Article

Window view and relaxation: Viewing green space from a high-rise estate improves urban dwellers’ wellbeing

Authors:
  • College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Tongji University
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Abstract

The current challenges of urbanization and densification threaten the health of urban dwellers. Previous studies have shown that contact with; or perception of green spaces has beneficial impacts on human psychological wellbeing. However, residents and employees who live or work in high-rise buildings have little opportunity to access green spaces during working hours. We do not know whether viewing green space through a high-rise estate window can potentially contribute to the psychological wellbeing of urban dwellers. Thirty participants were randomly assigned to two offices, a window looking out onto urban space, or a window looking out onto green space from a wide-angle of the 21st floor of the Jin-Mao Tower. During visual stimulation, sensors took physiological measures of their stress levels by measuring Electroencephalography, heart rate variability, and skin conductance, while their psychological reactions were collected using Profile of Mood States and Semantic Differential Questionnaire. Results showed that compared with the urban space view; viewing green space through a high-rise window resulted in a significant increase in alpha wave power in the frontal and occipital lobes, a significant increase in parasympathetic activity; and a significant decrease in the skin conductance. Moreover; a significant increase in “comfortable”, “beautiful”, “attractive”, “relaxed”, and “cheerful’’ feelings, and a significant improvement in mood states. Window views can significantly lead to better mental health and psychological wellbeing for urban dwellers. The observed results highlight the significance of considering the window views in urban high-rise neighborhood planning and design.

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... EDA is often used to measure psychological or physiological arousal (Critchley, 2002). Previous studies have found that EDA is reduced when people are exposed to natural settings (Alvarsson et al., 2010;Hedblom et al., 2019;Elsadek et al., 2020). However, the inverse effect has been also found (Browning et al., 2020), suggesting that other variables or experimental factors may be contribute to the modulation of EDA in relation to the exposure to natural settings. ...
... A small number of studies have considered the use of more than one physiological measure to cross-validate their results across different methods. The recently published study of Elsadek et al. (2020) analyzed physiological activity using EDA and EEG on people looking outside a window facing urban or green spaces. It found a higher level of alpha waves over the frontal and occipital brain areas, and a decrease in skin conductance level. ...
... One limitation that is shared by many of these studies is the lack of a control or neutral condition when comparing the influence of natural and urban environments. The studies that focus on comparing urban and natural environment (see, e.g., Ulrich, 1981;Aspinall et al., 2015;Grassini et al., 2019;Elsadek et al., 2020) generally fail to answer the question whether the natural or the urban stimuli are responsible for the reduction/or increase of physiological arousal (e.g., indexed with EDA) and modulation of cognitive mechanisms (e.g., indexed using EEG). ...
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Various lines of evidence have shown that nature exposure is beneficial for humans. Despite several empirical findings pointing out to cognitive and emotional positive effects, most of the evidence of these effects are correlational, and it has been challenging to identify a cause-effect relationship between nature exposure and cognitive and emotional benefits. Only few of the published studies use psychophysiological methods to assess the biological correlates of these positive effects. Establishing a connection between human physiology and contact with natural settings is important for identifying cause-effect relationships between exposure to natural environments and the positive effects commonly reported in connection to nature exposure. In the present study, we recorded physiological indexes of brain activity (electroencephalography) and sympathetic nervous system (electrodermal activity), while the participants were presented with a series of videos displaying natural, urban, or neutral (non-environmental, computerized) scenes. Participants rated the scenes for their perceived relaxing value, and after each experimental condition, they performed a cognitive task (digit span backward). Participants rated natural videos as the most relaxing. Spectral analyses of EEG showed that natural scenes promoted alpha waves, especially over the central brain. The results suggest that experiencing natural environments virtually produces measurable and reliable brain activity markers which are known to be related to restorative processes.
... Kaplan (2001) found how residential views of nature contributed positively to neighborhood satisfaction and well-being in apartment communities in Michigan (USA) [25]. A study by Elsadek et al. (2020) found how, in high-rise buildings in Shanghai (China), windows with green space views contributed to psychological well-being [26]. In Bulgaria, Dzhambov et al. (2018) found beneficial effects from views of green and blue spaces relating to mental health in university students [27]. ...
... Kaplan (2001) found how residential views of nature contributed positively to neighborhood satisfaction and well-being in apartment communities in Michigan (USA) [25]. A study by Elsadek et al. (2020) found how, in high-rise buildings in Shanghai (China), windows with green space views contributed to psychological well-being [26]. In Bulgaria, Dzhambov et al. (2018) found beneficial effects from views of green and blue spaces relating to mental health in university students [27]. ...
... Although the Chi-square test showed independence between anxiety and depression and views of green spaces, using multiple linear regression identified that higher anxiety and depression levels were associated with the lack of green space views from home. Therefore, our results corroborates previous findings about the mental health benefits of having access to a green view from home [25,26,29]. ...
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Although a large body of research supports the theory that exposure to nature results in mental health benefits, research evidence on the effects of having a view of green space from home is still scarce. The aim of the present study is to assess the impact that access to a green space view from home has on anxiety and depression. This is a cross-sectional study extracting data from the “2018 Green Spaces, Daily Habits and Urban Health Survey” conducted in Carmona (Spain). The study included variables on sociodemographic and lifestyle, view of green spaces from home, self-perceived health status, and risk of anxiety and depression measured using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). Chi-square tests were used to assess variable’s associations and a multiple linear regression models used to identify the variables explaining the risk of anxiety and depression, taking into account sociodemographic characteristics, frequency of visits and view of green spaces from home. According to our results, adults who enjoy a view of green spaces from home have a lower risk of anxiety and depression.
