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Abstract

This study investigated the impact of nature experience on affect and cognition. We randomly assigned sixty participants to a 50-min walk in either a natural or an urban environment in and around Stanford, California. Before and after their walk, participants completed a series of psychological assessments of affective and cognitive functioning. Compared to the urban walk, the nature walk resulted in affective benefits (decreased anxiety, rumination, and negative affect, and preservation of positive affect) as well as cognitive benefits (increased working memory performance). This study extends previous research by demonstrating additional benefits of nature experience on affect and cognition through assessments of anxiety, rumination, and a complex measure of working memory (operation span task). These findings further our understanding of the influence of relatively brief nature experiences on affect and cognition, and help to lay the foundation for future research on the mechanisms underlying these effects. Available here: http://authors.elsevier.com/a/1QdlwcUG4~B3U

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... Research suggests that exposure to natural environments fosters relaxation and mental well-being [39,40]. This has been leveraged in multiple projects (e.g. ...
... According to this theory, this activation could originate in the evolution of humankind, because grassy environments with trees were usually a better source of food and shelter. Based upon this line of argumentation, research also suggests that people have an intrinsic preference for natural landscapes, in particular natural greenspace, when compared to urban landscapes [40,44]. However, it has been shown, that not a real natural environment is required to cause these effects. ...
... Thus, design principles DP1 and DP2 appear to be effective strategies to foster relaxation in individuals and thus, are beneficial for the instrumental value while also contributing to an increase in the experiential value. This supports existing studies regarding color [36,37] and nature [39,40,44] perception as well as applications [16,19,41] already relying on the calming effect of nature. ...
Preprint
BACKGROUND Slow-paced breathing trainings (6 breaths/min) improve physiological and psychological well-being by inducing relaxation characterized through an increased heart rate variability (HRV). However, classical breathing trainings have a limited target group and retention rates are very low. While a gamified approach may help to overcome these challenges, it is crucial to enable them in a scalable context (e.g., smartphone-only) and ensure a balance between experiential (user experience) and instrumental (increased HRV) values. Nevertheless, well-founded design principles (DPs) that lead to this outcome remain largely unexplored, especially in the context of mobile applications. OBJECTIVE This study aims to identify and evaluate DPs for mobile gamified biofeedback-guided breathing trainings that balance between instrumental and experiential values. METHODS Prior work was used to derive informed DPs, which, in turn, were applied to build the breathing training application Breeze. Then, through a pretest (N=3), mobile-specific design principles (M-DPs) have been formulated and Breeze adjusted accordingly. The DPs were then qualitatively evaluated in a pilot study (N=16). To ascertain that the instrumental values are maintained despite the introduction of gamified elements, recordings of breathing rates and HRV derived measures (e.g., RMSSD) were collected. For each participant, the recordings were then compared during baseline, a standard breathing training deployed on a smartphone, and Breeze. RESULTS Overall, 5 DPs were identified that propose to use cool colors, natural settings, tightly incorporated gamified elements, game mechanics that reflect physiological measures, and a light narrative and progression model. Moreover, 2 M-DPs were proposed that focus on the visual accentuation and alignment of guidance and biofeedback elements. Also, Breeze was effective as it resulted in a slow-paced breathing rate of 6 breaths per minute, which, in turn, resulted in significantly increased HRV measures compared to baseline (P<.001 for RMSSD). CONCLUSIONS The implemented DPs have a positive resonance in respondents but require further substantiation. Nevertheless, when compared to a standard breathing training, they lead to an increase in experiential value while maintaining the instrumental value.
... A second approach focuses specifically on cognitive effects. Research of this type (Bratman et al, 2015;Kaplan et al., 1998) suggests that exposure to natural environments can enhance aspects of cognitive functioning. This approach has roots in the work of a late-19th-century psychologist, William James, who posited two forms of mental attention: a deliberate form of attention that is subject to fatigue and overstimulation, and a passive, involuntary form that is unlimited in its capacity, stimulated by sensing color, motion, contrast, and other elements present in gardens and the natural landscape (James, 1890). ...
... The object that is perceived acts upon the perceiver and the perceiver reacts to it (Coppens, 1891). Nature-based activities improve cognition and positive effect (Bratman et al., 2015). Sensing nature wakes up the mind to the moment, connecting past, present and future (A. ...
Article
Nature-based therapies have a long history in mental health care. Beneficial effects have been documented for nature-based therapies in a variety of other health care settings. The aims of this grounded theory study were to understand the processes of maintaining nature-based therapeutic groups and the value of the activities to patients in a psychiatric inpatient setting. Over a nine-month period, semi-structured surveys of patient responses to nature-based activities were administered to patients in a pilot therapy group assessing the feasibility of a nature-based group program. Findings indicated that the group promoted use of the senses, social interaction, and care of self/others. Perceptions of benefits led to a nuanced understanding of the effects of being in contact with nature. Based on our findings we offer a preliminary theoretical model for patient engagement with nature-based programming in inpatient mental health care.
... [18][19][20][21] Childhood nature contact promotes positive youth development, improved cognition, childhood resilience, and reduction of mental health disorders (e.g., anxiety, depression, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder [ADHD]). [22][23][24][25][26] Both crosssectional and prospective cohort studies have found that increased childhood nature contact is positively associated with increased physical activity. 21,[27][28][29] Furthermore, a few studies have found greater physical and mental health benefits from green exercise (outdoor physical activities in natural settings) than traditional forms of exercise. ...
... 39,40 In addition, NBE incorporates nature-contact components, increasing the frequency of nature contact and its benefits. 24,29,36,41 A pilot study found that this NBE intervention significantly improved overall HRQoL scores and family support HRQoL domain scores for low-income, black and Hispanic children in St. Louis, Missouri. 42 In this study, we investigate how NBE influences health and educational outcomes for low-income, black and Hispanic children in St. Louis, MO, USA. ...
Article
Background: Low-income and non-white children experience disparities in health, education, and access to nature. These health disparities are often associated and exacerbated by inequities in the U.S. educational system. Recent research suggests that nature contact may reduce these health and educational disparities for urban low-income populations. Nature-based education (NBE) uses nature contact to inspire curiosity and improve health. This study examines the health and educational outcomes of a 15-week NBE intervention for urban low-income, black and Hispanic children 10-15 years of age. Methods: Children (n=122) completed a pre-intervention and post-intervention survey that addressed seven science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)-capacity items (leadership, teamwork, science relevance, sustainability relevance, STEM self-efficacy, science interest, and overall STEM capacity) and six widely used health-related quality-of-life (HRQoL) domains (physical health functioning, emotional health functioning, school functioning, social functioning, family functioning, and overall HRQoL). Focus groups with participating students and post-intervention surveys of NBE mentors and teachers explored perceptions of the intervention impact. Results: There were statistically significant positive changes in STEM capacity and HRQoL for participating students. For example, children's overall STEM capacity and overall HRQoL scores improved by 44% and 46%, respectively (both p<0.05). Qualitative data highlighted the intervention's educational and health benefits. Conclusions: These results support further research quantifying the effects of NBE on STEM capacity and HRQoL in urban, low-income, black and Hispanic children.
... 303). Their proposal supports other researchers' assertions that nature provides important ecosystem services (Bratman et al., 2012(Bratman et al., , 2015, and that these services are an important justification for nature conservation (Francis et al., 2017). ...
... HPHP collaborations have advanced "conceptual and empirical research on the health benefits of parks, greenways, and other protected areas" (Bricker, Brownlee, et al., 2016, p. 2). Also, recent research demonstrates growing support about the positive impacts of nature experiences on mental health and emotional well-being (Bratman et al., 2015;Larson et al., 2016). HPHP research also examines relationships between healthier habits related to time in nature and a greater connection with nature and parks (Townsend & Henderson-Wilson, 2016). ...
Article
Supporting worldwide Healthy Parks, Healthy People (HPHP) research expansion, this study investigated how wellness motivations interplay with auditory experiences by examining relationships between protected area visitors’ wellness motivations, and their perceptions of particular sounds and overall soundscape appeal. Visitor surveys (N=899), implemented in the Coyhaique National Reserve in Chilean Patagonia, included participant demographics, wellness motivations, a listening exercise, and overall soundscape ratings. Wellness motivations were reduced into emotional, intellectual, physical, sensory, and social dimensions. All dimensions were significantly correlated with participants’ ratings of the soundscape’s appeal and their desire to visit more (based on the soundscape). Cluster analysis grouped participants into low, moderate, and high wellness motives groups. Groups with high-wellness motives were found to rate specific natural sounds and the overall soundscape higher than groups with lower wellness motives. This study suggests incorporating visitors’ wellness motivations into soundscape and other perception-based research may assist with HPHP objectives.
... Interactions with nature also improve human mental and physical well-being (Bratman, Daily, Levy, & Gross, 2015;Lawton, Brymer, Cough, & Denovan, 2017;Richardson & McEwen, 2019). Therefore there is much to be gained from enhancing urban ecosystems to change behaviors and inform the public about conservation and their regulating ecosystems services such as cleaner air and water (Hausmann, Petermann, & Rolff, 2016;Sandström, Angelstam, & Mikusiński, 2006;Smith, Warren, Thompson, & Gaston, 2006;Somme et al., 2016). ...
... Opportunities to interact with nature across seasons and at all times of the day and a range of human-nature relationships must be encouraged (Barnes et al., 2019;Fabjanski & Brymer, 2017;Richardson & McEwen, 2019). Exercising outdoors and in sight of nature has additional benefits for our relationship with the natural world by reducing anxiety (Bratman et al., 2015;Hyvönen et al., 2018;Lawton et al., 2017;Niedermeier, Hartl, & Kopp, 2017;Wooller, Barton, Gladwell, & Micklewright, 2016). Even virtual reality interactions can have a positive impact for those with limited access to nature (Calogiuri et al., 2018;Nguyen & Brymer, 2018). ...
Article
Full-text available
1. Trees are a foundation for biodiversity in urban ecosystems and therefore must be able to withstand global change and biological challenges over decades and even centuries to prevent urban ecosystems from deteriorating. Tree quality and diversity should be prioritised over simply numbers to optimise resilience to these challenges. Successful establishment and renewal of trees in cities must also consider belowground (e.g., mycorrhizas) and aboveground (e.g., bees) interactions to ensure urban ecosystem longevity, biodiversity conservation and continued provision of the full range of ecosystem services provided by trees. 2. Positive interactions with nature inspire people to live more sustainable lifestyles that are consistent with stopping biodiversity loss and to participate in conservation actions such as tree-planting and supporting pollinators. Interacting with nature simultaneously provides mental and physical health benefits to people. Since most people live in cities, here we argue that urban ecosystems provide important opportunities for increasing engagement with nature and educating people about biodiversity conservation. 3. While advocacy on biodiversity must communicate in language that is relevant to a diverse audience, over-simplified messaging, may result in unintended negative outcomes. For example, tree planting actions typically focus on numbers rather than diversity while the call to save bees has inspired unsustainable proliferation of urban beekeeping that may damage wild bee conservation through increased competition for limited forage in cities and disease spread. 4. Ultimately multiple ecosystem services must be considered (and measured) to optimise their delivery in urban ecosystems and messaging to promote the value of nature in cities must be made widely available and more clearly defined.
... Exposure to nature can generate health benefits, including improving attention (Berman, Jonides, & Kaplan, 2008;Bratman, Daily, Levy, & Gross, 2015;Lee, Williams, Sargent, Williams, & Johnson, 2015;Taylor & Kuo, 2009), mitigating excessive arousal (Ulrich, 1981(Ulrich, , 1983(Ulrich, , 1984(Ulrich, , 2001Ulrich et al., 1991) and regulating emotions (McMahan & Estes, 2015). In contrast, exposure to urban environments is associated with increased mental health risks (Calderón-Garcidueñas et al., 2011;Florian et al., 2011;Marcelis, Navarro-Mateu, Murray, without causing high levels of arousal, 3) a sense of "coherence" or "extent" when a landscape is both rich and coherent enough to allow effortless information processing, and 4) a quality of "compatibility" that affords potential desirable activities. ...
... Increased alpha-theta synchronizations in the frontal lobes may help regulate emotions. Reduced negative emotions and enhanced positive emotions were often observed during restorative experiences (Bodin & Hartig, 2003;Bowler et al., 2010;Bratman et al., 2015). ...
... Seminal research carried out by Berto [7] found that university students who viewed photos of nature before completing a sustained attention task scored better compared to those who viewed photos of an urban landscape or geometric patterns [7], therefore, not only 'real' nature, but also virtual nature possess restorative properties. Such restoration obtained from exposure to green environments can be achieved through a variety of mediums including being physically present in nature, window views and viewing photographs, and other forms of virtual reality [9,10]. Despite the variety of durations of exposure to nature, from spending several days experiencing nature to observing photos VIRTUAL REALITY NATURE EXPOSURE AND TEST ANXIETY for just a few minutes, each produce positive results in relation to mental stress and attentional fatigue [9][10][11]. ...
... Such restoration obtained from exposure to green environments can be achieved through a variety of mediums including being physically present in nature, window views and viewing photographs, and other forms of virtual reality [9,10]. Despite the variety of durations of exposure to nature, from spending several days experiencing nature to observing photos VIRTUAL REALITY NATURE EXPOSURE AND TEST ANXIETY for just a few minutes, each produce positive results in relation to mental stress and attentional fatigue [9][10][11]. ...
Preprint
Full-text available
The number of students affected by exam anxiety continues to rise. Therefore, it is becoming progressively relevant to explore innovative remediation strategies that will help mitigate the debilitating effects of exam anxiety. The study aimed to investigate whether green environment exposure, delivered by virtual reality (VR) technology, would serve as an effective intervention to mitigate participants’ test anxiety and therefore improve the experience of the exam, measured by positive and negative affect, and increase test scores in a pseudo exam. Twenty high and twenty low exam anxiety students completed a pseudo exam before and after being exposed to either a simulated green environment or urban environment. Only those who had high anxiety and were exposed to the nature VR intervention had significant reductions in negative affect, supporting the idea that exposure to nature, even if simulated, may benefit students’ feelings about their academic performance. The findings are discussed in light of future developments in nature and educational research.
... Previous research has reported that exercising in natural environments (often referred to as 'green exercise') can lower negative emotions (Bowler et al., 2010), improve self-esteem and mood (Barton & Pretty, 2010;Reed et al., 2013), and cognitive ability (Bratman, Daily, Levy, & Gross, 2015). However, this research has largely been conducted with college students (Bowler et al., 2010), and very few studies have investigated more than one type of natural environment (Bowler et al., 2010;Coon et al., 2011). ...
... However, this pattern was not observed in this study. Natural environments have been noted as being particularly useful at restoring diminished attention, and alleviating stress (Bratman et al., 2015;Hartig et al., 2014). Given that 'restoration' is emphasised in the dominant theories of nature's benefit to these outcomes (Kaplan, 1995;Ulrich et al., 1991), the magnitude of cognitive and stress benefits is likely affected by how stressed and/or how cognitively fatigued a person is when exposed to the environment. ...
Article
Exercise in natural environments can improve cognition, positive affect, and reduce psychological stress. However, it remains unclear whether these benefits are subject to a gradient effect, whereby more natural features confer greater cognitive and psychological benefits. This study examined the influence of the exercise environment (i.e., the degree of nature) on cognition, and psychological outcomes in a sample of adolescents (n = 90; mean age = 14.3 ±.05 years). Four groups were randomised to one of the following experimental conditions: a non-exercise indoor control, indoor exercise, park exercise, and exercise in a nature reserve. Participants’ self-reported their stress, affect, and vitality and completed two measures of cognition (‘Rapid Visual Information Processing’ and ‘Spatial Working Memory’) immediately before and ∼6 min after exercise. All exercise conditions participated in a group-based circuit lasting ∼20 min, which included a mixture of aerobic and body-weight resistance activities. Linear mixed models were used to examine changes within and between groups. The indoor group increased sustained attention accuracy compared to the park group. There were no between-group differences in working memory. The indoor and nature groups increased cognitive arousal compared to control. The park group improved in state-level vitality compared to control. The mixed-results of this research do not support our ‘nature gradient’ hypothesis, whereby cognitive and psychological outcomes would improve in accordance with the degree of nature present in the exercise environment.
... Ecosystems also provide benefits to mental health, as shown by a diverse and growing set of studies (Frumkin et al., 2017). For example, Bratman et al. (2015) used field experiments to isolate the effects of nature exposure on mood and cognition. They found that walks in natural settings reduced anxiety and rumination, and improved memory tasks, compared to similar walks in urban environments. ...
Preprint
Full-text available
Ecosystem services (ES) have been a part of the ecological economics (EE) toolkit for decades. Over that time, however, ES has grown into a field of its own, and some Ecological Economists have criticized it for diverging from several core tenets of EE. Here we highlight five frontier areas of ES research and practice that can reverse that trend. Each of these areas has seen important recent ES research that builds toward stronger alignment with EE. These areas of emphasis are: measure ES broadly, not just monetarily; focus on stocks in addition to flows; better consider distributional impacts; incorporate non-Western perspectives on the benefits from ecosystems; and account for social dynamics, particularly learning. For each of these research areas, we describe its overall importance and potential for alignment, and we highlight the growing body of recent research. We then suggest further research questions related to each idea. We hope that distilling this list can contribute to meaningful advancements in both fields and stronger synergies between them.
... Over the past decade, an extensive and growing number of studies clearly demonstrate the multitude of positive impacts that nature has on our social, mental and physical health and wellbeing 1,2,3 . Connecting with and experiencing nature, whether that be in remote protected areas, or enjoying natural green spaces in our cities, leads to happier, healthier communities 4 . ...
Article
Full-text available
Our health is inextricably linked with the health of our environment and with our social and cultural connections to it, something that has been long recognised by First Australians. The next few years are a rare and critical opportunity for the world to change course and to lead the transformative change needed to tackle the climate and biodiversity crisis as well as to ensure that the health-culture-nature connection is forefront and centre of all future goals, frameworks and policies. This Key Directions Statement seeks to inspire and facilitate a whole-ofcommunity approach to developing and implementing policy and action that achieve positive human and environmental health outcomes.
... Our study suggests that visits to the park have multidimensional effects and all parameterspsychological, physiological and cognitivewere found to be effectively improved compared to baseline levels measured at the home environment. The findings of our research are in line with previous studies, that showed the salutogenic effects of parks (Bonnes et al., 2018;Hartig et al., 2003;Bratman et al., 2015;Song et al., 2019a;Farrow and Washburn, 2019;McKenzie et al., 2013;Twohig-Bennett and Jones, 2018b;Kondo et al., 2018c). Specifically, previous studies reported similar salutogenic effects on psychological responses (positive and negative emotion (de Brito et al., 2019), cheerfulness (Elsadek et al., 2019), relaxed and discomfort feelings (Song et al., 2019b;Hassan et al., 2018)), on autonomic nervous system balance (LF/HF and SDDN) (Schnell et al., 2016a;Gladwell et al., 2016;Lanki et al., 2017) and on cognition (de Brito et al., 2019;Berman et al., 2008). ...
... Despite these distractions, I had to reduce all this accumulated mental stress, psychological burden and, why not, make myself partly self-sufficient from a food standpoint, while not living in the countryside and having open spaces to cultivate. As a plant and soil biologist, I know that plants are the foundation of a multitude of ecosystem services (primary production, provisioning, supporting, regulating and cultural, etc.) and that an environment rich of plants, much more than we are aware of, can guarantee our physical and mental wellbeing (Bratman et al. 2012: Russell et al. 2013Shwartz et al. 2013;Bratman et al. 2015). My apartment is not so big but I have an empty and unutilized 50-m 2 terrace upstairs and our Mediterranean climate is mild in the spring, so, I asked myself, why not convert it into a vegetable garden? ...
Article
Full-text available
People are facing uncertain and difficult times in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. The benefits of plants (psychological, health, economic, productive) in this period of forced isolation can be of key importance. If many of us have to self-isolate in urban or suburban environments, we need something to do to keep our bodies and minds active and fed. In such a challenging scenario, a vegetable garden in home spaces can bring recreational, health, economic and environmental benefits. Regardless of the Covid-19 pandemic, there is untapped potential for this kind of garden to impact environmental outcomes, public awareness, and market trends. Home vegetable gardens could provide a small-scale approach to the sustainable use of natural resources, leading towards self-sufficiency, self-regulation, sustainability, and environmental protection.
... Despite potential limitations with generalization, 'true' experiments are still considered to be the 'gold' standard in science, as their controlled nature enables the identification of causal affect mechanisms (Magliocca et al., 2018). This is particularly beneficial when considering the use of new and innovative measures of mental health such as stress indicators cortisol, amylase, skin conductance (Beil & Hanes, 2013;Jiang, Chang, & Sullivan, 2014;Roe & Aspinall, 2011), and measures of brain activity including novel electroencephalogram (EEG) methods (Bratman, Daily, Levy, & Gross, 2015). Therefore, in order to account for the small samples sizes and to infer broader patterns it is necessary for future studies to repeat these small-scale experiments in different places and with different sub-populations. ...
Article
Full-text available
The past 35 years has seen an accumulation of empirical evidence suggesting a positive association between greenspace and mental health. Existing reviews of evidence are narrow in scope, and do not adequately represent the broad range of disciplines working in this field. This study is the first systematic map of studies investigating greenspace effects on mental health. A total of 6059 papers were screened for their relevance, 276 of which met inclusion criteria for the systematic map. The map revealed several methodological limitations hindering the practical applications of research findings to public health. Critically, the majority of studies used cross-sectional mental health data which makes causal inference about greenspace effects challenging. There are also few studies on the micro-features that make up greenspaces (i.e., their “quality”), with most focussing only on “quantity” effects on mental health. Moreover, few studies adopted a multi-scale approach, meaning there is little evidence about at which spatial scale(s) the relationship exists. A geographic gap in study location was also identified, with the majority of studies clustered in European countries and the USA. Future research should account for both human and ecological perspectives of “quality” using objective and repeatable measures, and consider the potential of scale-dependent greenspace effects to ensure that management of greenspace is compatible with wider scale biodiversity targets. To establish the greenspace and metal health relationship across a life course, studies should make better use of longitudinal data, as this enables stronger inferences to be made than more commonly used cross-sectional data.
... Everest (Beza, 2010), rural landscapes (Arriaza et al., 2004;Howley, 2011;Rosley et al., 2013), and grasslands (Lindemann-Matthies et al., 2010). Such landscape assessment methods typically focus on understanding experiential preferences, the physical attributes/attractiveness of a place (Casalegno et al., 2013;Tardieu and Tuffery, 2019), landscape preferences, (Atauri et al., 2000;de la Fuente de Val et al., 2006;de Lucio and Múgica, 1994;Huang, 2013;Múgica and de Lucio, 1996), scenic quality (Frank et al., 2013;Schirpke et al., 2013), and/or the experience of the place (Bratman et al., 2015;Hauru et al., 2014;Swaffield and McWilliams, 2013). ...
Article
Aesthetic values are a key driver of tourist and recreational visitation to natural areas and are listed among the selection criteria for World Heritage properties. However, assessment and monitoring of aesthetic values in natural areas, and coral reefs in particular, have proven to be challenging. In our study we explored the value and limitations of a rapid assessment approach involving non-expert ratings of aesthetic beauty as a potential tool for long-term monitoring of aesthetic values in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, Australia. We investigated the sensitivity of a rating scale for detecting change and sampling requirements for monitoring, as well as inter-observer biases, using an online survey of 1417 Australians in which respondents rated the aesthetic beauty of 181 coral reef images on a ten-point scale. Our results show average aesthetic rating scores ranged from 4.35 to 8.34 on a scale from 1 (ugly) to 10 (beautiful), with potential to detect differences of statistical significance within one point, indicating sufficient sensitivity to change for monitoring purposes. We found that a sample size of c.100 ratings per image provided a reasonable balance between cost (i.e. sample size) and accuracy (i.e. error). Older respondents (>65 years) with higher levels of coral reef visitation, experience and interest were more likely to give extreme ratings, however, there was no apparent predictor for this bias to be positive or negative (high or low ratings). Based on these results we provide recommendations to assist coral reef managers in their use and interpretation of non-expert aesthetic ratings in coral reef monitoring.
... Ecosystems also provide benefits to mental health, as shown by a diverse and growing set of studies (Frumkin et al., 2017). For example, Bratman et al. (2015) used field experiments to isolate the effects of nature exposure on mood and cognition. They found that walks in natural settings reduced anxiety and rumination, and improved memory tasks, compared to similar walks in urban environments. ...
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... A cognitive restoration after intensive psychological activity was better performed during walks in woods and open countryside than in urban settings in Scotland (Roe & Aspinall, 2011). In California, a similar comparison revealed positive effects on the performance of the verbal working memory, which can be related to the capacity of problem solving and advanced reasoning (Bratman, Daily, Levy, & Gross, 2015). The same investigation also provided evidence for nature to decrease anxiety, rumination and negative affect. ...
Article
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Landscape services have been found to foster collaboration among actors in social-ecological transitions towards a more sustainable landscape. In this essay I propose that the contribution of landscape to human health could be particularly effective to play such a role. Health is important to most people in society, to business and government, and of economic and social value. Urban green space is widely known to have a positive impact on human health, but outside the urban landscape this effect is much less known. However, human health is underrepresented in frameworks of ecosystems services and applications of landscape services. I explore how health could be incorporated into landscape approaches beyond the urban fringe. For the application in landscape approaches, it is vital that the relationship between landscape and human health is expressed in parameters that are recognized as meaningful by the various actor groups. As a health specification, I propose the concept of positive health, because it is based on well-being and subjective perceptions of health. To characterize the physical assets of landscape that associate with health, perceived landscape naturalness seems a promising concept to explore further. I offer examples of studies illustrating the relationship between landscape naturalness and 5 dimensions of positive health. I conclude with suggesting research priorities to develop a knowledge base for integrating human health in collaborative landscape adaptation.
... Despite these distractions, I had to reduce all this accumulated mental stress, psychological burden and, why not, make myself partly self-sufficient from a food standpoint, while not living in the countryside and having open spaces to cultivate. As a plant and soil biologist, I know that plants are the foundation of a multitude of ecosystem services (primary production, provisioning, supporting, regulating and cultural, etc.) and that an environment rich of plants, much more than we are aware of, can guarantee our physical and mental wellbeing (Bratman et al. 2012: Russell et al. 2013Shwartz et al. 2013;Bratman et al. 2015). My apartment is not so big but I have an empty and unutilized 50-m 2 terrace upstairs and our Mediterranean climate is mild in the spring, so, I asked myself, why not convert it into a vegetable garden? ...
Article
People are facing uncertain and difficult times in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. The benefits of plants (psychological, health, economic, productive) in this period of forced isolation can be of key importance. If many of us have to self-isolate in urban or suburban environments, we need something to do to keep our bodies and minds active and fed. In such a challenging scenario, a vegetable garden in home spaces can bring recreational, health, economic and environmental benefits. Regardless of the Covid-19 pandemic, there is untapped potential for this kind of garden to impact environmental outcomes, public awareness, and market trends. Home vegetable gardens could provide a small-scale approach to the sustainable use of natural resources, leading towards self-sufficiency, self-regulation, sustainability, and environmental protection.
... Psychologically, the state of mind, attention and cognitive functions (Berman et al, 2008(Berman et al, . 2012Bratman et al, 2015;Berto, 2005) as reflected in reducing stress levels, higher self-esteem, improved energy and vitality levels and perceived health (Coburn, et al, 2019) is considered to be improved by (in)direct contact with nature. From a different point of view, perceiving nature reduces criminal behaviour (Kuo & Sullivan, 2001) and is seen as a factor that improves recovery from surgeries (Ulrch, 1984). ...
Thesis
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An ever increasing number of nature areas is disclosed for tourism and recreational purposes in order to attain visitor attention, offer unique experiences, stimulate future funding for preservation of nature and landscape and to attain local/regional spin-off effects. Nature organisations’ way of thinking increasingly shift from keeping nature areas closed for maintaining nature protection and area qualities to disclosing areas for the public in order to raise nature and landscape awareness and to reconnect people with nature. Through the implementation of architectural objects in nature areas, these effects might be encouraged. Bird Observatory Tij, situated in the Haringvliet delta area, in the municipality of Goeree-Overflakkee, is such an architectural object. By means of qualitative case study, more specifically interviews, the motivations of stakeholders that were involved in the creation of Tij were unraveled. Furthermore, Tij’s (potential) role in tourism destination development and management was studied. The results showed that, in view of stakeholders’ intentions, Tij is meant to disclose a ‘forgotten’ piece of land without purpose to an area with purpose by exhibiting the area’s demonstrable nature, landscape, cultural and historical qualities to a range of target groups found in birdwatching (tourism), nature and landscape enthusiasts and visitors that are interested in architecture. Furthermore, Tij functions in both local and regional contexts of tourism development and management. Basically every aspect of Tij, which not only involves the object, but the footpath and the tunnel towards Tij also, is created in a nature responsible and experiential way. For example, potential disturbance to birds and the environment is limited by creating the footpath in such a dense and narrow area of shrubs, trees and partly wetland, that not only visitors follow the beaten path, but also that they get in touch with the birds and the environment immediately from the start. From a broader point of view, Tij should act as a gateway, a first touchpoint in visitors' physical customer journey to the remaining Haringvliet delta area. With the creation of Tij, stakeholders aim to raise awareness about nature and landscape which might potentially lead to public support in the form of funding and eventually efforts of nature organisations in nature conservation and development.
... This also leads to a decrease in opportunities to experience nature (Soga and Gaston 2016). In the city, people are constantly exposed to several stimuli and sources of information that demand great levels of attention and end up causing stress and fatigue (Kaplan 1995); several studies have proved that the contact with nature infl uences our well-being, reduces headaches, stress and other health problems and improves restoration and a positive attitude (Kuo 2003, Velarde et al. 2007, Bratman et al. 2015. Barriers between people and nature affect negatively human wellbeing and induce nature disconnected attitudes. ...
Article
Od czasów XVIII-wiecznej rewolucji przemysłowej populacja ludzka szybko rośnie (około 7,5 miliarda ludzi w 2017 roku), głęboko zmienia wszystkie ekosystemy Ziemi i w coraz większym stopniu koncentruje się w miastach (54% w 2014 roku), tworząc rozległe tereny metropolitarne. Tak duże liczby wymuszają szybkie zmiany metabolizmu biosfery, wynikające z wylesienia, uszczuplenia naturalnych zasobów, zanieczyszczenia, globalnego ocieplenia, pustynnienia, niekontrolowanej zabudowy i utraty różnorodności biologicznej. Rezultaty badań pokazują ogromne obszary ogołoconych, nudnych i ubogich krajobrazów, niezdolnych do wyżywienia swoich populacji, zmuszających je do migracji, do głodowania lub walki. Środki konserwacji koncentrowały się na odległych lub mniej zaludnionych obszarach, szczególnie tych, które zachowały bardzo wysoką jakość przyrodniczą, wiele walorów estetycznych, ważne gatunki dzikich zwierząt lub przedprzemysłowy wiejski charakter. Kilka strategii restauracji zostało wdrożonych, szczególnie w krajach rozwiniętych, aby ratować zdegradowane krajobrazy. To doprowadziło do powstania różnej skali „zielonych” struktur, takich jak: rezerwaty przyrody, pasy zieleni, zielone korytarze, błękitna i zielona infrastruktura, miejsca i krajobrazy dziedzictwa kulturowego oraz miejskie tereny zieleni. Współczesne przepływy ludności doprowadziły do przemieszczenia gatunków przez oceany i kontynenty, zwiększając nagłą kolonizację i natychmiastową zmianę lokalnych ekosystemów, które dawniej ewoluowały przez długi czas. Ostatnio niektóre z tych asamblaży gatunków zyskały określenie nowych ekosystemów: powstałe w wyniku działalności człowieka, samowystarczalne asamblaże „egzotycznych” i rodzimych gatunków w szczególnych biofizycznych kontekstach, z tendencją do dominacji i przewagi „egzotyki” nad lokalnymi gatunkami. Te nowe ekosystemy pozornie nie są podobne do naturalnego środowiska i stają się dominującymi habitatami na Ziemi. Te istotne kwestie wymagają świeżego spojrzenia dla wypracowania łącznego i systemowego podejścia do konserwacji długo ewoluujących naturalnych ekosystemów, zrównoważonego rozwoju ekosystemów zależnych od człowieka i integracji nowych ekosystemów ze starymi. Zaangażowanie każdego jest cenne, aby dzielić się pomysłami i działaniami integrującymi zmianę, a także gwarantującymi bardzo dużą różnorodność biologiczną, dostępność zasobów naturalnych i terenów przyrodniczych w przyszłości. Nasza globalna świadomość powinna aktywować programy i praktykę w zakresie planowania miejscowego, projektowania i zarządzania, aby sprawdzić wiedzę, stawić czoło biedzie oraz poprawić jakość i godność życia. To kwestia życia lub śmierci a... ŻYCIE JEST WAŻNE!
... Interacting with natural environments enhances many aspects of psychological functioning (Berman et al., 2012;Berto, 2005;Bratman, Daily, Levy, & Gross, 2015;Kaplan, 1995;Ryan, Weinstein, Bernstein, & Brown, 2010). Naturalness appears to be a salient measure of environmental judgement (Berman et al., 2014;Kotabe, 2016) that correlates highly with scene preference ratings (Kardan, Demiralp, et al., 2015). ...
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People spend considerable time within built environments. In this study, we tested two hypotheses about the relationship between people and built environments. First, aesthetic responses to architectural interiors reduce to a few key psychological dimensions that are sensitive to design features. Second, these psychological dimensions evoke specific neural signatures. In Experiment 1, participants (n = 798) rated 200 images of architectural interiors on 16 aesthetic response measures. Using Psychometric Network Analysis (PNA) and Principal Components Analysis (PCA), we identified three components that explained 90% of the variance in ratings: coherence (ease with which one organizes and comprehends a scene), fascination (a scene's informational richness and generated interest), and hominess (extent to which a scene reflects a personal space). Whereas coherence and fascination are well-established dimensions in response to natural scenes and visual art, hominess emerged as a new dimension related to architectural interiors. In Experiment 2 (n = 614), the PCA results were replicated in an independent sample, indicating the robustness of these three dimensions. In Experiment 3, we reanalyzed data from an fMRI study in which participants (n = 18) made beauty judgments and approach-avoidance decisions when viewing the same images. Parametric analyses demonstrated that, regardless of task, the degree of fascination covaried with neural activity in the right lingual gyrus. In contrast, coherence covaried with neural activity in the left inferior occipital gyrus only when participants judged beauty, whereas hominess covaried with neural activity in the left cuneus only when they made approach-avoidance decisions. Importantly, this neural activation did not covary in relation to global image properties including self-similarity and complexity scores. These results suggest that the visual brain harbors sensitivities to psychological dimensions of coherence, fascination, and hominess in the context of architectural interiors. Furthermore, valuation of architectural processing in visual cortices varies by dimension and task.
... Exposure to nature is also beneficial for mental health. Viewing or walking in green spaces can improve people's short-term memory and their ability to concentrate [1,13,[21][22][23]. In Chicago public housing, girls with greener window views had better self-discipline [24] and adults participated in less self-reported aggressive and violent behavior [25]. ...
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A compelling body of research demonstrates that exposure to nature, especially trees, is beneficial to human health. We know little, however, about the extent to which understory vegetation that does not reach the height of trees, impacts human health. An additional gap in our knowledge concerns the extent to which daily variations in exposure to various forms of vegetation are related to human health outcomes. Many previous findings describing such connections were achieved in laboratory settings or through semi-controlled experiments, which do not reflect the dynamic variations of people’s daily exposure to nature. Thus, we conducted an online survey to address these questions. We used the National Land Cover Dataset 2011 and Google Street View images to estimate participants’ daily exposure to nature, and two standard questionnaires (General Health SF-12 and the Perceived Stress Scale) to assess health. Results show that greater exposure to trees in daily life is associated with better health outcomes. Specifically, higher neighborhood concentrations of tree canopy are related to better physical health, overall health and an increased capacity to control stress. In contrast, the results exploring the health associations of understory vegetation were inconsistent. In most cases, understory vegetation had a negative relationship with stress and mental health measures.
... In support of SRT, physiological measurements and self-report measures have shown faster stress recovery and improved mood with exposure to natural environments versus urban environments. For example, studies have demonstrated lower self-reported stress (Beil & Hanes, 2013;Roe et al., 2013), greater positive affect (Beute & de Kort, 2014;Bratman et al., 2015;Lee et al., 2014), improved immune functioning (Li et al., 2008(Li et al., , 2011, and reductions in stress-related hormones (i.e., cortisol; Beil & Hanes, 2013) following exposure to natural environments. Some studies have found decreased HR (Laumann et al., 2003;Lee et al., 2014) and decreased blood pressure (Hartig et al., 2003;Li, 2010) after viewing nature imagery or taking walks in nature, although other studies have reported no significant changes in these measures (Brown et al., 2013;Gladwell et al., 2012). ...
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Stress Recovery Theory (SRT) suggests that time spent in nature reduces stress. While many studies have examined changes in stress physiology after exposure to nature imagery, nature virtual reality, or nature walks, this study is the first to examine changes in heart rate (HR) and vagally mediated HR variability, as assessed by Respiratory Sinus Arrythmia (RSA), after a longer duration of nature exposure. Consistent with SRT, we hypothesized that immersion in nature would promote stress recovery, as indexed by an increase in RSA and a decrease in HR. We also predicted that exposure to nature would improve self-reported mood. We used a within- subjects design (N = 67) to assess changes in peripheral physiology before, during, and after a 5-day nature trip. Results demonstrated a significant decrease in RSA and a significant increase in HR during the trip compared to before or after the trip, suggesting that immersion in nature is associated with a shift toward parasympathetic withdrawal and possible sympathetic activation. These results were contrary to our hypotheses and may suggest increased attentional intake or presence of emotions associated with an increase in sympathetic activation. We also found an improvement in self-reported measures of mood during the trip compared to before or after the trip, confirming our hypotheses and replicating previous research. Implications of this study are discussed in the context of SRT.
... According to what expressed so far, many studies suggest that human health and well-being benefit from the natural environment (Lachowycz and Jones, 2013;Bratman et al., 2015). ...
Chapter
Community resilience is “the ability of a system to recover from the effect of a hazard, preserving its essential structures and functions”. Psychological aspects have a significant influence on the adaptive capacity of populations hit by natural disasters. Among such aspects, place attachment appears to play an important role. The well-being deriving from the identification with a place has been acknowledged in literature; the loss of one's own place has devastating effects on the emotional state of individuals. Studies about natural disasters have largely underlined how such events change the emotional bonds with the territory, but only recently place attachment has been explored as a crucial aspect for maintaining the communities’ resilience; most of the papers concerned climate change resilience, very few earthquake resilience. This chapter aims to contribute to the understanding of the influence of territorial bonds on the social resilience of communities hit by earthquakes. Data were collected through paper questionnaires, in three small mountain communities of central Italy, about one year after the earthquake of August 24th, 2016. Results show that place attachment was a central value for the three-quarters of the interviewees, despite the seismic hazard, in all three areas. Findings encourage further investigations in other areas with different territorial settings and urban size, for a better knowledge of the role of place attachment for earthquake resilience.
... A vegetação, considerada aqui como uma comunidade de espécies e formas de vida vegetais que se estabelecem e se mantém naturalmente na cidade, proporciona, além de serviços ambientais (BOLUND e HUNHAMMAR, 1999), bem-estar aos citadinos, pela diversificação da paisagem urbana e por proporcionar lazer (GOMES e SOARES, 2003;BRATMAN et al., 2015, NIEMELÄ, 2011LARSON et al., 2016). A manutenção, portanto, de espaços naturais, amplos ou de tamanho reduzido, pode assegurar melhor qualidade de vida para as pessoas, uma vez que, proporcionalmente, oferecem serviços ambientais mais sustentáveis (PAIVA e GONÇALVES, 2002;ADLER e TANNER, 2015). ...
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Resumo: As Zonas de Proteção Ambiental (ZPAs) são um dos principais instrumentos para a proteção dos ambientes naturais do município de Natal. Nos ambientes naturais terrestres a comunidade de plantas ocupa papel relevante. O objetivo deste trabalho é identificar e quantificar a cobertura vegetal presente nas dez ZPAs natalenses. Para tanto foi feita a compilação dos dados já existentes para sete ZPAs e obtidos dados primários, através de interpretação visual e mapeamento em tela de computador utilizando QGIS e imagens de satélite de 2012/2013 de escala submétrica, para as outras três. A cobertura vegetal total das ZPAS foi avaliada em 4.318,33 ha, dos quais 77,22% correspondem a Vegetação primária original. Dos sete tipos de vegetação primária original encontrados Restinga Arbustiva e Manguezal ocupam 89,76% da cobertura de vegetação primária presente nas ZPAs. Os maiores fragmentos têm importante papel na manutenção sustentável das comunidades, enquanto as ZPAs com cobertura vegetal pequena exercem importante papel, tanto para o bem-estar da população, através dos serviços ambientais que presta, como por servirem de abrigo permanente ou temporário para as espécies silvestres, e formando corredores ecológicos.
... These nature-based experiences clearly mediated positive shifts in mood for some participants. Research has shown that engaging in natural spaces in embodied ways contributes towards decreased experiences of anger, depressive thinking and anxiety, and rumination (Bratman et al., 2015;Pretty et al., 2007;Zygmont, 2014). Rather, such experiences may help to foster greater preservation of positive mood states as well as greater opportunities for self-reflection (Bratman et al., 2012). ...
Article
Perceived nature disconnection lies at the heart of the world’s socio-ecological crisis. Finding ways to reconnect with nature is fundamental towards reducing the adverse psychological–social–ecological consequences of this disconnection. Understanding the psychological and social benefits of nature-based experiences is important towards actualising reconnection. This article discusses such benefits for child and adult participants from the Eastern Cape, South Africa. This work stems from Ecopsychology research with an outdoor education centre, Mystic Mountain. The experiences of two groups of children ( n = 25, aged 10–14 years) and adult instructors ( n = 12, aged 18–50 years) were explored using interpretive case-study methodology. Through semi-structured interviews and focus groups, participant observation, and reflexive journaling, data were collected and analysed thematically. This article centralises participants’ perceived psychological and social benefits of nature-based experiences as mediators of deeper self and nature connectedness. Integrating these benefits into nature-based pedagogy-design processes could contribute towards more effective enhancements of nature connectedness, and in turn, foster Earth’s larger flourishment.
... "Naturalness", a term used to identify "structural" morphological properties of our environment, has attracted particular attention; for review, see: [10]. Natural surroundings have been shown to exert positive effects (sometimes by simple viewing of images) in mood [11], reducing stress [12], improving concentration and working memory [13][14][15][16][17], self-perceived health [18] and even, amazingly, self-esteem [11,19]. Other intriguing findings include the association of exposure to natural forms to a reduction of criminal behavior [20,21] and the, now famous, finding of improved recovery from surgery [22]. ...
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There is extensive evidence today linking exposure to natural environments to favorable changes in mental and even physical health. There is also a growing body of work indicating that there are specific geometric properties of natural scenes that mediate these effects, and that these properties can also be found in artificial structures like buildings, especially those designed before the emergence of modernism. These geometries are also associated with aesthetic preference–we seem to like what is good for us. Here, using a questionnaire-based survey, we have tried to elucidate some of the parameters that play a role in formulating a preference for one form over the other. The images used were nature scenes from the Alpine landscape with various manipulations to alter their complexity, or with additions of computer graphics or various buildings. In all cases, the presence of a natural scaling hierarchy and of either fractal graphics or of ornate, non-local pre-modern buildings was always preferable to the alternative. We discuss these findings under the light of recent evidence in the field and conclude that they support the idea of the existence of a preference of our perceptive system for certain types of visual organization.
... Also well supported in the literature is people's affinity for nature, or biophilia. Nature in urban settings has been found to be therapeutic, reducing stress and improving overall well-being (Berman et al., 2008;Bratman et al. 2015;Ulrich 1979Ulrich , 1981Ulrich , 1984. Respondents, in general, did give a positive rating to Biogrowth1, which is an image of old brick with a significant growth of moss in the mortar joints, but only assigned a neutral rating to Biogrowth2, which was composed of similar appearing bricks, but instead had ferns growing in the mortar joints. ...
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There is a lack of research on people’s psychological perceptions to decay or patina that is part of the historic environment. Built heritage conservation doctrine and law are based on the assumption that all people have a similar, positive aesthetic perception to patina in the built environment, although there are very few empirical studies that have attempted to confirm or challenge this assumption. This study is based on the statistical analysis of survey data from 864 people in the United States who ranked 24 images of old, decayed building materials and 7 control images of new building materials based on aesthetic qualities, condition, and perceived age. The results indicate that people do not like decayed earthen building materials, concrete, or ferrous metals and have a neutral opinion of the aesthetic qualities of aged brick, preferring new brick as well as aged wood. While there are small differences based on race, ethnicity, and gender, the largest difference in responses is between people who work in the historic preservation/CRM field and those who do not. This finding appears to indicate that people who work in these fields have a different psychological response to decay/patina in the built environment than laypeople, which has important ramifications in terms of decision-making processes regarding interventions in the older built environment.
... As such, the present study is a conceptual replication focusing on one conclusion drawn from Berto's work. We chose to focus on this conclusion because Berto's (2005) findings are commonly cited as showing that nature environments confer greater attentional restoration than urban environments (e.g., Abraham, Sommerhalder, & Abel, 2010;Atchley, Strayer, & Atchley, 2012;Berman et al., 2008;Bratman, Daily, Levy, & Gross, 2015;Bratman, Hamilton, & Daily, 2012;Carrus, Passiatore, Pirchio, & Scopelliti, 2015;Kaplan & Berman, 2010;Sonnentag, Venz, & Casper, 2017;van den Berg, Maas, Verheig, & Groenewgen, 2010). Importantly, this common interpretation of Berto's (2005) findings might not be necessitated by the data presented by Berto (2005) because the images used in Berto's study were selected based on predicted restorativeness (high vs. low), and not exclusively on environment type (nature vs. urban; though this distinction was also present within the stimulus set). ...
Article
Building on a body of research examining the influence of natural versus urban images on attention, the purpose of the present study was to examine attention restoration with (1) a large sample size, (2) a broader image set that was more representative of typical natural and urban environments, and (3) an increased number of task trials to increase the likelihood of more thorough attentional depletion. In order to compare the restorative effects of natural versus urban images on attention, participants completed the Sustained Attention to Response Task (SART; a measure of sustained attention) before and after they viewed either natural or urban images. When compared to the urban condition, participants in the nature condition did not demonstrate improved performance in the post-image exposure SART. Bayesian analyses also indicated support for the null hypothesis. Thus, this study provides evidence that is inconsistent with the consensus view that images of natural settings restore attention more than images of urban settings.
... The importance of aesthetics and recreation to wellbeing may stem from our evolutionary history as a species that shares an innate affinity for life and life-like processes-an assertion known as the biophilia hypothesis (Wilson, 1984;Kellert and Wilson, 1995). Indeed, a long line of studies report a range of positive effects from time spent in nature (Kaplan and Kaplan, 1989;Kaplan et al., 1998;Louv, 2008;Bratman et al., 2015; for a comprehensive list, see Sandifer et al., 2015). The results presented here show that survey participants categorized as estuarine and other, who relied more on coastal, marine, and terrestrial provisioning services-and consequently spent more time outdoors, perceived several CES (e.g., spiritual space, space to recreate) as more important to wellbeing than some of the provisioning services on which they depended (Tables 3 and 4). ...
Article
In defining cultural ecosystem services as the recreational, aesthetic, and spiritual benefits people obtain from ecosystems, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment conveyed a key aspect of nature-society relationships. Yet, it is reasonable to suppose that this aspect may apply more to to contexts where people enjoy more leisure time to admire a scenic vista or recreate in nature. How relevant is this aspect of nature-society relationships for people who rely more on natural resources, or provisioning ecosystem services, for livelihoods? We integrated qualitative and quantitative field research methods to examine how people in natural resource-dependent communities perceived the importance of different ecosystem services to wellbeing. We found that people with varying degrees of dependence on coastal, marine, and terrestrial provisioning ecosystem services perceived cultural ecosystem services—particularly scenic beauty, biodiversity, and space to recreate—as very important to wellbeing, and also perceived increases in wellbeing following interventions to foment small-scale tourism and conservation. In terms of global ecosystem management, our findings imply that (1) aesthetics and recreation matter, even if these cultural ecosystem services appear more often in the literature, (2) more efforts may be taken to make cultural ecosystem services more accessible, (3) small-scale tourism and conservation interventions may be reconsidered as potential means to increase wellbeing, and (4) reframing ecosystem management as explicit efforts to augment wellbeing may help to garner more widespread support and participation.
... Urban parks, natural areas and other types of open spaces (e.g. gardens, yards, rooftops, plazas; hereafter referred to as "urban green spaces"), provide many environmental and health benefits, including shade and cooler temperatures (Heidt and Neef, 2008;Shashua-Bar and Hoffman 2000), opportunities for recreation and exercise (Lee, Jordan, & Horsley, 2015;Maas et al 2006), improved mood (Bratman et al 2015), and decreased anxiety and stress among others. Opportunities for city dwellers to receive mental and physical health benefits from urban green spaces may become even more critical during times of crisis such as the current novel coronavirus pandemic, as residents face heightened health-related and economic stress, isolation, and limited mobility during the implementation of social distancing policies (Brooks et al 2020). ...
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Urban green spaces provide a range of environmental and health benefits, which may become even more critical during times of crisis such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. However, with a radical shift in mobility, additional concerns over safety, and access temporarily restricted during the implementation of social distancing policies, the experience and use of urban green spaces may be reduced. This is particularly concerning for densely populated cities like New York, considered the first U.S. epicenter or vanguard of the outbreak. To better understand the impact of COVID-19 on the perception and use of urban green spaces, we conducted a social survey during the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic in New York City (May 13 - June 15, 2020). The results of the survey show respondents continued to use urban green spaces during the pandemic and consider them to be more important for mental and physical health than before the pandemic began. However, the study revealed a pattern of concerns residents have about green space accessibility and safety, and found key differences between the concerns and needs of different populations, suggesting a crucial role for inclusive decision-making, support for additional management strategies, and urban ecosystem governance that reflect the differential values, needs and concerns of communities across the City. As urban centers face looming budget cuts and reduced capacity, this study provides some empirical evidence to illustrate the value of urban green spaces as critical urban infrastructure, and may have implications for funding, policy, and management, of urban green spaces in NYC, with potential applications to other cities, particularly during times of crisis.
... Van Praag, Frijters, and Ferrer-i-Carbonell (2003) add such elements as leisure, housing, and environment. Ryan et al. (2010), as well as Nisbet, Zelenski, and Murphy (2011) and Bratman et al. (2015), elaborate on the impact of nature on happiness. ...
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The objective of this study is to investigate the visual construction of meaning within the semiotic resource of stock photography. Since the popularity of this product seems to affect the production, perception, interpretation and social internalization of the units of discourse included in the images under discussion, it is this author’s understanding that it can thus spread the ideological domination of prevailing, public sentiments towards specific concepts. This phenomenon is exemplified in the present article by an analysis of visual material depicting happiness, extracted from one of the biggest online banks of imagery, i.e. Shutterstock. The examination of the content of the photos seeks to identify the elements and their relations and combinations which stand for subjective well-being, to be then contrasted with corresponding research in the field of psychology. Attention is also paid to what is absent in the material. This approach leads to the conclusion that the significance of this resource lies in the distinct choices of particular items as depictive of a concept, especially as these choices conform to social expectations concerning its visual representation.
Article
As predictions about the effects of climate change have become more urgent, Stuart Grauer has wondered how much to bring this information into the curriculum at his school. Would learning about the possibly disastrous effects of climate change cultivate a sense of despair in students and ruin their childhoods? When working with students in the Andes and observing the work of climate activists, Grauer came to believe that teaching students about climate change could actually reduce the sense of powerlessness that leads many to experience anxiety and depression. Helping students understand the risks ahead of them enables them to take action, and taking action can promote improved mental health. As a result of this realization, Grauer has made environmentalism and activism important parts of the curriculum.
Article
Research shows spending time in nature improves both physical and mental well-being. Practitioner-based resources reveal libraries offer programs to increase access to natural experiences. However, there is a lack of research that explores specifically how this works. This study begins to fill this gap by providing initial insight into what libraries offer. StoryWalk® and outdoor storytimes were the most common type of nature program, and programs offered for all ages and families were most frequently mentioned in resources analyzed. To support this trend, additional research on what is happening in public libraries to support access to nature is needed.
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Small-scale urban greening projects such as green roofs are changing the urban landscape, shifting our experience from more manicured lawns to rooftop native gardens, prairie medians, and elevated post-industrial parks. Despite increasing interest in the benefits of urban nature, there is little research on what people think about these new small-scale urban greening projects, if they influence their health or sense of place, or how they may link to current discussions climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies. Furthermore, the dominance of a few fields of research on the benefits of nature on public policy have failed to explain why similar urban greening projects have been fraught with disagreements: are naturalized lawns ecological models or weedy eyesores? Is urban greening helpful or does it just lead to green gentrification? This book argues that using both on-the ground examinations of public perceptions of these projects, along with the integration of less-well known fields of research on the human relationship with nature, can help us create places that nurture ecological and human health and promote successful urban communities. Using new research and case studies on perceptions small-scale urban greening projects such as green roofs, vacant lots, green infrastructure, and elevated rails parks in North America, this book explores how small-scale urban greening projects can impact our sense of place, health, creativity and concentration while also being part of a successful urban greening program that balances social equity and sustainability. Key questions include how we measure tricky concepts like sense of place, wild nature and disinvested communities, and emotional connection to nature, and how this knowledge fits into current nature-health debates, implementation strategies, and successful urban greening policies. Arguing that wildness, emotion, and sense of place are key components of our human-nature relationship, this book will be of interest to designers, academics and municipal policy makers.
Thesis
The aim of this study is to investigate the possibilities of the integration green care into development mindfulness based program. For the study, the author examined the concept of green care, the similarities and the differences between mindfulness and green care, and the benefits of combing green care and mindfulness from the previous related studies. According to the results, the concept of green care was a wide spectrum on the nature. The study also revealed that the similarities were a relaxation and an awareness, a connectedness and an expansion, an insight, a life and a restoration that the differences were an activity style, a scientific research, and a range of application. Most previous studies showed that the possibility of integration between mindfulness and green care, and the stream of qualitative efforts to integrate beyond the rudimentary integration. and the benefits of integrating two areas were utilizing of variety metaphor from nature, practicing mindfulness in the common life, and contributing to the qualitative growth of leisure activity. Based on the results, implications for future research were discussed.
Article
Research shows that personal and public health are intrinsically intertwined with ecological conditions and that actions that promote environmental sustainability are good prescriptions for health and wellness. I call this awareness and its implications for occupational therapists ‘environmentally-informed occupational therapy’ (EIOT). EIOT is an approach to occupational therapy founded in the growing body of scientific evidence that demonstrates that what is good for the environment is good for human health and well-being. It looks to nature to inform interventions and helps occupational therapists support their clients, students and communities to make lifestyle choices that contribute to their personal health while protecting and ideally enhancing the environment, e.g. while reducing global warming, preserving natural resources, preventing biodiversity loss, and more. Clinical and educational examples of EIOT are described.
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The purpose of this chapter is to discuss critically, based on a review of recent literature on the topic, the challenges faced by urban tourism destinations with regards to eTourism and new technologies.
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The paper presents an integrated methodology to assess psychological and physiological responses of people when exposed to forests, with the main objective of assessing the suitability of different stands for stress recovery on the basis of tree species and density. From the methodological viewpoint, the study applies both a Restoration Outcome Scale (ROS) questionnaire and a neuroscientific technique grounded on electro-encephalographic (EEG) measurement. Results show different outcomes for conifers and broadleaves as well as a statistical significance of density in the evaluation of an individual's emotional state. A forest with a high density of conifers and low density of broadleaves seems to be the proper combination for stress recovery. The differences among psychological stated preferences and EEG trends highlights potential conflict among "needs" and "wants" of people in the topic of stress relief. Potential applications of the research for health care and territorial marketing operations are suggested.
Article
This qualitative study elucidates motives and psychological outcomes of engaging in mountaineering, defined as climbing mountains, trekking, and hiking. Specific activities for completing all 54 Colorado Fourteeners (peaks above 14,000 feet [4,267 meters]) entail long-term nature exposure, incorporating goal orientation. The well-being potential of this goal was examined with respect to the basic psychological needs and organismic integration subtheories of self-determination theory. Data from semi-structured interviews, participant artifacts, and ten years of archived letters were analyzed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Goal completion required competence, autonomy, and intrinsic motivation. Relatedness was illustrated through interpersonal relationship, nature connection, and place attachment, indicating that relatedness needs in mountaineering are also met through nonhuman connection. Landscapes above treeline on Fourteeners were highlighted for their importance in place attachment. Finishers experienced persistent positive affect from achieving the goal, contributing to well-being.
Article
Objective: The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between working at a campus community garden and student volunteers’ wellbeing. Participants: 76 undergraduate students at a large urban university in the San Francisco Bay area. Methods: A Web-based survey was conducted. Using an email mailing list of current and former garden volunteers, the study questionnaire was sent to survey participants multiple times to promote higher response rate. Results: Bootstrap regression revealed that both connectedness to nature and general health were significant predictors of a general well-being variable. Conclusions: University leaders might consider that campus natural spaces contribute to student success and may be among the few opportunities that urban college students have to engage with nature.
Article
Cross-cultural research has shown marked variation in health outcomes across the world’s older adult populations. Indeed, older adults in the Circumpolar North experience a variety of health disparities. Because aging is a biological process rooted in sociocultural context, there exists great variation in the ways older adults define and experience healthy, or “successful,” aging in their communities. The aim of this analysis was to synthesize qualitative research among older residents (aged 50+ years) in the Circumpolar North to identify a definition of healthy aging common in the region. A thorough review was conducted across a variety of academic search databases for peer-reviewed, qualitative studies conducted among community-dwelling older adults. The search strategy initially identified 194 articles; 23 articles met the inclusion criteria. Included studies were coded and analyzed using Grounded Theory to examine underlying themes of healthy aging in the Circumpolar North. The findings reveal the importance older adults place on respect, their relationship to the land, and psychosocial resilience into multidimensional models of healthy aging. This research also highlights the need for increased translational research with populations in the Circumpolar North that are under-represented in the literature.
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This document contains the draft Chapter 2 NCP of the IPBES Global Assessment on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. Governments and all observers at IPBES-7 had access to these draft chapters eight weeks prior to IPBES-7. Governments accepted the Chapters at IPBES-7 based on the understanding that revisions made to the SPM during the Plenary, as a result of the dialogue between Governments and scientists, would be reflected in the final Chapters. IPBES typically releases its Chapters publicly only in their final form, which implies a delay of several months post Plenary. However, in light of the high interest for the Chapters, IPBES is releasing the six Chapters early (31 May 2019) in a draft form. Authors of the reports are currently working to reflect all the changes made to the Summary for Policymakers during the Plenary to the Chapters, and to perform final copyediting.
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Failures to replicate published psychological research findings have contributed to a "crisis of confidence." Several reasons for these failures have been proposed, the most notable being questionable research practices and data fraud. We examine replication from a different perspective and illustrate that current intuitive expectations for replication are unreasonable. We used computer simulations to create thousands of ideal replications, with the same participants, wherein the only difference across replications was random measurement error. In the first set of simulations, study results differed substantially across replications as a result of measurement error alone. This raises questions about how researchers should interpret failed replication attempts, given the large impact that even modest amounts of measurement error can have on observed associations. In the second set of simulations, we illustrated the difficulties that researchers face when trying to interpret and replicate a published finding. We also assessed the relative importance of both sampling error and measurement error in producing variability in replications. Conventionally, replication attempts are viewed through the lens of verifying or falsifying published findings. We suggest that this is a flawed perspective and that researchers should adjust their expectations concerning replications and shift to a meta-analytic mind-set. © The Author(s) 2014.
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There is growing appreciation for the advantages of experimentation in the social sciences. Policy-relevant claims that in the past were backed by theoretical arguments and inconclusive correlations are now being investigated using more credible methods. Changes have been particularly pronounced in development economics, where hundreds of randomized trials have been carried out over the last decade. When experimentation is difficult or impossible, researchers are using quasi-experimental designs. Governments and advocacy groups display a growing appetite for evidence-based policy-making. In 2005, Mexico established an independent government agency to rigorously evaluate social programs, and in 2012, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget advised federal agencies to present evidence from randomized program evaluations in budget requests (1, 2).
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Green space has been associated with a wide range of health benefits, including stress reduction, but much pertinent evidence has relied on self-reported health indicators or experiments in artificially controlled environmental conditions. Little research has been reported using ecologically valid objective measures with participants in their everyday, residential settings. This paper describes the results of an exploratory study (n = 25) to establish whether salivary cortisol can act as a biomarker for variation in stress levels which may be associated with varying levels of exposure to green spaces, and whether recruitment and adherence to the required, unsupervised, salivary cortisol sampling protocol within the domestic setting could be achieved in a highly deprived urban population. Self-reported measures of stress and general wellbeing were also captured, allowing exploration of relationships between cortisol, wellbeing and exposure to green space close to home. Results indicate significant relationships between self-reported stress (P < 0.01), diurnal patterns of cortisol secretion (P < 0.05), and quantity of green space in the living environment. Regression analysis indicates percentage of green space in the living environment is a significant (P < 0.05) and independent predictor of the circadian cortisol cycle, in addition to self-reported physical activity (P < 0.02). Results also show that compliance with the study protocol was good. We conclude that salivary cortisol measurement offers considerable potential for exploring relationships between wellbeing and green space and discuss how this ecologically valid methodology can be developed to confirm and extend findings in deprived city areas to illuminate why provision of green space close to home might enhance health.
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Background The Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 (GBD 2010) identified mental and substance use disorders as the 5th leading contributor of burden in 2010, measured by disability adjusted life years (DALYs). This estimate was incomplete as it excluded burden resulting from the increased risk of suicide captured elsewhere in GBD 2010's mutually exclusive list of diseases and injuries. Here, we estimate suicide DALYs attributable to mental and substance use disorders. Methods Relative-risk estimates of suicide due to mental and substance use disorders and the global prevalence of each disorder were used to estimate population attributable fractions. These were adjusted for global differences in the proportion of suicide due to mental and substance use disorders compared to other causes then multiplied by suicide DALYs reported in GBD 2010 to estimate attributable DALYs (with 95% uncertainty). Results Mental and substance use disorders were responsible for 22.5 million (14.8–29.8 million) of the 36.2 million (26.5–44.3 million) DALYs allocated to suicide in 2010. Depression was responsible for the largest proportion of suicide DALYs (46.1% (28.0%–60.8%)) and anorexia nervosa the lowest (0.2% (0.02%–0.5%)). DALYs occurred throughout the lifespan, with the largest proportion found in Eastern Europe and Asia, and males aged 20–30 years. The inclusion of attributable suicide DALYs would have increased the overall burden of mental and substance use disorders (assigned to them in GBD 2010 as a direct cause) from 7.4% (6.2%–8.6%) to 8.3% (7.1%–9.6%) of global DALYs, and would have changed the global ranking from 5th to 3rd leading cause of burden. Conclusions Capturing the suicide burden attributable to mental and substance use disorders allows for more accurate estimates of burden. More consideration needs to be given to interventions targeted to populations with, or at risk for, mental and substance use disorders as an effective strategy for suicide prevention.
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Environments shape health and well-being, yet little research has investigated how different real-world environmental settings influence the well-known determinant of health known as stress. Using a cross-over experimental design; this pilot study investigated the effect of four urban environments on physiological and psychological stress measures. Participants (N = 15) were exposed on separate days to one of the four settings for 20 min. These settings were designated as Very Natural; Mostly Natural; Mostly Built and Very Built. Visitation order to the four settings was individually randomized. Salivary cortisol and alpha-amylase; as well as self-report measures of stress; were collected before and after exposure to each setting. Gender was included as a variable in analysis; and additional data about environmental self-identity, pre-existing stress, and perceived restorativeness of settings were collected as measures of covariance. Differences between environmental settings showed greater benefit from exposure to natural settings relative to built settings; as measured by pre-to-post changes in salivary amylase and self-reported stress; differences were more significant for females than for males. Inclusion of covariates in a regression analysis demonstrated significant predictive value of perceived restorativeness on these stress measures, suggesting some potential level of mediation. These data suggest that exposure to natural environments may warrant further investigation as a health promotion method for reducing stress.
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There is mounting empirical evidence that interacting with nature delivers measurable benefits to people. Reviews of this topic have generally focused on a specific type of benefit, been limited to a single discipline, or covered the benefits delivered from a particular type of interaction. Here we construct novel typologies of the settings, interactions and potential benefits of people-nature experiences, and use these to organise an assessment of the benefits of interacting with nature. We discover that evidence for the benefits of interacting with nature is geographically biased towards high latitudes and Western societies, potentially contributing to a focus on certain types of settings and benefits. Social scientists have been the most active researchers in this field. Contributions from ecologists are few in number, perhaps hindering the identification of key ecological features of the natural environment that deliver human benefits. Although many types of benefits have been studied, benefits to physical health, cognitive performance and psychological well-being have received much more attention than the social or spiritual benefits of interacting with nature, despite the potential for important consequences arising from the latter. The evidence for most benefits is correlational, and although there are several experimental studies, little as yet is known about the mechanisms that are important for delivering these benefits. For example, we do not know which characteristics of natural settings (e.g., biodiversity, level of disturbance, proximity, accessibility) are most important for triggering a beneficial interaction, and how these characteristics vary in importance among cultures, geographic regions and socio-economic groups. These are key directions for future research if we are to design landscapes that promote high quality interactions between people and nature in a rapidly urbanising world.
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To evaluate the impact of an intensive period of mindfulness meditation training on cognitive and affective function, a non-clinical group of 20 novice meditators were tested before and after participation in a 10-day intensive mindfulness meditation retreat. They were evaluated with self-report scales measuring mindfulness, rumination and affect, as well as performance tasks assessing working memory, sustained attention, and attention switching. Results indicated that those completing the mindfulness training demonstrated significant improvements in self-reported mindfulness, depressive symptoms, rumination, and performance measures of working memory and sustained attention, relative to a comparison group who did not undergo any meditation training. This study suggests future directions for the elucidation of the critical processes that underlie the therapeutic benefits of mindfulness-based interventions.
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An academic scientist's professional success depends on publishing. Publishing norms emphasize novel, positive results. As such, disciplinary incentives encourage design, analysis, and reporting decisions that elicit positive results and ignore negative results. Prior reports demonstrate how these incentives inflate the rate of false effects in published science. When incentives favor novelty over replication, false results persist in the literature unchallenged, reducing efficiency in knowledge accumulation. Previous suggestions to address this problem are unlikely to be effective. For example, a journal of negative results publishes otherwise unpublishable reports. This enshrines the low status of the journal and its content. The persistence of false findings can be meliorated with strategies that make the fundamental but abstract accuracy motive-getting it right-competitive with the more tangible and concrete incentive-getting it published. This article develops strategies for improving scientific practices and knowledge accumulation that account for ordinary human motivations and biases. © The Author(s) 2012.
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This study aimed to explore whether walking in nature may be beneficial for individuals with major depressive disorder (MDD). Healthy adults demonstrate significant cognitive gains after nature walks, but it was unclear whether those same benefits would be achieved in a depressed sample as walking alone in nature might induce rumination, thereby worsening memory and mood. Twenty individuals diagnosed with MDD participated in this study. At baseline, mood and short term memory span were assessed using the PANAS and the backwards digit span (BDS) task, respectively. Participants were then asked to think about an unresolved negative autobiographical event to prime rumination, prior to taking a 50-min walk in either a natural or urban setting. After the walk, mood and short-term memory span were reassessed. The following week, participants returned to the lab and repeated the entire procedure, but walked in the location not visited in the first session (i.e., a counterbalanced within-subjects design). Participants exhibited significant increases in memory span after the nature walk relative to the urban walk, p<.001, η(p)(2)=.53 (a large effect-size). Participants also showed increases in mood, but the mood effects did not correlate with the memory effects, suggesting separable mechanisms and replicating previous work. Sample size and participants' motivation. These findings extend earlier work demonstrating the cognitive and affective benefits of interacting with nature to individuals with MDD. Therefore, interacting with nature may be useful clinically as a supplement to existing treatments for MDD.
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Five studies assessed the validity and reliability of the connectedness to nature scale (CNS), a new measure of individuals’ trait levels of feeling emotionally connected to the natural world. Data from two community and three college samples demonstrated that the CNS has good psychometric properties, correlates with related variables (the new environmental paradigm scale, identity as an environmentalist), and is uncorrelated with potential confounds (verbal ability, social desirability). This paper supports ecopsychologists’ contention that connection to nature is an important predictor of ecological behavior and subjective well-being. It also extends social psychological research on self–other overlap, perspective taking, and altruistic behavior to the overlap between self and nature. The CNS promises to be a useful empirical tool for research on the relationship between humans and the natural world.
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Children growing up in the inner city are at risk of academic underachievement, juvenile delinquency, teenage pregnancy, and other important negative outcomes. Avoiding these outcomes requires self-discipline. Self-discipline, in turn, may draw on directed attention, a limited resource that can be renewed through contact with nature. This study examined the relationship between near-home nature and three forms of self-discipline in 169 inner city girls and boys randomly assigned to 12 architecturally identical high-rise buildings with varying levels of nearby nature. Parent ratings of the naturalness of the view from home were used to predict children's performance on tests of concentration, impulse inhibition, and delay of gratification. Regressions indicated that, on average, the more natural a girl's view from home, the better her performance at each of these forms of self-discipline. For girls, view accounted for 20% of the variance in scores on the combined self-discipline index. For boys, who typically spend less time playing in and around their homes, view from home showed no relationship to performance on any measure. These findings suggest that, for girls, green space immediately outside the home can help them lead more effective, self-disciplined lives. For boys, perhaps more distant green spaces are equally important.
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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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Previously studies have shown that nature improves mood and self-esteem and reduces blood pressure. Walking within a natural environment has been suggested to alter autonomic nervous system control, but the mechanisms are not fully understood. Heart rate variability (HRV) is a non-invasive method of assessing autonomic control and can give an insight into vagal modulation. Our hypothesis was that viewing nature alone within a controlled laboratory environment would induce higher levels of HRV as compared to built scenes. Heart rate (HR) and blood pressure (BP) were measured during viewing different scenes in a controlled environment. HRV was used to investigate alterations in autonomic activity, specifically parasympathetic activity. Each participant lay in the semi-supine position in a laboratory while we recorded 5 min (n = 29) of ECG, BP and respiration as they viewed two collections of slides (one containing nature views and the other built scenes). During viewing of nature, markers of parasympathetic activity were increased in both studies. Root mean squared of successive differences increased 4.2 ± 7.7 ms (t = 2.9, p = 0.008) and natural logarithm of high frequency increased 0.19 ± 0.36 ms(2) Hz(-1) (t = 2.9, p = 0.007) as compared to built scenes. Mean HR and BP were not significantly altered. This study provides evidence that autonomic control of the heart is altered by the simple act of just viewing natural scenes with an increase in vagal activity.
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More than half of the world's population now lives in cities, making the creation of a healthy urban environment a major policy priority. Cities have both health risks and benefits, but mental health is negatively affected: mood and anxiety disorders are more prevalent in city dwellers and the incidence of schizophrenia is strongly increased in people born and raised in cities. Although these findings have been widely attributed to the urban social environment, the neural processes that could mediate such associations are unknown. Here we show, using functional magnetic resonance imaging in three independent experiments, that urban upbringing and city living have dissociable impacts on social evaluative stress processing in humans. Current city living was associated with increased amygdala activity, whereas urban upbringing affected the perigenual anterior cingulate cortex, a key region for regulation of amygdala activity, negative affect and stress. These findings were regionally and behaviourally specific, as no other brain structures were affected and no urbanicity effect was seen during control experiments invoking cognitive processing without stress. Our results identify distinct neural mechanisms for an established environmental risk factor, link the urban environment for the first time to social stress processing, suggest that brain regions differ in vulnerability to this risk factor across the lifespan, and indicate that experimental interrogation of epidemiological associations is a promising strategy in social neuroscience.
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We know that children need nature … or do we? There are certainly many reasons to think that nature plays an important role in child development. For many of us, intuition emphatically asserts that nature is good for children. We hold intuitions such as, ‘every kid needs a dog’, ‘children need a nice yard to play in’, and ‘children need “fresh air”’. Beyond these intuitions, there are also well-reasoned theoretical arguments as to why humans in general – and therefore children – might have an inborn need for contact with nature (e.g., S. Kaplan, 1995; Wilson, 1984). And there is a growing body of qualitative research consistent with this idea (Bardill, 1997; Hart, 1979; R. Moore, 1989; R. C. Moore, 1986; Nabhan, 1994; Sebba, 1991; Sobel, 1993; Titman, 1994). But what do we really know about the value of nature in promoting child development? What systematic evidence is there for or against this possibility? Is children's need for nature established fact, yet-to-be-substantiated folk theory, or simply myth? The question of nature's role in healthy child development is increasingly urgent. A consistent concern among the researchers studying children and nature is that children's access to nature is rapidly diminishing (e.g., Kahn, 2002; Kellert, 2002; Pyle, 2002; Rivkin, 2000). Not only may there be less nature for children to access, but children's access of what remains may be increasingly sporadic.
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A study was conducted in which 133 participants performed 11 memory tasks (some thought to reflect working memory and some thought to reflect short-term memory), 2 tests of general fluid intelligence, and the Verbal and Quantitative Scholastic Aptitude Tests. Structural equation modeling suggested that short-term and working memories reflect separate but highly related constructs and that many of the tasks used in the literature as working memory tasks reflect a common construct. Working memory shows a strong connection to fluid intelligence, but short-term memory does not. A theory of working memory capacity and general fluid intelligence is proposed: The authors argue that working memory capacity and fluid intelligence reflect the ability to keep a representation active, particularly in the face of interference and distraction. The authors also discuss the relationship of this capability to controlled attention, and the functions of the prefrontal cortex.
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Human beings are unique in their ability to think consciously about themselves. Because they have a capacity for self-awareness not shared by other animals, people can imagine themselves in the future, anticipate consequences, plan ahead, improve themselves, and perform many other behaviors that are uniquely characteristic of human beings. Yet, despite the obvious advantages of self-reflection, the capacity for self-thought comes at a high price as people's lives are adversely affected and their inner chatter interferes with their success, pollutes their relationships, and undermines their happiness. Indeed, self-relevant thought is responsible for most of the personal and social difficulties that human beings face as individuals and as a species. Among other things, the capacity for self-reflection distorts people's perceptions, leading them to make bad decisions based on faulty information. The self conjures up a great deal of personal suffering in the form of depression, anxiety, anger, envy, and other negative emotions by allowing people to ruminate about the past or imagine the future. Egocentrism and egotism blind people to their own shortcomings, promote self-serving biases, and undermine their relationships with others. The ability to self-reflect also underlies social conflict by leading people to separate themselves into ingroups and outgroups. Ironically, many sources of personal unhappiness - such as addictions, overeating, unsafe sex, infidelity, and domestic violence - are due to people's inability to exert self-control. For those inclined toward religion and spirituality, visionaries throughout history have proclaimed that the egoic self stymies the quest for spiritual fulfillment and leads to immoral behavior.
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The therapeutic value of landscape in giving opportunity for 'spiritual renewal' through closer contact with nature has been the basis for much of the scenic conservation movement and lies behind a universal concept of National Parks as providing recreational resources for urban populations. This belief is tested in a series of classroom studies. -C.Laverick
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A distinction between ruminative and reflective types of private self-attentiveness is introduced and evaluated with respect to L. R. Goldberg's (1982) list of 1,710 English trait adjectives (Study 1), the five-factor model of personality (FFM) and A. Fenigstein, M. F. Scheier, and A. Buss's(1975) Self-Consciousness Scales (Study 2), and previously reported correlates and effects of private self-consciousness (PrSC; Studies 3 and 4). Results suggest that the PrSC scale confounds two unrelated motivationally distinct disposition-rumination and reflection-and that this confounding may account for the "self-absorption paradox" implicit in PrSC research findings: Higher PrSC sources are associated with more accurate and extensive self-knowledge yet higher levels of psychological distress. The potential of the FFM to provide a comprehensive Framework for conceptualizing self-attentive dispositions, and to order and integrate research findings within this domain, is discussed.
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A growing body of empirical research suggests that brief contact with natural environments improves emotional well-being. The current study synthesizes this body of research using meta-analytic techniques and assesses the mean effect size of exposure to natural environments on both positive and negative affect. Thirty-two studies with a total of 2356 participants were included. Across these studies, exposure to natural environments was associated with a moderate increase in positive affect and a smaller, yet consistent, decrease in negative affect relative to comparison conditions. Significant heterogeneity was found for the effect of nature on positive affect, and type of emotion assessment, type of exposure to nature, location of study, and mean age of sample were found to moderate this effect. The implications of these findings for existing theory and research are discussed, with particular emphasis placed on potential avenues for fruitful future research examining the effects of nature on well-being.
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Urbanization, resource exploitation, and lifestyle changes have diminished possibilities for human contact with nature in urbanized societies. Concern about the loss has helped motivate research on the health benefits of contact with nature. Reviewing that research here, we focus on nature as represented by aspects of the physical environment relevant to planning, design, and policy measures that serve broad segments of urbanized societies. We discuss difficulties in defining "nature" and reasons for the current expansion of the research field, and we assess available reviews. We then consider research on pathways between nature and health involving air quality, physical activity, social cohesion, and stress reduction. Finally, we discuss methodological issues and priorities for future research. The extant research does describe an array of benefits of contact with nature, and evidence regarding some benefits is strong; however, some findings indicate caution is needed in applying beliefs about those benefits, and substantial gaps in knowledge remain. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Public Health Volume 35 is March 18, 2014. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/catalog/pubdates.aspx for revised estimates.
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This study investigated the psychological (perceived restorativeness, subjective vitality, mood, creativity) and physiological (salivary cortisol concentration) effects of short-term visits to urban nature environments. Seventy-seven participants visited three different types of urban areas; a built-up city centre (as a control environment), an urban park, and urban woodland located in Helsinki, the capital of Finland. Our results show that the large urban park and extensively managed urban woodland had almost the same positive influence, but the overall perceived restorativeness was higher in the woodland after the experiment. The findings suggest that even short-term visits to nature areas have positive effects on perceived stress relief compared to built-up environment. The salivary cortisol level decreased in a similar fashion in all three urban environments during the experiment. The relations between psychological measures and physiological measures, as well as the influence of nature exposure on different groups of people, need to be studied further.
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The complex span measure of working memory is a word/digit span measured while performing a secondary task. Two experiments investigated whether correlations between the complex span and reading comprehension depend on the nature of the secondary task and individual skill in that task. The secondary task did not have to be reading related for the span to predict reading comprehension. An arithmetic-related secondary task led to correlations with reading comprehension similar to those found when the secondary task was reading. The relationship remained significant when quantitative skills were factored out of the complex span/comprehension correlations. Simple digit and word spans (measured without a background task) did not correlate with reading comprehension and SAT scores. The second experiment showed that the complex span/comprehension correlations were a function of the difficulty of the background task. When the difficulty level of the reading-related or arithmetic-related background tasks was moderate, the span/comprehension correlations were higher in magnitude than when the background tasks were very simple, or, were very difficult.
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This article investigates the direct and indirect effects of windows in the workplace onjob satisfaction, intention to quit, and general well-being. The impact of three specific influencing mechanisms are examined: general level of illumination, sunlight penetration, and view. The extent to which these environmental features might moderate the negative consequences of job stress is investigated. The sample consisted of 100 white-and blue-collar workers who were employed in a large wine-producing organization in the Mediterranean region of Southern Europe. The results showed a significant direct effect for sunlight penetration on job satisfaction, intention to quit, and general well-being. A view of natural elements (i.e., trees, vegetation, plants, and foliage) was found to buffer the negative impact of job stress on intention to quit and to have a similar, albeit marginal, effect on general well-being. No effects for general level of illumination were found.
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The utility of different theoretical models of restorative experience was explored in a quasi-experimental field study and a true experiment. The former included wilderness backpacking and nonwilderness vacation conditions, as well as a control condition in which participants continued with their daily routines. The latter had urban environment, natural environment, and passive relaxation conditions. Multimethod assessments of restoration consisted of self-reports of affective states, cognitive performance, and, in the latter study, physiological measures. Convergent self-report and performance results obtained in both studies offer evidence of greater restorative effects arising from experiences in nature. Implications for theory, methodology, and design are discussed.
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Three experiments were designed to test the hypothesis that exposure to restorative environments facilitates recovery from mental fatigue. To this end, participants were first mentally fatigued by performing a sustained attention test; then they viewed photographs of restorative environments, nonrestorative environments or geometrical patterns; and finally they performed the sustained attention test again. Only participants exposed to the restorative environments improved their performance on the final attention test, and this improvement occurred whether they viewed the scenes in the standardized time condition or in the self-paced time condition. Results are in agreement with Kaplan's [(1995). The restorative benefits of nature: Toward an integrative framework. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 15, 169–182] attention restoration theory, and support the idea that restorative environments help maintain and restore the capacity to direct attention.
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Urbanization is a potential threat to mental health and well-being. Cross-sectional evidence suggests that living closer to urban green spaces, such as parks, is associated with lower mental distress. However, earlier research was unable to control for time-invariant heterogeneity (e.g., personality) and focused on indicators of poor psychological health. The current research advances the field by using panel data from over 10,000 individuals to explore the relation between urban green space and well-being (indexed by ratings of life satisfaction) and between urban green space and mental distress (indexed by General Health Questionnaire scores) for the same people over time. Controlling for individual and regional covariates, we found that, on average, individuals have both lower mental distress and higher well-being when living in urban areas with more green space. Although effects at the individual level were small, the potential cumulative benefit at the community level highlights the importance of policies to protect and promote urban green spaces for well-being.
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In recent studies of the structure of affect, positive and negative affect have consistently emerged as two dominant and relatively independent dimensions. A number of mood scales have been created to measure these factors; however, many existing measures are inadequate, showing low reliability or poor convergent or discriminant validity. To fill the need for reliable and valid Positive Affect and Negative Affect scales that are also brief and easy to administer, we developed two 10-item mood scales that comprise the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS). The scales are shown to be highly internally consistent, largely uncorrelated, and stable at appropriate levels over a 2-month time period. Normative data and factorial and external evidence of convergent and discriminant validity for the scales are also presented. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved)
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The authors report further evidence bearing on the relations among restorative experiences, self-regulation, and place attachment. University students (n = 101) described their favorite places and experiences in them, and 98 other students described unpleasant places. Natural settings were overrepresented among favorite places and underrepresented among the unpleasant places. In open-ended accounts, frequent mention of being relaxed, being away from everyday life, forgetting worries, and reflecting on personal matters indicated a link between favorite places and restorative experience. Restoration was particularly typical of natural favorite places. Structured evaluations of being away, fascination, coherence, and compatibility indicated they were experienced to a high degree in the favorite places, although fascination to a lesser degree than compatibility. The favorite and unpleasant places differed substantially in all four restorative qualities but especially in being away and compatibility. Self-referencing appears to be more characteristic of favorite place experiences than engaging or interesting environmental properties.
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To date, research on the effects of urbanization, which include reduced biodiversity, has focused on changes at particular sites or along gradients of urbanization. Comparatively little work has investigated changes in biodiversity at any citywide—much less global—scale, and no attempt has been made to quantify such changes in human terms. We have developed a novel data set that reveals a systematic pattern of biodiversity: Within cities worldwide, most residents are concentrated in neighborhoods of impoverished biodiversity. This pattern exists despite substantial biodiversity present in cities overall, and becomes more severe when only native species are considered. As humanity becomes increasingly urban, these findings have a tragic and seldom-considered consequence: Billions of people may lose the opportunity to benefit from or develop an appreciation of nature. Because nearby surroundings shape people's baselines of ecological health, our findings suggest adverse consequences for conservation in general as well as for humans' quality of life if the problem remains uncorrected.
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The nearby natural environment plays a far more significant role in the well-being of children residing in poor urban environments than has previously been recognized. Using a premove/postmove longitudinal design, this research explores the linkage between the naturalness or restorativeness of the home environment and the cognitive functioning of 17 low-income urban children (aged 7–12 yrs). Both before and after relocation, objective measures of naturalness were used along with a standardized instrument (the Attention Deficit Disorders Evaluation Scale) measuring the children's cognitive functioning. Results show that children whose homes improved the most in terms of greenness following relocation also tended to have the highest levels of cognitive functioning following the move. The implications with respect to policy and design are also discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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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
We used a direct rating approach based on definitions of each construct to measure the four components of a restorative environment proposed by attention restoration theory (ART): being away, extent, fascination, and compatibility. We used the same approach to measure two criterion variables, perceived restorative potential (PRP) of a setting and preference for the setting, as well as four additional predictor variables (openness, visual access, movement ease, and setting care). Each participant rated 70 settings, 35 each from urban and natural environments, for only one of the variables. Mean ratings were higher for the natural than the urban settings for both criterion variables and all four restorative components, with differences significant in all cases except for fascination. Correlations across settings generally followed the predictions of ART, but collinearity appeared among several sets of variables, most notably being away and setting category, PRP and preference, and extent and fascination. Despite these problems, regression analysis showed that being away and compatibility predicted PRP and that the pattern of prediction for PRP and preference was somewhat different. r 2002 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd.
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Detection of change when one display of familiar objects replaces another display might be based purely upon visual codes, or also on identity information (i.e., knowingwhat was presentwhere in the initial display). Displays of 10 alphanumeric characters were presented and, after a brief offset, were presented again in the same position, with or without a change in a single character. Subjects’ accuracy in change detection did not suggest preservation of any more information than is usually available in whole report, except with the briefest of offsets (under 50 msec). Stimulus duration had only modest effects. The interaction of masking with offset duration followed the pattern previously observed with unfamiliar visual stimuli (Phillips, 1974). Accuracy was not reduced by reflection of the characters about a horizontal axis, suggesting that categorical information contributed negligibly. Detection of change appears to depend upon capacity-limited visual memory; (putative) knowledge of what identities are present in different display locations does not seem to contribute.
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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.
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This study is based on a theoretical view which suggests that under increased demands for attention, individuals' capacity to direct attention may become fatigued. Once fatigued, attentional restoration must occur in order to return to an effectively functioning state. An attention-restoring experience can be as simple as looking at nature. The purpose of this study was to explore whether university dormitory residents with more natural views from their windows would score better than those with less natural views on tests of directed attention. Views from dormitory windows of 72 undergraduate students were categorized into four groups ranging from all natural to all built. The capacity to direct attention was measured using a battery of objective and subjective measures. Natural views were associated with better performance on attentional measures, providing support for the proposed theoretical view.
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Among US writers on environmental aesthetics, it has become de rigueur to leverage Aldo Leopold’s legacy against the proliferation of “popular” landscape tastes, which are typically seen to have their origins in 17th–19th century European traditions of landscape painting and aesthetics. These writers regard victims of popular or “scenic” landscape tastes (exemplified by Olmsted’s Central Park) as intellectually shallow, motivated by momentary “sensory pleasures”, and passively and anthropocentrically drawn to “naturalistic” environments rather than actively and biocentrically engaged with natural environments. This implicit refusal to grant sensory information and affective processing the power to catalyze and inform serious reflection is not new; neither is the attribution of popular landscape aesthetics to the elite society of a limited culture and historical period surprising, given the current preponderance of post-modernist sensibilities. However, in the often highly-charged atmosphere of local environmental planning and management arenas, both positions are needlessly polemical. More importantly, there is good evidence to suggest that both positions are founded on misconceptions about how the human mind works. In this paper, we will review work that establishes the intellectual bona fides of visual imagery, the important contributions that emotions make to cognition, and the likelihood that explanations of environmental aesthetics rooted in European enlightenment-era landscape painting are inadequate. This review suggests that frequent calls for new normative environmental aesthetics based on a cognitive understanding of ecological sustainability are likely premature. As social scientists, we suggest that attempts to impose prescribed environmental aesthetics (albeit ecologically pure environmental aesthetics) are inappropriate and may well be self-defeating. Instead, we suggest that a thorough understanding of visual and non-visual environmental aesthetics is needed, including examinations of the possibility that affect elicited by scenic encounters with preferred landscapes can lead people to form emotional attachments to the land and thereby develop a greater appreciation for sustainability goals.
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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.
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Scholars spanning a variety of disciplines have studied the ways in which contact with natural environments may impact human well-being. We review the effects of such nature experience on human cognitive function and mental health, synthesizing work from environmental psychology, urban planning, the medical literature, and landscape aesthetics. We provide an overview of the prevailing explanatory theories of these effects, the ways in which exposure to nature has been considered, and the role that individuals' preferences for nature may play in the impact of the environment on psychological functioning. Drawing from the highly productive but disparate programs of research in this area, we conclude by proposing a system of categorization for different types of nature experience. We also outline key questions for future work, including further inquiry into which elements of the natural environment may have impacts on cognitive function and mental health; what the most effective type, duration, and frequency of contact may be; and what the possible neural mechanisms are that could be responsible for the documented effects.
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Previous research shows a positive link between the amount of green area in one's residential neighbourhood and self-reported health. However, little research has been done on the quality of the green area, as well as on quantity and quality of smaller natural elements in the streetscape. This study investigates the link between the objectively assessed quantity and quality of (1) green areas and (2) streetscape greenery on the one hand and three self-reported health indicators on the other. 80 Dutch urban neighbourhoods were selected, varying in the amount of nearby green area per dwelling, as determined by Geographic Information System analysis. The quality of green areas, as well as the quantity and quality of streetscape greenery, was assessed by observers using an audit tool. Residents of each neighbourhood were asked to complete a questionnaire on their own health (N=1641). In multilevel regression analyses, we examined the relationship between greenspace in