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A Garden at Your Doorstep May Reduce Stress - Private Gardens as Restorative Environments in the City

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Abstract

Can gardens surrounding residential homes in cities help to create a less stressful everyday environment? This article is based on a study in which 953 randomly selected persons in nine Swedish cities answered a questionnaire concerning their experiences of their own health status and access to and use of gardens at home. The results show that having access to a garden has a significant positive impact on stress. There is also a significant positive relationship between frequency of garden visits and stress prevention. The study also shows that the amount of verdure in the garden is crucial to its restorative quality. The results indicate that verdant gardens in the city may play an important part in offering restorative environments, irrespective of the citizens' socio-economic background, gender or age.

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... This novel and comprehensive focus had not been undertaken by any other environmental health studies found in the literature. This study therefore also assumed the broad definition of health promulgated by the World Health Organization (WHO) which is that health is a "state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity" (Kingsley, 2009;Stigsdotter & Grahn, 2004;Frumkin, 2001). In addition to community gardeners' views, this study examined community garden coordinators' perspectives on some aspects of community gardening and health, their management practices, and community garden characteristics, in order to establish a context for community gardeners' views and provide some comparison to them. ...
... Mood enhancement, tranquility/relaxation and fulfillment (all indicating improved emotional states), as well as quiet reflection, improved concentration and enhanced (though unburdened) mental activity (which all indicate improved mental states) were typical findings in horticulture therapy group settings devised for psychiatric patients and other vulnerable groups (Rappe et al., 2008;Rappe, 2005;Lewis, 1995;Perrins-Margalis et al., 2000;Sempik, 2008;Brown & Grant, 9 2005;Gonzalez et al., 2009) and among private and community gardeners (Dow, 2006;Fieldhouse, 2003;Kingsley et al., 2009;Milligan et al., 2004;Parr, 2007;Thompson et al., 2007;Seller et al., 1999;Waliczek et al., 1996;Wakefield et al., 2007;Stigsdotter & Grahn, 2004;Unruh, 2004). Moreover, one study among community gardeners was a randomized experiment that measured cortisol in saliva and used a mood rating scale. ...
... These results mirror aforementioned findings in the literature among social and therapeutic horticulture (STH) participants and community gardeners. For mental abilities, these findings included improved concentration, enhanced leisurely mental activity and quiet reflection, and for emotional well-being they included mood enhancement, relaxation, and a sense of fulfilment (Rappe et al., 2008;Rappe, 2005;Lewis, 1995;Margalis et al., 2000;Sempik, 2008;Brown & Grant, 2005;Gonzalez et al., 2009;Kingsley et al., 2009;Milligan et al., 2004;Parr, 2007;Thompson et al., 2007;Waliczek et al., 1996;Wakefield et al., 2007;Stigsdotter & Grahn, 2004;Unruh, 2004). ...
... One such option was to turn to nature. The natural environment plays a main role in human health (Stigsdotter & Grahn, 2004). Gardens and green areas are beneficial to health (Ulrich, 1993(Ulrich, , 2001. ...
... Gardens and green areas are beneficial to health (Ulrich, 1993(Ulrich, , 2001. Stigsdotter and Grahn (2004) stated that gardens have an impact on stress by acting to prevent it. ...
... Stress can be beneficial in the short term but over the long term, it is harmful and cause serious illness if the body does not have a chance to rest (Atkinson & et al., 1996). Constantly high levels of muscle tone, sweating, heart rate, adrenaline and reduced melatonin levels results in imbalances, which can lead to feelings of helplessness and lack of control over one's life (Stigsdotter & Grahn, 2004). On a physical level, our reaction to danger is similar to our ancestor's reaction. ...
Article
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Stress is an important factor affecting diseases found in modern societies. It can be harmful to both body and mind. Generally, humans can control their stress for short periods. In addition, the body has a relationship with the mind where stress enhances the release of cortisol which affects memory and memory retrieval. There are solutions to prevent stress and its effects and it is important to investigate stress reduction, especially in new city developments. This study reviews selected articles related to stress, especially urban stress and ways to prevent it. After defining what stress is, the effects of stress on the human body and mind were reviewed. Next, ways to reduce stress based on the importance of nature and nature’s power of restoration were discussed. Finally, the study investigates the relationship between stress and cognitive function, with the determination that reducing stress affects viable cognitive function.
... Private gardens were mentioned as an important leisure space by their owners in the UK (Bhatti and Church, 2004), New Zealand (Freeman et al., 2012) and the US (Clayton, 2007). Further, having access to a garden had a positive impact on the sensitivity to stress (Stigsdotter and Grahn, 2003). The restorative potential of private gardens however, has not received sufficient attention in prior research. ...
... Two structural characteristics of the garden contributed to the restorative potential of private gardens: the garden's size and the number of natural elements in the garden. This is in line with prior research where the size of the green space, the amount of grass, trees and bushes were positively related to restoration (Nordh et al., 2011(Nordh et al., , 2009Stigsdotter and Grahn, 2003;Tenngart Ivarsson and Hagerhall, 2008). A garden's design can therefore be considered important to optimize the restorative effects gained through it. ...
Article
There is a large body of knowledge on the restorative potential of public green space, but studies on private gardens are rare. This study was aimed at exploring perceived restorativeness of private gardens and its predictors. In an online survey, 856 respondents rated the perceived restorativeness of private gardens, attached outdoor green spaces and living rooms with green elements. Characteristics of the garden, sociodemographic data, personal characteristics, and the relationship between user and garden were surveyed. Results indicated that the private garden scored highest on perceived restorativeness. A multiple regression analysis explained 52.2% of the variance of the perceived restorativeness of private gardens. The garden-user relationship qualified as the strongest predictor of the restorative potential. We suggest considering the significance of affective bonds in designing restorative private gardens.
... Van den Berg and Custers (2011) show that short-term stress (measured by salivary cortisol levels and self-reporting) is reduced significantly more by a gardening activity than by a control activity such as recreational reading. Stigsdotter and Grahn (2004) present evidence that domestic gardens reduce stress levels of their users. On the other hand, everyday experience suggests that a garden may constitute a stressor in itself. ...
... In line with previous research (Cervinka et al., 2016;Stigsdotter & Grahn, 2004;van den Berg et al., 2010), our results show that both domestic and allotment gardeners experience their gardens as highly restorative, as is evidenced by the high levels of self-reported restoration and perceived restorativeness. ...
Article
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In the context of increasing urbanization, gardens as a form of urban greenspace are an important resource for the psychological restoration of urban dwellers, while underpinning urban biodiversity and delivering ecosystem services. However, the links between restoration, garden type and biodiversity are not fully understood. In this interdisciplinary study we aimed to identify how the self-reported restoration of gardeners was related to three factors: garden type (domestic vs. allotment gardens), number of plant species in the garden (a dimension of biodiversity) and garden-related stress for gardeners. We analyzed cross-sectional data of approx. 300 leisure gardeners in the city of Zurich, Switzerland, using an analysis of spatial autocorrelation, t-tests of differences of means between garden types and a structural equation model (SEM). The results indicated that being an allotment gardener was associated with higher levels of restoration compared to domestic gardeners. The SEM suggested that restoration was positively related to the number of plant species by way of the perceived restorativeness of the garden. Garden-related stress or negative affect occurred among a number of gardeners and was negatively related to the restoration outcome. This suggests that the negative effects of gardening should be considered in future studies on greenspace and restoration. In the face of shrinking urban greenspace, our study suggests that urban planners could better utilize the benefits of urban gardens, e.g. to reduce income-related health inequalities by providing gardens to residents with lower socio-economic status or to address public health and ecological issues by promoting plant-species rich gardens.
... Whilst the effect of domestic gardens upon mood or anxiety remains uncertain [21,22], there is support for gardens reducing stress [21,[23][24][25][26][27]. It seems likely, however, that contact with nature in domestic gardens leads to both hedonic (positive emotional states) and eudaimonic (meaning of life) wellbeing benefits associated with a sense of nature connectedness [28]. ...
... Whilst there are fewer studies specifically focussing on the role of gardens; our study supports the notion of health benefits accruing from gardens. The strongest evidence from existing literature concerns their psychological effects through restorativeness and stress reduction [21,[23][24][25][26], although a recent review of gardening was able to support a link with physical and mental health, and social wellbeing [29]. ...
Article
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Background: There is a growing recognition of the health benefits of the natural environment. Whilst domestic gardens account for a significant proportion of greenspace in urban areas, few studies, and no population level studies, have investigated their potential health benefits. With gardens offering immediate interaction with nature on our doorsteps, we hypothesise that garden size will affect general health-with smaller domestic gardens associated with poorer health. Methods: A small area ecological design was undertaken using two separate analyses based on data from the 2001 and 2011 UK census. The urban population of England was classified into 'quintiles' based on deprivation (Index of Multiple Deprivation) and average garden size (Generalised Land Use Database). Self-reported general health was obtained from the UK population census. We controlled for greenspace exposure, population density, air pollution, house prices, smoking, and geographic location. Models were stratified to explore the associations. Results: Smaller domestic gardens were associated with a higher prevalence of self-reported poor health. The adjusted prevalence ratio of poor self-reported general health for the quintile with smallest average garden size was 1.13 (95% CI 1.12-1.14) relative to the quintile with the largest gardens. Additionally, the analysis suggested that income-related inequalities in health were greater in areas with smaller gardens. The adjusted prevalence ratio for poor self-reported general health for the most income deprived quintile compared against the least deprived was 1.72 (95% CI 1.64-1.79) in the areas with the smallest gardens, compared to 1.31 (95% CI 1.21-1.42) in areas with the largest gardens. Conclusions: Residents of areas with small domestic gardens have the highest levels of poor health/health inequality related to income deprivation. Although causality needs to be confirmed, the implications for new housing are that adequate garden sizes may be an important means of reducing socioeconomic health inequalities. These findings suggest that the trend for continued urban densification and new housing with minimal gardens could have adverse impacts on health.
... The personal benefits of interaction with urban nature include improved cognitive functioning [19,20], reduced mental fatigue [21], increased social interactions [22,23], opportunities for reflection [24], and stress amelioration [25]. Studies linking population health with green environments demonstrate positive associations between neighbourhood green space and measures of health status [26,27], reduced odds of coronary heart disease, respiratory disease, depression and anxiety [28], and increased longevity [29]. ...
Article
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With increasing interest in the use of urban green space to promote human health, there is a need to understand the extent to which park users conceptualize these places as a resource for health and well-being. This study sought to examine park users' own reasons for and benefits from green space usage and compare these with concepts and constructs in existing person-environment-health theories and models of health. Conducted in 13 public green spaces in Sheffield, UK, we undertook a qualitative content analysis of 312 park users' responses to open-ended interview questions and identified a breadth, depth and salience of visit motivators and derived effects. Findings highlight a discrepancy between reasons for visiting and derived effects from the use of urban green space. Motivations emphasized walking, green space qualities, and children. Derived effects highlighted relaxation, positive emotions within the self and towards the place, and spiritual well-being. We generate a taxonomy of motivations and derived effects that could facilitate operationalization within empirical research and articulate a conceptual framework linking motivators to outcomes for investigating green space as a resource for human health and well-being.
... Multiple dimensions of health respond positively to the availability of nearby nature including objective measures of the physiological effects of stress (e.g. Ulrich et al., 1991; Parsons et al., 1998), self-reported sensitivity to stress (Stigsdotter and Grahn, 2004), surgical recovery time (Ulrich, 1984), mental fatigue (e.g. Kuo, 2001), cognitive functioning in children (e.g. ...
Chapter
In urban environments, perhaps more so than in any other setting, people and nature must coexist in close, and sometimes uncomfortable, proximity. With half of the world’s human population living in cities and a continued decline of biodiversity in the wider landscape, urban nature plays an increasingly important role in creating cities that are both ecologically and socially sustainable. However, understanding the value of urban green spaces as a resource requires an integration of several, rarely overlapping, approaches to evaluating and managing these places.
... The further from home you have to walk to find the closest open green area, the more seldom you will visit such an area. And the more often people visit such places, the less frequently they feel stressed, irritated and fatigued (Stigsdotter and Grahn 2004;Grahn and Stigsdotter 2003). A critical distance seems to be 300 meters from home to the nearest open green urban area. ...
Chapter
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This paper focuses on how we may balance the health functions of nature and landscape values in development planning. The concept “balance” implies discussing measures to mitigate, minimize and compensate for negative impacts. In this context, negative impact is understood as a disturbance by development projects of resources that improve people’s health. The resources may be both existing nature and landscape values and potential, as yet undeveloped, landscape qualities. The health functions are defined using scientific studies in environmental medicine and environmental psychology. This paper presents cases that have applied such scientific results to the planning of housing and infrastructure in two development projects in southwestern Sweden, the towns of Lomma and Åkarp. Evaluations of health functions in these projects constitute an important part of the process of designing and analyzing impacts, and the process of negotiating mitigation measures as conditions for permits granted by the municipalities, the county administration and the government of Sweden. In the long run, this research will hopefully lead to a growing awareness among the public, developers and politicians about improving the health aspect as a parameter for sustainable development.
... However, these effects are partially offset by the availability of gardens, with 56.4% of respondents without access to a garden describing their health as fair/poor, compared with 37.3% among those with access to a garden (Macintyre et al. 2003). Having access to and visiting one's garden frequently were both associated with lower selfreported sensitivity to stress among people across nine Swedish cities (Stigsdotter & Grahn 2004). ...
... In relation to health and quality of life promotion, which is the focus of this chapter, studies show that green and open spaces closer to home reduce stress with a lower likelihood of obesity being associated with access to a garden and shorter distances to green areas from the dwelling (Nielsen & Hansen, 2007). Th e health impact of private gardening (Stigsdotter & Grahn, 2004) has also been studied. Green space in people's living environment has also been examined to see whether social contacts are an underlying mechanism of the relationship between green space and health. ...
... As concluded by research having a garden of your own or a garden immediately adjacent to your apartment has a significantly positive impact on stress. With respect to stress reduction, having your own verdant garden seems to be more important than visiting urban open green spaces [15] Findings from several studies have converged in indicating that simply viewing certain types of nature and garden scenes significantly ameliorates stress within only five minutes or less. [16]. ...
Conference Paper
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Introduction: India is an agriculture based country and farming is linked to each one of us either in our childhood memories or as a hobby of gardening. Due to rising health issues in the city, the current trend today is to promote farming as an activity in cities by encouraging community gardens that act as healthy recreational spaces along with source of organic vegetables and assist in sustainable development of the city. Aim: The aim of this paper is to explore the concepts of community gardens, its multi-dimensional benefits to the urban people, the issues and ways to promote community gardens in India. Approach: The approach is to conduct an extensive literature study of gardens and community participation. The study shall help in understanding the benefits of such gardens in cities. Few case studies explore the elements and ways to organize the gardens and its feasibility in Indian context. Result: The research helps us to understand the role of the community gardens, the elements and models to organize such gardens and the tangible and intangible benefits the community can achieve after successfully organizing such gardens in India.
... Likewise, some continuous demographic variables for participants such as income and age were supplied as ordinal groupings to conform to Ministry of Health confidentiality requirements, leading to a loss of precision. In addition, the study did not include private green spaces such as backyard gardens, which have been found to be important for distress reduction (Stigsdotter and Grahn (2004)). Nor did this study separately evaluate types or quality of greenery (e.g., native vegetation). ...
... With respect to stress reduction, having your own verdant garden seems to be more important than visiting urban open green spaces. [21] In high-rise apartment buildings resident are being encouraged to create green terraces and vertical gardens to achieve that proximity to the greens. Container gardens and hanging gardens are often added as visual treats that contribute to the health of the user. ...
Conference Paper
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Landscaped spaces or " Unbuilt Environment " in an urban land provide lot of benefits to the citizens of the community. A good landscape of the community open spaces, adds to its restorative and therapeutic values leading to health. The aim of this paper is to find out the effects of urban landscaped spaces and strategies, on the health of the residents, community and the environment.. An extensive literature study helps to understand the " determinant of health " and how these are approached through the open spaces. The study also explores its effects on the mental, physical and social wellbeing of a person, family and community. It discusses the landscape features like gardens, public plaza, community gardens, sports facilities and play fields with their effects on the health of an individual. Through an online survey the reactions of the people to the landscape they live in was studied. The survey and the literature study come to conclude that landscape urban greens have a positive influence, on the health of individuals and must be treated innovatively for the benefit of all.
... With regards to 'rest and restitution,' the results show that 'green ground cover' and 'eye-level greenery' were preferred, as also found in previous research (e.g. Nordh et al., 2009;Nordh, 2010;Nordh & Østby, 2013;Stigsdotter & Grahn, 2003a). The presence of 'eye-level greenery' and providing 'enclosed niches' may support the ability to escape from the city pulse which fits well with the ART and the Prospect/refuge theories which describe how people need places that provide them with a feeling of being away (Kaplan, 1995) and the possibility to hide (Appleton, 1975). ...
Thesis
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The densification of cities has led to a change in the way people live in the industrialised world. Sedentary work and physical inactivity may be related to the increasing prevalence of life style diseases such as obesity, diabetes II and stress related illnesses. A number of studies have suggested that urban green space (UGS) can have a positive effect on human health. However, the various types of UGS may support different types of use and may have different effects on health. Especially the role of pocket parks is unknown. The main hypothesis of this thesis is that pocket parks are a latent resource in promoting human health in dense city areas. Nine pocket parks in Copenhagen were investigated. In study I, the use and users of the pocket parks were studied based on an on-site questionnaire survey and observations. In study II, the association between the users’ perceived restorativeness (measured on the perceived restorativeness scale, PRS) and the characteristics of the pocket parks (the perceived sensory dimensions, PSD) were investigated. In this relation, the preference for the PDS´s were identified for users who reported average levels of stress and for the 25% who reported high levels of stress. Study III investigated how a number of specific features within the pocket parks were related to the two most preferred types of use. Finally, study IV investigated users’ perceptions of a pocket park before and after a redesign. The results of study I show that the main reasons for using the pocket parks are ‘socialising’ and ‘rest and restitution’. Factors such as distance from home, distance travelled and the context in which the users use the pocket parks influence frequency of use and the reason for use. Study II shows that also pocket parks with a limited amount of greenery may have restorative potential. The results of study II furthermore show that users with an average level of stress prefer the PSDs ‘social’ and ‘serene,’ but for the 25% most stressed users ‘nature’ becomes important in addition to ‘social’ and ‘serene’. The results of study III show that for the type of use called ‘socialising’ in pocket parks, it is important to include features which support the possibility of gathering, which may enhance the feeling of belonging to a certain space. Green surroundings are preferred for the type of use called ‘rest and restitution,’ and especially enclosed niches where people can feel safe and undisturbed are preferred. The findings from study IV add to the findings from study III with increased knowledge on features supporting ‘rest and restitution’. Especially variation in terrain and plantings as well as the experience of sun, shade and lights are important for ‘rest and restitution’. The results of this thesis add valuable knowledge to the existing research on UGS. It may be useful in future planning processes, thereby contributing to increase health promoting UGS in dense city areas.
... En universidades del norte de Europa llevan tiempo analizando la relación entre la infraestructura verde y la relajación anti stress, encontrando evidencias muy fuertes (Grahn & Stigsdotter, 2003, 2010Stigsdotter & Grahn, 2004). Además, se trata de un sistema para combatir depresiones y para promover la salud en general (Stigsdotter, 2005). ...
Article
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Green infrastructure is emerging as a territorial planning tool at all levels (local, regional, national) and offers a huge opportunity to develop approaches and proposals given the many elements that comprise it and its multifunctionality. One of its multiple simultaneous functions is the improvement of public health and well-being, especially in urban environment where more than 50% of world population live. The aim of this article is highlight the great importance of this strategy within the context of improving the health, underlining different lines of work, both direct (cognitive or/and physical improvement...) and indirect (local environment improvement). Furthermore, the characteristics of the weighty elements in this relationship are analyzed so that they can be used in new projects of urban green infrastructure.
... En universidades del norte de Europa llevan tiempo analizando la relación entre la infraestructura verde y la relajación anti stress, encontrando evidencias muy fuertes (Grahn & Stigsdotter, 2003, 2010Stigsdotter & Grahn, 2004). Además, se trata de un sistema para combatir depresiones y para promover la salud en general (Stigsdotter, 2005). ...
Chapter
Full-text available
Green infrastructure is emerging as a territorial planning tool at all levels (local, regional, national) and offers a huge opportunity to develop approaches and proposals given the many elements that comprise it and its multifunctionality. One of its multiple simultaneous functions is the improvement of public health and well-being, especially in urban environment where more than 50% of world population live. The aim of this article is highlight the great importance of this strategy within the context of improving the health, underlining different lines of work, both direct (cognitive or/and physical improvement...) and indirect (local environment improvement). Furthermore, the characteristics of the weighty elements in this relationship are analyzed so that they can be used in new projects of urban green infrastructure.
... This study refers to values as non-economic values mostly defined in the sociological disciplines. Home gardens have affirmed horticultural values (Behe et al. 2003;Cerra and Crain 2016;Chengyan et al. 2011;Hurd Brian H. 2006;Majumdar and Selvan 2018), cultural values (Bhatti and Church 2004;Christie 2004;Kenney 2000), environmental or ecological values (Hurd 2006;Hurd Brian H. 2006;Jaganmohan et al. 2012;Yue et al. 2011) microclimate enhancement (Widiastuti et al. 2016), health values (Soga et al. 2017;Thompson 2018;Stigsdotter 2004;van Lier et al. 2017) and hedonistic values (Bhatti 2014;Cruz-Crdenas and Oleas 2018). They have proved to be beneficial in improving a city's sustainability (Haq 2011;Rostami et al. 2013). ...
... The garden has long been considered an integral part of health and well-being (Gerlach-Spriggs et al. 1998). Access to a garden has been shown to reduce self-reported sensitivity to stress (Stigsdotter and Grahn 2004), while lack of access is associated with increased self-reported levels of depression and anxiety (Macintyre et al. 2003). While we are not aware of any studies that directly explore the contribution of wildlife to quality of life, a few studies do include insight into this question (Vandruff et al. 1995, Clergeau et al. 2001. ...
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Asuminen on jokapäiväistä, arkista toimintaa. Mitä asumiselta voi odottaa? Parhaimmillaan asunto, oma koti ympäristöineen, helpottaa arjen sujumista. Koti tarjoaa turvasataman, oman paikan, pysyvyyden ja suvereniteetin. Koti luo mahdollisuuden yksityisyyteen mutta myös yhdessäoloon. Mutta koti voi olla vähemmän kotoinen. Asuinympäristöt, eritoten asuinpihat, saattavat muodostua naapurustokonfliktien areenoiksi. Odotukset idyllisestä pientaloasumisesta sekä kylämäisestä yhteisöllisyydestä saattavat kääntyä taisteluksi pihasta ja tilasta, oikeudesta omaan kotiin ja omaan päätöksentekoon. Tässä artikkelissa pohditaan asumisen ulkotilojen merkityksiä. Tarkastelu pohjautuu Teknillisen korkeakoulun Arkkitehtuurin laitoksella tehtyyn diplomityöhön ”Koti pihalla”.
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Amidst today's energy-economic crisis, the introduction of green spaces in a high-rise building is one way of reducing building's cooling load, which at present relies mainly on air conditioning. This paper evaluates users’ perceptions and expectations in three different landscape gardens on a 21-storey high-rise office building in Penang, Malaysia. The questionnaire focuses on comfort level, landscape preferences as well as expectations and use of space. The low usage factor was attributed to the unawareness of the gardens’ existence, low accessibility and users’ preference of staying indoors. The three gardens are significantly different in its overall comfort level, thermal comfort parameters, attractions and number of visits.
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activity, obesity and wellbeing relation to neighbourhood satisfaction, physical Recreational values of the natural environment in http://jech.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/62/4/e2 Updated information and services can be found at: These include: References http://jech.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/62/4/e2#BIBL This article cites 35 articles, 5 of which can be accessed free at: Rapid responses http://jech.bmj.com/cgi/eletter-submit/62/4/e2 You can respond to this article at: service Email alerting the top right corner of the article Receive free email alerts when new articles cite this article -sign up in the box at Notes http://journals.bmj.com/cgi/reprintform To order reprints of this article go to: http://journals.bmj.com/subscriptions/ go to: Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health To subscribe to on
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The Swedish government considers good public health to be the most important resource for future sustainable development. Research results referenced in Sweden's new public health bill show that high quality verdant environments may help promote health in urban populations. Over the course of just one generation, the city has become the everyday living environment of most Swedes; it is in cities we live, work, go to school and spend much of our leisure time, and finding locations for green areas in cities is today not uncomplicated. This article aims to describe, develop and reflect on the research results that researcher at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences have obtained concerning the relationship between people's experienced health and access to open green spaces in cities. As used here, the expression urban green spaces is a comprehensive term for all green areas in the city: parks, nature areas near population centers, green open spaces, gardens, apartment courtyards, school gardens, workplace gardens, etc. On the basis of the research results, urban green spaces, are viewed as a health-promoting element of city planning. The purpose of health-promoting environments is to offer visitors rest or activities that help to promote their health over time. In view of the current public health bill, the Swedish Government's official communication about a strategy for sustainable development and the environmental quality objectives, it is imperative to try to apply the research results in the context of city planning. This article presents design theories based on the research results. These theories address how urban green spaces can be designed and planned as city planning elements of importance to public health. In this way, they may be used by practitioners as tools to promote health through design and urban planning, i.e. evidence-based design and planning.
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The aim of this population-based study was to investigate associations between recreational values of the close natural environment and neighbourhood satisfaction, physical activity, obesity and wellbeing. Data from a large public health survey distributed as a mailed questionnaire in suburban and rural areas of southern Sweden were used (N = 24,819; 59% participation rate). Geocoded residential addresses and the geographical information system technique were used to assess objectively five recreational values of the close natural environment: serene, wild, lush, spacious and culture. On average, a citizen of the Scania region, inner city areas excluded, only had access to 0.67 recreational values within 300 metres distance from their residence. The number of recreational values near the residence was strongly associated with neighbourhood satisfaction and physical activity. The effect on satisfaction was especially marked among tenants and the presence of recreational values was associated with low or normal body mass index in this group. A less marked positive association with vitality among women was observed. No evident effect on self-rated health was detectable. Immediate access to natural environments with high recreational values was rare in the study population and was distributed in an inequitable manner. Moreover, such access was associated with a positive assessment of neighbourhood satisfaction and time spent on physical activity, which can be expected to reduce obesity and increase vitality by having a buffering effect on stress.
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... of workplaces than do comparable groups with views of built environments, and ... by emphasizing the inclusion of characteristics and opportunities in the environment that re ... the following general guidelines are proposed for creating supportive healthcare environments: • Foster ...
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All over the world there is an increasing interest in research results showing the impact of the physical environment on people's health and well-being. The realization that good design, both indoors and outdoors, not only generates functional efficiency but also strengthens and improves health processes has given rise to a new branch of architecture, called Design and Health (Dilani, 2001). Knowledge and awareness of how good design as well as bad design may influence people's well-being is increasing among architects as well as among interior decorators and landscape architects. An expression of design and health in landscape architecture is to be found in the movement around healing gardens, i.e. gardens that in different ways may influence the visitor in a positive way (Cooper Marcus & Barnes, 1999). In Sweden today, the concept of healing has several connotations, some quite concrete, others more spiritual and mental. Generally speaking, however, healing may be said to be a process that promotes overall well-being (Cooper Marcus & Barnes, 1999). In medical anthropology the individual's personal, subjective experience of recovery is also emphasized (Janzen, 2002). It is in other words equally important that the illness is cured in a purely medical respect and that the individual experiences a personal feeling of recovery. Is it, then, possible for a garden to be anything else than healing? Is not the aspect of healing woven into the very concept of garden? Myths all over the world depict the garden as an enclosed and safe place where one takes refuge to find shelter, comfort, and relief from sorrow and pain (Prest, 1988;
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Records on recovery after cholecystectomy of patients in a suburban Pennsylvania hospital between 1972 and 1981 were examined to determine whether assignment to a room with a window view of a natural setting might have restorative influences. Twenty-three surgical patients assigned to rooms with windows looking out on a natural scene had shorter postoperative hospital stays, received fewer negative evaluative comments in nurses' notes, and took fewer potent analgesics than 23 matched patients in similar rooms with windows facing a brick building wall.
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The aims of the study were to assess the effects of light on the production of stress hormones, classroom performance, body growth, and sick leave, of school children. About 90 children were investigated in their school environment for a duration of one school year. The children were situated in four classrooms differing in respect to the access to natural daylight and artificial fluorescent light. The results indicated the existence of a systematic seasonal variation with more stress hormones in summer than in winter. The children situated in the one classroom lacking both natural daylight and fluorescent daylight tubes demonstrated a marked deviation from this pattern. High levels of morning cortisol were associated with sociability, while moderate or low levels seemed to promote individual concentration. Annual body growth was smallest for the children with the highest levels of morning cortisol. Possibly, the production of cortisol had some influence on sick leave. It may be concluded, that windowless classrooms should be avoided for permanent use.
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Describes the psychological impact of wilderness experiences (WEs), summarizing findings from previous research on actual wilderness-training programs. These programs are designed to enhance the participants' feelings of self-sufficiency and self-reliance, provide survival skills, and develop sensitivity to and awareness of nature. The evaluation of such a program, the Outdoor Challenge Research Program, shows that enduring changes in self-esteem can result from WEs for a variety of different populations. Participants' responses to questions regarding the beneficial aspects of the WE can be grouped into general areas involving situational stress; enjoyment; fascination; perceptual changes; and appreciation of tranquility, privacy, and feelings of self-confidence and pride in personal accomplishment. Participants' reactions to returning to civilization are also described. Areas of theoretical interest and the emergence of psychological benefits in WEs are discussed. It is concluded that restorative environments of any type involve 4 critical factors for individuals: being away, fascination or interest, coherence of an alternative environment of considerable scope, and compatibility across domains of human functioning. (52 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Author's Note: This article benefited greatly from the many improvements in organization, expression, and content made by Rachel Kaplan, and the many suggestions concerning consistency, clarity, and accuracy made by Terry Hartig. Thanks also to the SESAME group for providing a supportive environment for exploring many of the themes discussed here. The project was funded, in part, by USDA Forest Service, North Central Experiment Station, Urban Forestry Unit Co-operative Agreements. Abstract An analysis of the underlying similarities between the Eastern meditation tradition and attention restoration theory (ART) provides a basis for an expanded framework for studying directed attention. The focus of the analysis is the active role the individual can play in the preservation and recovery of the directed attention capacity. Two complementary strategies are presented which can help individuals more effectively manage their attentional resource. One strategy involves avoiding unnecessary costs in terms of expenditure of directed attention. The other involves enhancing the effect of restorative opportunities. Both strategies are hypothesized to be more effective if one gains generic knowledge, self knowledge and specific skills. The interplay between a more active form of mental involvement and the more passive approach of meditation appear to have far-reaching ramifications for managing directed attention. Research on mental restoration has focused on the role of the environment, and especially the natural environment. Such settings have been shown to reduce both stress and directed attention fatigue (DAF) (Hartig & Evans, 1993). Far less emphasis, however, has been placed on the possibility of active participation by the individual in need of recovery. A major purpose of this paper is to explore the potential of this mostly neglected component of the restorative process.
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Stress and stress-related illnesses, as reflected in medical records, have increased dramatically among adults and children in Western societies. A growing part of the budget for medical service in Sweden is used for individuals suffering from different stress-related illnesses such as burnout syndrome, insomnia and fatigue, depression, feelings of panic, etc. In this paper, we present results from a study in which 953 randomly selected individuals in nine Swedish cities answered a questionnaire about their health and their use of different urban open green spaces in and close to the city.The results indicate that city landscape planning may affect the health of town-dwellers. Statistically significant relationships were found between the use of urban open green spaces and self-reported experiences of stress – regardless of the informant's age, sex and socio-economic status. The results suggest that the more often a person visits urban open green spaces, the less often he or she will report stress-related illnesses. The same pattern is shown when time spent per week in urban open green spaces is measured.The distance to public urban open green spaces seems to be of decisive importance, as is access to a garden, in the form of a private garden or a green yard immediately adjacent to, for instance, an apartment building. People do not usually compensate for lack of green environments in their own residential area with more visits to public parks or urban forests.According to our results, laying out more green areas close to apartment houses, and making these areas more accessible, could make for more restorative environments. Outdoor areas that provide environments free from demands and stress, and that are available as part of everyday life, could have significant positive effects on the health of town-dwellers in Sweden. This may also apply to other Western societies.
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We studied physical fitness and risk of all-cause and cause-specific mortality in 10,224 men and 3120 women who were given a preventive medical examination. Physical fitness was measured by a maximal treadmill exercise test. Average follow-up was slightly more than 8 years, for a total of 110,482 person-years of observation. There were 240 deaths in men and 43 deaths in women. Age-adjusted all-cause mortality rates declined across physical fitness quintiles from 64.0 per 10,000 person-years in the least-fit men to 18.6 per 10,000 person-years in the most-fit men (slope, -4.5). Corresponding values for women were 39.5 per 10,000 person-years to 8.5 per 10,000 person-years (slope, -5.5). These trends remained after statistical adjustment for age, smoking habit, cholesterol level, systolic blood pressure, fasting blood glucose level, parental history of coronary heart disease, and follow-up interval. Lower mortality rates in higher fitness categories also were seen for cardiovascular disease and cancer of combined sites. Attributable risk estimates for all-cause mortality indicated that low physical fitness was an important risk factor in both men and women. Higher levels of physical fitness appear to delay all-cause mortality primarily due to lowered rates of cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Statistical Yearbook of Sweden
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