... EEG measurement provides an objective measure of brain cortical activity and has been proposed as an ideal measure of relaxation [58]. EEG changes have reflected improved subjective mood states when viewing green environments [59,60], though results may vary and change with presentation method [61,62]. Few have gone beyond this to triangulate these measures with qualitative findings. ...
... Increased stress is associated with increased beta but reduced alpha frequencies [72], and with green exposure reducing beta frequency including when associated with traffic [73,74]. EEG changes in alpha, beta and gamma frequencies have been linked to changes in relaxation [59] and EEG has been proposed as an ideal measure of relaxation 'R-state' by Zhang et al. [58], with increases in relaxation reflecting restorative environments, such as increased alpha in response to passive viewing of rural images [73] and increased frontal and occipital alpha when viewing green rather than urban spaces [75]. Similarly, relaxed attentional states, as opposed to loss of attention and vigilance, have been associated with increased alpha and theta [61]. ...
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Improving the mental health of urban residents is a global public health priority. This study builds on existing work that demonstrates the ability of virtual exposure to restorative environments to improve population mental health. It compares the restorative effects of green, blue and historic environments delivered by both flat screen and immersive virtual reality technology, and triangulates data from psychological, physiological and qualitative sources. Results from the subjective measure analyses showed that exposures to all the experimental videos were associated with self-reported reduced anxiety and improved mood, although the historic environment was associated with a smaller reduction of anxiety (p < 0.01). These results were supported by the qualitative accounts. For two of the electroencephalography (EEG) frequency bands, higher levels of activity were observed for historic environments. In relation to the mode of delivery, the subjective measures did not suggest any effect, while for the EEG analyses there was evidence of a significant effect of technology across three out of four frequency bands. In conclusion, this study adds to the evidence that the benefits of restorative environments can be delivered through virtual exposure and suggests that virtual reality may provide greater levels of immersion than flat screen viewing.
... Elsadek, Liu [22] discovered that looking at the green field from a high-rise building can significantly increase the alpha waves of the brain's prefrontal and occipital lobes, which connect with occupants' physical and mental health. Lindemann-Matthies, Benkowitz [23] found that natural (greenery) views from windows are associated with less perceived stress and more attention. ...
... Hellinga [47] measured the daylight intensity as the reference for the analysis of long-term occupants' preferences of window views. Elsadek, Liu [22] used instruments to obtain brain wave, heart rate variability, skin potential, and other data while the workers and supervisors were asked to look through different high-rise windows on the spot. They then explored the correlation of contents in window views (green landscape and urban landscape) and mood relaxation (supported by physiological measurement). ...
Article
A high-quality window view plays an essential role in people's indoor life, and assessing the content of the window view is essential for evaluating view quality. Although many studies have evaluated specific view content preferences of occupants, only a few have lumped different quantitative and qualitative factors together. This study aims to assess occupants' window view preferences by quantitative and qualitative factors of view contents. We conduct a systematic study by providing 80 static photos of window views to the participants, selecting quantitative (i.e., natural feature ratio, artificial feature ratio, number of layers) and qualitative (i.e., presence of rule of thirds, horizontal layers, and far elements) window view descriptors, developing and administering questionnaires, and analyzing the obtained data. The findings reveal that the percentage of natural elements, including the sky and greenery, are highly correlated to occupants' subjective window view preference. In addition, the number of layers and the existence of far elements are also factors with more significant impacts.
... The sense of biologically-based beauty thus engendered arguably reflects the embodied cognition of the aesthetics of humankind's evolutionary landscape [8] (Chapter 6, pp. [152][153][154][155][156][157][158]. ...
... Although a good number of studies examine urban green spaces and planting, they appear to be more studies in correlation than causation. Typically, they make no mention of the (fractal) mathematics of perception, biophilia, and certainly not traditional design, even when they examine evidence linking urban design to emotional restoration and wellbeing [145][146][147][148][149][150][151][152][153][154][155][156][157]. Some of the most advanced research engages in the taxonomy of urban properties rather than the underlying perceptual causation regarding the human experience [158][159][160]. ...
Article
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This article reviews current research in visual urban perception. The temporal sequence of the first few milliseconds of visual stimulus processing sheds light on the historically ambiguous topic of aesthetic experience. Automatic fractal processing triggers initial attraction/avoidance evaluations of an environment’s salubriousness, and its potentially positive or negative impacts upon an individual. As repeated cycles of visual perception occur, the attractiveness of urban form affects the user experience much more than had been previously suspected. These perceptual mechanisms promote walkability and intuitive navigation, and so they support the urban and civic interactions for which we establish communities and cities in the first place. Therefore, the use of multiple fractals needs to reintegrate with biophilic and traditional architecture in urban design for their proven positive effects on health and well-being. Such benefits include striking reductions in observers’ stress and mental fatigue. Due to their costs to individual well-being, urban performance, environmental quality, and climatic adaptation, this paper recommends that nontraditional styles should be hereafter applied judiciously to the built environment.
... Nature contact is linked with individuals' health and well-being [5][6][7]. Several studies have found that humans exposed to nature have numerous psychological benefits (e.g., stress reduction, happiness, surgery recovery) as well as vascular disease reduction, increased physical exercise, and improved mental health [8][9][10][11]. A previous study explored the relationship between urban green space and well-being and found that people who ...
... Then, cleaned data were used to process the data. According to previous research [37], alpha waves (8)(9)(10)(11)(12) were evaluated in this study because they are closely related to human emotions and relaxation. Four prefrontal electrodes (AF3, AF4, F3, and F4) have been used to capture alpha relative wave power among the EEG electrodes. ...
Article
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The global spread of COVID-19 has disrupted the normality of people’s daily lives, leading the population to social distancing and isolation. The closure of green areas also affected the well-being of the individual during the COVID-19 pandemic. Viewing flowers is expected to have similar positive effects to viewing natural scenery. Therefore, this study investigates how white, red, and yellow flower colors affect individuals’ psychological and physiological well-being. The experiment was conducted in an office-like setting with 50 participants. Participants looked at each flower color for 3 min. Electroencephalograms (EEGs), heart rate variability, and skin conductivity were measured to evaluate physiological responses along with both the semantic differential questionnaire (SD) and the Profile of Mood States (POMS) to assess psychological responses. EEGs showed that the mean values of alpha relative power in the prefrontal lobe were significantly higher when viewing yellow and red flowers vs. white flowers. Furthermore, heart rate variability revealed that viewing yellow and red flowers increased parasympathetic nerve activity significantly. After viewing the yellow and red flowers, the average results for each subscale of the POMS questionnaire improved. The vigor (V) subscale and overall mood status values were significantly improved. The results of the SD method revealed that viewing yellow and red flowers resulted in a significantly higher sense of relaxation, cheerfulness, and comfort than viewing white flowers.
... In previous studies it has been shown that use of greenspace is lower for individuals in higher deprivation (Boyd et al., 2018), though this is not universal (Dallimer et al., 2014), and benefits of greenspace can be felt through passive (e.g. viewing) as well as active use (Cartwright et al., 2018;Elsadek et al., 2020;Kuo, 2001). Although social deprivation is linked to increased mental health disorders (Bell, 2014;Fryers et al., 2003;Weich et al., 2002), greenspace has been found to act as a buffer to some causes of mental health disorders, such as social deprivation (Cartwright et al., 2018). ...
... Higher population densities in areas surrounding greenspace in the UK were also associated with decreased marginal value of greenspace due to overcrowding (Perino et al., 2014) and greenspaces with higher perceived naturalness were associated with higher use (Ode Sang et al., 2016). Although direct use of greenspace is likely related to highest benefits, passive interactions, such as viewing greenspace out of the window or on a commute can also positively impact mental health (Cartwright et al., 2018;Elsadek et al., 2020;Kuo, 2001). The measures of quality in this instance likely differs from that of direct use (e.g. ...
Article
Urban greenspace is often associated with improved mental health, particularly in urban areas, with studies typically carried out at town or city scales. Population level models enable us to extend the understanding of the relationship between mental health and urban greenspace to the national level, with relevance to national level policy and funding decision making. We used linear mixed effects models to investigate the relationship between urban greenspace availability measured at two scales (immediate neighbourhood and within 30 minute walk) and prescription rates to treat mental health disorders across all Scottish settlements with over 10,000 residents. We incorporated socio-demographic and area-level covariates shown to be related to mental health and/or greenspace use and corrected for spatial autocorrelation and potential impacts of health boards. Within the immediate neighbourhood we estimated a significant relationship between mental health and urban greenspace in areas with high proportions of individuals identifying as part of a Black and Minority Ethnic group and/or a high proportion of households deprived in more than two dimensions. In these areas higher greenspace was associated with lower prescription rates. When considering greenspace within 30 minute walk, no significant relationship was estimated between greenspace and mental health disorders. Our results highlight that the relationship between greenspace and mental health relies not only on the presence of greenspace itself, but also on the characteristics of the population using the greenspace. Although aggregated secondary data does not allow us to make inferences around an individual’s relationship to greenspace, population level models as presented here provide valuable information to urban and land use planning, where decisions are taken at the population level.
... The reports from participants regarding perceived stress level did not show a significant difference between having and not having a window with natural views [107] Physiological, Questionnaire BEA, HR, EDA Natural Views Experimental 30 ...
... More recently, a study that randomly assigned participants to two different offices-one with a window opened onto a green area and another one with a window looking out onto an urban built space-similarly observed an increase in frontal and occipital alpha waves for the nature exposure scenario (70). Also exploring the view from windows but using rather photographs taken at different heights (and considering various amounts of built space and vegetation), Olszewska-Guizzo and colleagues (71) found similar greater (right-side) frontal alpha power for the highest amount of green-space-but only at a certain height of view (12th floor compared to 3rd, 6th, and 24th floors). ...
Article
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Background Cities are becoming the socio-economic hubs for most of the world’s population. Understanding how our surroundings can mentally affect everyday life has become crucial to integrate environmental sustainability into urban development. The present review aims to explore the empirical studies investigating neural mechanisms underlying cognitive and emotional processes elicited by the exposure to different urban built and natural spaces. It also tries to identify new research questions and to leverage neurourbanism as a framework to achieve healthier and sustainable cities. Methods By following the PRISMA framework, we conducted a structured search on PubMed, ProQuest, Web of Science, and Scopus databases. Only articles related to how urban environment–built or natural–affects brain activity through objective measurement (with either imaging or electrophysiological techniques) were considered. Further inclusion criteria were studies on human adult populations, peer-reviewed, and in English language. Results Sixty-two articles met the inclusion criteria. They were qualitatively assessed and analyzed to determine the main findings and emerging concepts. Overall, the results suggest that urban built exposure (when compared to natural spaces) elicit activations in brain regions or networks strongly related to perceptual, attentional, and (spatial) cognitive demands. The city’s-built environment also triggers neural circuits linked to stress and negative affect. Convergence of these findings was observed across neuroscience techniques, and for both laboratory and real-life settings. Additionally, evidence also showed associations between neural social stress processing with urban upbringing or current city living–suggesting a mechanistic link to certain mood and anxiety disorders. Finally, environmental diversity was found to be critical for positive affect and individual well-being. Conclusion Contemporary human-environment interactions and planetary challenges imply greater understanding of the neurological underpinnings on how the urban space affects cognition and emotion. This review provides scientific evidence that could be applied for policy making on improved urban mental health. Several studies showed that high-quality green or blue spaces, and bio-diverse urban areas, are important allies for positive neural, cognitive, and emotional processes. Nonetheless, the spatial perception in social contexts (e.g., city overcrowding) deserves further attention by urban planners and scientists. The implications of these observations for some theories in environmental psychology and research are discussed. Future work should take advantage of technological advancements to better characterize behavior, brain physiology, and environmental factors and apply them to the remaining complexity of contemporary cities.
... Adding one to three green plants to the office table facilitates employees' productivity, focused attention, and stress reduction, hence promoting well-being (123). Designing offices with outdoor natural window views promotes work productivity (124), and equipping green areas in the community promotes dwellers' sense of belonging and attachment (76). As a result, naturebased interventions in the workplace have been advocated as a cost-effective strategy for promoting employee health (121). ...
Article
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Within environmental psychology, the restorative environment is receiving increasing attention due to its favorable impact on people's mental recovery, stress reduction, and psychophysiological well-being. Flow theory, as one of the foundations of positive psychology, is a popular theoretical framework for understanding human flourishing and well-being. The restorative environment is suggested to facilitate flow experience and city identity from the perspective of positive environmental psychology. Nonetheless, systematic research investigating them all together can hardly be traced. Thus, through a preliminary review of 169 relevant studies retrieved from the data source, this work proposes a novel theoretical model in which people's interactions within the restorative environment facilitate their experience of flow and perceived city identity. Additionally, this research provides conceptual guidance for city workers to engage in nature-based intervention and leisure therapy for improved well-being. Overall, this review endeavors to contribute to developing urban workers' restoration, happiness, and well-being from both practical and theoretical perspectives.
... Recent physiological research has focused on the role of green and outdoor spaces on heart rate variability (HRV), a stress and anxiety biomarker that demonstrates the beat-to-beat intervals of participant heart rate . Studies have shown benefits on HRV from both passive (Elsadek et al. 2020) and active (walking) exposure (Hystad and Cusack 2019) to green spaces, an effect supported in a recent meta-analysis (Mygind et al. 2021) which demonstrated both seated and walking exposure to green spaces resulted in HRV benefits over that of control conditions. Both Stress Reduction Theory and Attention Restoration Theory demonstrate potential mechanisms for the restorative effects of nature, but there is a need for advancing research paradigms that blend cognitive, physiological and other psychological (e.g. ...
Article
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Research indicates benefits to psychophysiological wellbeing from walking in urban green space compared to other built settings. This study builds on research in older adults extending the protocol to healthy adults (n = 40, mean age = 42 years) exploring the impacts of walking in varying environmental conditions on psychophysiological outcomes (mood, working-memory and heart rate variability (HRV)). Participants undertook a short (20–30 minute) walk in both an urban green and gray setting, one week apart, with varying levels of air pollution and heat. Walking in the urban green setting increased positive mood and HRV (suggesting positive impact on physiological stress) and decreased self-reported stress and arousal. Thermal sensation in the urban green setting was lower compared to the urban gray setting. Our results build on evidence that there are potential beneficial effects of urban green settings with respect to heat and particulate matter (PM2.5). These results show psychophysiological benefits of short walks within urban green settings, during the pandemic, which has implications for public health and how we engage with our local environments for physical activity.
... Further, open green spaces such as forests, parks, and large gardens are related to a wide range of positive health and well-being outcomes such as reduced diastolic blood pressure and cortisol, as well as improved subjective happiness and positive mood (Elsadek, Liu, & Xie, 2020;Lehberger & Kleih, 2021). However, rapid urbanization has seen opportunities to engage with nature significantly reduced, with many individuals spending 80-90% of their time indoors devoid of nature (Han & Ruan, 2019). ...
... Some studies also support this conclusion that people generally prefer to immerse themselves in nature rather than in the city [45,46], possibly because different landscapes have different physiological and psychological effects on people. Compared with urban space view, viewing green space through window resulted in a significant increase in parasympathetic activity and a significant improvement in subjective emotional states [47]. Studies have proved that green spaces and blue spaces (including water features such as oceans, lakes and rivers) have a positive impact on stress relief, quality of life and well-being [48,49]. ...
Article
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Windows are the communication medium between indoor and outdoor, but their influence and the corresponding landscape outside the window are often ignored due to the outdoor frequent activities of people. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been a better choice to show the window performance, especially for the anxiety level alleviation of people isolated at home. A national survey was conducted on the anxiety of self-separation people and the window influence. The results showed that the average anxiety level was 1.54, between a little anxious and anxious, due to the COVID-19. The best satisfaction with the landscape outside the window was waterscape (2.98), followed by green plants (2.33) and buildings (0.83). During the COVID-19, the average number of overlook times increased by 1.49 times/day, which is higher 0.42 ties/day than the normal condition. The landscape types had the certain influence on the overlook frequency, the window opening times and even the anxiety level. The average anxiety levels are 1.36 and 1.68 with natural landscapes and human landscapes, respectively. Optimizing the landscapes outside the window plays an important role in alleviating the anxiety of residents and improving their mental health.
... Annoyance, as the most common result of aural discomfort is associated with high levels of perceived stress (Jensen et al., 2018), indicating the importance of a suitable acoustic environment in which to live and/or work (Mui and Wong, 2006). Similarly, Codinhoto et al. (2009) andElsadek et al. (2020) argue that well-designed lighting and high-quality window views (e.g., of urban and green spaces) can contribute to positive physical, physiological, and psychological health. For indoor air quality, exposure to PM 2.5 , toxins and malodorous pollutants often directly or indirectly lead to negative mental states (e.g., anxiety) (Oiamo et al., 2015;Power et al., 2015;Beemer et al., 2019). ...
Article
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Tackling mental health has become a priority for governments around the world because it influences not only individuals but also the whole society. As people spend a majority of their time (i.e., around 90%) in buildings, it is pivotal to understand the relationship between built environment and mental health, particularly during COVID-19 when people have experienced recurrent local and national lockdowns. Despite the demonstration by previous research that the design of the built environment can affect mental health, it is not clear if the same influence pattern remains when a ‘black swan’ event (e.g., COVID-19) occurs. To this end, we performed logistic regression and hierarchical regression analyses to examine the relationship between built environment and mental health utilising a data sample from the United Kingdom (UK) residents during the COVID-19 lockdown while considering their social demographics. Our results show that compared with depression and anxiety, people were more likely to feel stressed during the lockdown period. Furthermore, general house type, home workspace, and neighbourhood environment and amenity were identified to have significantly contributed to their mental health status. With the ensuing implications, this study represents one of the first to inform policymakers and built environment design professionals of how built environment should be designed to accommodate features that could mitigate mental health problems in any future crisis. As such, it contributes to the body of knowledge of built environment planning by considering mental health during the COVID-19 lockdown.
... Biophilic design has been associated with many physiological and psychological benefits. For example, indoor plants and flowers have been found by multiple researchers to enhance concentration and work performance outcomes (Nieuwenhuis et al., 2014;Raanaas et al., 2011), promote relaxation and improve mood (Elsadek et al., 2020) and reduce stress and feelings of anxiousness (Yin et al., 2020). Yin et al. (2020) found through a virtual experiment that participants that viewed an office with different biophilic elements had better recovery responses after stressors than those that viewed a nonbiophilic environment. ...
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to investigate a holistic way of incorporating biophilic building design that creates a restorative environment attractive to prospective urban hotel employees. This study additionally examines the role of perceived well-being from nature attributes and associated impacts on emotions and likelihood to choose to work for a hotel with nature attributes. Design/methodology/approach This study used a conjoint analysis to detect the most resotrative individual and combinations of biophilic attributes that can improve employee well-being. In addition, nature attributes influence on emotions and intentions to work for a hotel were analyzed. Findings Results showed that not all nature attributes are equally evaluated by urban hotel prospective employees. In this study, the authors found that natural lighting, outdoor green views and indoor landscaping are important factors in the evaluation of an urban hotel with biophilic features. However, this tendency varies when the sample was divided by prospective employees’ who perceived higher or lower levels of well-being would be influenced by nature attributes. Originality/value Unlike previous studies, the authors tested a multiattribute design and results demonstrate the perceived restorative effect of nature attributes in an environment on prospective employees. In addition to extending the biophilic design in hospitality literature, the authors provide practical suggestions to urban hotels incorporating biophilic design and propose that specific elements have the propensity to enhance the well-being of prospective employees and reinforce positive emotions and intentions to work for urban hotels that incorporate them.
... This type of research entails selected human indicators of visual perception, such as eye-tracking visual indicators (fixation frequency, average fixation time, and saccade frequency) 27,40,41 . In addition, other physiological indicators, such as brain waves, skin conductivity, blood pressure, respiratory rate and electroencephalograms (EEGs), were used to evaluate the impact of different forest colors on human subjects 37,42,43 . Psychological associations and symbols 44 and other psychological indicators from various psychological scales have also been examined 45,46 . ...
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Urban expansion leads to changes in the visual aesthetic quality and ecological degradation of the surrounding slope forest landscapes. Color is a crucial visual element to examine when viewing this large-scale slope forest landscape from a long distance. This is particularly true for the autumn color of slope forest, which is very attractive to the public. An exploration of the relationship between the change in color of a natural slope forest and its visual aesthetic quality enables the implementation of the configuration of superior aesthetic tree species. Therefore, it can provide aesthetic rules and a reference to configure local tree species to support their visual aesthetic quality, ecological sustainability and native biodiversity restoration in a local urban slope forest. However, such research is critically lacking. This study investigated the visual aesthetic quality of the color dynamics of a natural slope forest in Jiaozi Mountain, China in the autumn. We analyzed both the composition of tree species and the changes in color for each species of tree in nine forest sites that exhibited superior visual aesthetic quality. The results showed that the forests with superior visual aesthetic quality were more green, red, and yellow, had moderately higher saturation and value, more obvious color contrast, and diverse colors with primary and secondary contrast. Diverse and balanced color patches or a dominant color patch contrasted by many small patches with interspersed color components also highlighted the superior visual aesthetic quality of slope forest features. Different combinations of color features can result in high visual aesthetic quality. The 84 tree species in the superior visual aesthetic quality forests primarily displayed 10 types of color changes that varied as green, yellow, blue, red, withered yellow, withered red and gray.
... Windows play a crucial role in determining visual comfort by providing views to the outside and spatial comfort through ventilation for the occupants [1] and introducing natural light. Today, curtain walls are becoming increasingly popular for aesthetic reasons, as most people prefer office space with a view [2]. In typical residential buildings, large windows or balcony windows without railings are often installed in living rooms for visual comfort. ...
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Energy loss through windows can be high relatively compared to other opaque surfaces because insulation performance of fenestration parts is lower in the building envelope. Electrically heated window systems are used to improve the indoor environment, prevent condensation, and increase building energy efficiency. The purpose of this study is to analyze the thermal behaviors of a heated window under a field experiment condition. Experiments were conducted during the winter season (i.e., January and February) with the energy-efficient house that residents occupy. To collect measured data from the experimental house, temperature and heat flux meter sensors were used for the analysis of heat flow patterns. Such measured data were used to calculate heat gain ratios and compare temperature and dew point distribution profiles of heated windows with input power values under the changed condition in the operating temperature of the heated glazing. Results from this study indicated that the input average heat gain ratio was analyzed to be 75.2% in the south-facing and 83.8% in the north-facing at nighttime. Additionally, compared to January, reducing the operating temperature of the heated glazing by 3 °C decreased the input energy in February by 44% and 41% for the south-facing and north-facing windows, respectively. Through such field measurement study, various interesting results that could not be found in controlled laboratory chamber conditions were captured, indicating that the necessity of establishing various control strategies should be considered for the development and commercialization of heated windows.
... Schmidt and Säumel [31] say that in Berlin high-rise housing estates, vegetation is perceived as an extremely positive factor, trees more than groups of shrubs. The view of green spaces from a high-rise housing estate improves the well-being of city dwellers [32]. Kley and Dovbishchuk [11] even found that the absence of green elements in the window view in urban areas increases the likelihood of considering a move. ...
Article
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The view from the window is an important parameter of living comfort. Previous studies have defined several important characteristics of views, but there are very few studies that addressed window views in dense urban environments and their influence on the perceptual elements of the view. The scope of the study was to define the influence of design elements in window views that can trigger negative reactions from viewers. In our study the questionnaire survey was used as a method for obtaining the research data. A group of architecture students who participated as respondents selected different reactions to views and reasons for such responses. Only the window views that received poor responses were further investigated. The results were statistically analyzed according to the most frequent responses and the variability of responses. The homogeneity of the groups of responses as well as the groups of reasons was tested using the Fischer-Snedercor test. The analysis showed that the negative response to a window view depends not only on the short distance between the buildings, but also on the visual aesthetics, especially the composition quality, the surface characteristics and the maintenance of the observed building. The results show that interventions, especially natural elements such as vegetation, can increase the dynamics of the window view.
... An important element among human factors is the visual reference system. Windows are essential in ordinary life, and observations demonstrate how the presence of windows improves human well-being [33,34]. The fact that astronauts spend a lot of their free time in the Cupola of the International Space Station (ISS) is a clear manifest to that [35]. ...
Chapter
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This chapter discusses regolith utilization in habitat construction mainly from the point of view of radiation protection of humans on missions of long duration. It also considers other key properties such as structural robustness, thermal insulation, and micrometeoroid protection that all have to be considered in parallel when proposing regolith-based solutions. The biological hazards of radiation exposure on the Moon are presented and put in the context of lunar exploration-type missions and current astronaut career dose limits. These factors guide the research in radiation protection done with lunar regolith simulants, which are used in research and development activities on Earth due to the reduced accessibility of returned lunar samples. The ways in which regolith can be used in construction influence its protective properties. Areal density, which plays a key role in the radiation shielding capacity of a given material, can be optimized through different regolith processing techniques. At the same time, density will also affect other important properties of the construction, e.g. thermal insulation. A comprehensive picture of regolith utilization in habitat walls is drawn for the reader to understand the main aspects that are considered in habitat design and construction while maintaining the main focus on radiation protection.
... However, given that there are safety concerns and staffing issues with residents' garden use and visits (Weerasuriya et al., 2019), it is important to understand whether visual exposure to greenery is associated with residents' psychological well-being. Greenery views from buildings (high-rise apartment, office building) have been shown to be associated with occupants' mental well-being (Elsadek et al., 2020;Gilchrist et al., 2015). However, there is little research examining views of greenery in the RACF settings. ...
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Objectives This study examined associations of objectively measured views of greenery in residential aged care facilities (RACFs) with changes in multiple psychological well-being measures among residents who were newly admitted to RACFs. Methods Data were collected from 52 residents (mean age: 84, 73% women) of 13 RACFs, located in Melbourne, Australia. The outcomes were changes in depression, stress, anxiety, and quality of life (QoL) between baseline and 8-week follow-up. The exposure measures were the amount and presence of greenery visible from participant’s bedroom and common areas (lounge, dining). Greenery was categorized as being either within or beyond the RACF perimeter. Results Regression analyses found that greenery visible from participant’s bedroom was not associated with any outcomes. The amount of greenery visible from common areas within the RACF perimeter was adversely related to stress, unexpectedly: Each additional 1 m ² of greenery was associated with a greater increase in stress ( b = 0.05; 95% CI [0.07, 0.94]). However, greenery visible from common areas beyond the perimeter contributed favorably to stress and QoL. The presence of such greenery was associated with a lower increase in stress ( b = −3.99; 95% CI [−7.75, −0.23]; reference: no greenery), and a 1 m ² increment was associated with a greater increase in QoL ( b = 0.07; 95% CI [0.02, 0.11]). Conclusion Views of greenery outside of the RACF from lounge and dining areas may be protective against residents’ stress increase and improve their QoL. Locating residents in areas with such outdoor views may prevent their psychological condition from worsening.
... Green infrastructure is an important component of the built urban environment and confers many localised benefits such as reducing air pollution [1] and providing opportunities for relaxation [2]. Trees play a prominent role in the provision of these Ecosystem Services (ES) [3] and are a key feature of nature-based solutions, which are increasingly being used by municipalities to adapt cities to climate change and increase the liveability of cities for the worlds growing urban populations. ...
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Modern urban lifestyles have most likely generated a loss of awareness of the bio-cultural benefits derived from the presence of trees and forests in cities. The present study aimed at understanding the level of awareness and the ability to express significant relationships, both positive and negative, on ecosystem services and disservices by the citizens of a Mediterranean city where thermal comfort during the summer period can be particularly problematic. A questionnaire consisting of multiple-choice and open-ended questions was disseminated to citizens of Florence, Italy. The open questions allowed respondents space to describe what they perceive are the benefits and disbenefits of urban trees. Meanwhile, geospatial and climate data were processed in order to check the vegetation and microclimate conditions of the city areas where the 592 respondents live. The vast majority of respondents felt Florence is unbearably hot in summer with 93% agreeing the city needs more trees, and shaded places were perceived as the most important feature of urban green space. The results reveal many positive and negative associations to different species of trees and bring out a rich mosaic of perceptions towards urban green spaces and the features they contain. People are generally aware of a wide range of the benefits trees provide to communities and a good knowledge of the microclimate modification properties was revealed. Many of the popular public tree genera in the city, such as Tilia, Platanus and Pinus were favoured by residents however there was some overlap with trees that provoke negative experiences, and this information can be useful to city planners aiming to maximise ecosystem services and minimise ecosystem disservices.
... Bottom-up explanations draw on research that shows that physical features of places can foster or hinder restoration. Relevant coarse features uncovered to date are views (Elsadek, Liu, & Xie, 2020;Lee, Williams, Sargent, Williams, & Johnson, 2015;Masoudinejad & Hartig, 2020), the presence of green and blue elements (Lindal & Hartig, 2015;Nordh, Hartig, Hagerhall, & Fry, 2009;White et al., 2010), other people (Carrus et al., 2015;Nordh, Alalouch, & Hartig, 2011) and traffic (Peschardt, Stigsdotter, & Schipperrijn, 2014). Personal objects can also trigger positive psychological reactions and might be of particular relevance in indoor places such as the home (Bornioli, Parkhurst, & Morgan, 2018b;Korpela, 1989), although most research so far has focused on outdoor settings. ...
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Most studies on psychological restoration and favorite places have addressed restoration in green or blue outdoor settings whereas the interest around built and indoor settings has been scarce. In this study, we analyzed restorative experiences in favorite indoor and outdoor urban places using a top-down approach by including psycho-environmental variables (nature and urban orientedness, place bonding) and personality traits (Big Five). A sample of 945 university students and staff recruited in 5 western countries (Finland, Spain, The Netherlands, UK and Australia) answered an online questionnaire. In the linear regression models, perceived restorative potential, place attachment and place identification were the strongest predictors of subjective restoration. Personality traits did not play a significant role in restorative experiences. This work extends restoration research by considering the role of indoor, as well as outdoor environments and highlights the role of certain top-down characteristics in restorative experiences.
... In nature and well-being research, the Positive Affect and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) is often used [40]. It is used to assess positive and negative effects, with each category consisting of 10 items (POSITIVE: alert, involved, alert, excited, enthusiastic, determined, motivated, proud, interested, and healthy) and (NEGATIVE: aggressive, irritable, embarrassed, guilty, distressed, angry, frightened, afraid, jittery, and nervous). ...
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Background: People benefit from the recreational services provided by an urban corridor, urban park, and urban forest. Due to ongoing land-use interest and urban development, however, these natural environments are coming under increasing pressure. Simultaneously, the world is becoming increasingly urbanised, and living in cities has been linked to mental health issues. On the other hand, different natural environments are known to create healthier environments, and the need for effective restorative environments has never been greater. The purpose of the study was to compare the impacts of walking in different natural environments. Methods: I) Kota Damansara Community Forest Reserve, II) Mutiara Damansara Recreational Park, and III) the Urban Green Corridor along Jalan PJU 7/7 were used as control study sites in this study. Each site was visited only once by the study participants (40 women and 40 men). Walking for 30 min was a part of the experiment. To identify the psychological effects of different natural environments, the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale (DASS21), Profile of Mood States (POMS), Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS), and Restoration Outcome Scale (ROS) were utilised. Results: In all three natural environments, the restorative effects were found to increase significantly. Conclusion: The overall conclusion of the field experiment is that being in an urban green corridor can also provide a refreshing environment. In terms of stress reduction among working adults, the recreational park is sufficient, while urban-forested areas are more effective in improving mental health by minimising stress, anxiety, and depression.
... Table 2.3 shows the range of scores for a different level of perceived stress. Restoration Outcome Scale (ROS) is another reliable measurement for evaluating people's psychological responses (beneficial outcomes) to nature (Bielinis et al., 2018;Elsadek et al., 2020). It is based on the scales developed by Hartig et al. (1998) and Staats et al. (2003) and finalised by Korpela et al. (2008). ...
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This research examined the psychological (perceived restoratives, emotion, stress, and mood) and physiological (blood pressure readings) effects of short-range visits to urban environments. Ninety participants visited two urban areas; Bukit Jalil Urban Park (a green space) and Bukit Jalil Urban Street (an urban a built-up city centre as a controlled environment) located in a tropical city Kuala Lumpur. Participants took a 20-minute leisure walk along the given routes in both the study areas. The findings indicate that the urban park has had an overall rehabilitative impact in contrast to the built-up environment. Overall, the positive emotion has increased, and mood disturbance has decreased in the metropolitan green area after the field experiment. The findings demonstrate that even short-term visits to urban parks decidedly influence stress reduction compared to an urban built-up city centre. However, both systolic and diastolic blood pressures decreased insignificantly after walking in the park. Similar variables such as their mental and physiological measures on other urban societies (i.e., working adults, population with hypertension, and their encounters) concerning the effect of a short walk with green ecology should be studied further.
... mixed or natural) showed lower odds for symptoms of depression and anxiety and reported a more positive emotional situation during lockdown than individuals with urban or no views. These results are consistent with previous studies that reported a more positive mood in urban dwellers exposed to greenspaces through window (Elsadek et al., 2020) and how individuals exposed to natural environments were able to recover from a stressful situation faster than individuals exposed to urban settings (Ulrich et al., 1991). Finally, the effect of different view types on emotions, only significant during lockdown, suggested that the effect of indirect contact with nature (e.g. ...
Article
There is growing evidence that ecosystem services and especially the exposure to the natural world (blue-green spaces) have potential benefits for mental health and well-being. The COVID-19 pandemic and the measures adopted to control it provide a natural experiment to investigate the links between nature exposure and mental health under extreme conditions. Using a survey distributed online, we tested the following hypotheses: 1) People will show greater symptoms of depression and anxiety under lockdown conditions that did not allow contact with outdoor nature spaces; 2) Where access to public outdoor nature spaces was strictly restricted, (2a) those with green/blue nature view or (2b) access to private outdoor spaces such as a garden or balcony will show fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety, and a more positive mood. Based on 5,218 responses from 9 countries, we found that lockdown severity significantly affected mental health, while contact with nature helped people to cope with these impacts, especially for those under strict lockdown. People under strict lockdown in Spain (3,403 responses), perceived that nature helped them to cope with lockdown measures; and emotions were more positive among J o u r n a l P r e-p r o o f Journal Pre-proof individuals with accessible outdoor spaces and blue-green elements in their views. These findings can help decision-makers in developing potential future lockdown measures to mitigate the negative impacts, helping people to be more resilient and maintain better mental health, using the benefits that ecosystem services are providing us. Keywords Ecosystem services, nature"s contributions to people, anxiety, depression, green-blue infrastructure J o u r n a l P r e-p r o o f Journal Pre-proof
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As a major component of social acceptance, visual impact is often considered a significant constraint in solar applications. Visual impact assessment of solar applications, however, has been limited to pedestrians in previous studies. The extent to which PV systems can have visual impacts on occupants and whether it is necessary to include occupants in the measurement of visual impact remains uncertain. To fill this gap, we extended it from pedestrians to occupants and proposed a quantitative method to integrate pedestrians and occupants into a framework, combining the estimation of solar potential for the feasibility assessment of PV applications in a built environment. The concept is tested with a real case, located in Qingdao city, China, to present the technical flowchart for the feasibility assessment of solar PV deployments with the visual constraint. Building surfaces with qualified solar irradiation and low visibility were identified and compared in two cases, that is, with and without the inclusion of occupants as the visual constraint. The comparison results show that the change of suitable building surfaces for solar applications is 172,306 m ² (21% of suitable area) and 126 GWh (19% of yield energy) across the study area, indicating the significance of including occupants in the visibility assessment for the deployment of solar applications. The proposed method considers the visual constraint for the feasibility assessment of solar applications from the perspective of pedestrians and occupants, and it is helpful to identify the suitable surfaces for the large-scale deployment of solar applications at an early planning stage of solar city.
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Urban green spaces, and green infrastructure more generally, provide multiple benefits that can enhance urban livability and sustainability. These range from the mitigation of air pollution and urban heat island (UHI) effect, to multi-dimensional benefits to human wellbeing and biodiversity. However, the expansion of urban green spaces is not always feasible in many cities. In such urban contexts, there have been proposals to utilize rooftops as green roofs in order to gain some of these benefits. This study spatially identifies areas where roofs have the potential to provide different types of benefits associated with urban green spaces if they are retrofitted with green roofs. Through a GIS-based approach we catalogue available roof space in Sumida ward in Tokyo for green roof implementation, and subsequenlty evaluate the potential of each roof patch to offer four types of benefits if retrofitted with a green roof, namely UHI effect mitigation, air pollution mitigation, and benefits to subjective wellbeing and biodiversity. Approximately 25% of the total roof surface in Sumida ward can potentially be used for green roof implementation. Furthermore, about 5.2% and 59% of this area has a respectively high and moderate potential to provide all four benefits if retrofitted with green roofs. This could increase the extent of green spaces by 10% and 120% respectively across the Sumida ward. In this sense, green roofs can become a major element of green infrastructure with ripple positive effects for urban livability and sustainability through the provision of UHI effect and air pollution mitigation, and benefits to subjective wellbeing and biodiversity.
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Background Regular physical activity can help prevent noncommunicable diseases, and improve mental health, quality of life, and well-being. ‘Green exercise’ is physical activity performed in natural settings such as parks and open green spaces. It is important to understand whether green exercise can provide additional physiological benefits over and above those of physical activity in urban environments. This pilot study compared the acute effects of a 30-min walk in a green environment to a 30-min walk in urban streets on adults’ heart rate and salivary cortisol. