psychology, 23(2), 103–107. doi:10.1016/S0272-4944(02)00108-1 [special issue] ISO. (2005). Ergonomics of the thermal environment—Analytical determination and interpretation of thermal comfort using calculation of the PMV and PPD indices and local thermal comfort criteria. Switzerland: International Standard ISO7730:2005(E).
Selective attention and heart rate responses to natural and urban environments The restora-tive effects of viewing real forest landscapes: Based on a comparison with urban landscapes
  • K Laumann
  • T Garling
  • K M Stormark
  • J Lee
  • B J Park
  • Y Tsunetsugu
  • T Kagawa
  • Y Miyazaki
Laumann, K., Garling, T., & Stormark, K. M. (2003). Selective attention and heart rate responses to natural and urban environments. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 23(2), 125–134. doi:10.1016/S0272-4944(02)00110-X Lee, J., Park, B. J., Tsunetsugu, Y., Kagawa, T., & Miyazaki, Y. (2009). The restora-tive effects of viewing real forest landscapes: Based on a comparison with urban landscapes. Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research, 24(3), 227–234.
but not a city, increases human natural killer activity and expression of anti-cancer proteins
  • Visiting
  • Forest
Visiting a forest, but not a city, increases human natural killer activity and expression of anti-cancer proteins. International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology, 21(1), 117–127.
POMS(Kannjyoupurofi-rukennsa)nihonngobannnosakuseitosinnraiseioyobidatouseinokenntou [Production of the Japanese edition of profile of mood states (POMS): Assess-ment of reliability and validity]
  • K Yokoyama
  • S Araki
  • N Kawakami
  • T Takeshita
Yokoyama, K, Araki, S., Kawakami, N., & Takeshita, T. (1990). POMS(Kannjyoupurofi-rukennsa)nihonngobannnosakuseitosinnraiseioyobidatouseinokenntou [Production of the Japanese edition of profile of mood states (POMS): Assess-ment of reliability and validity]. Japanese Journal of Public Health, 37(11), 913–918 (in Japanese).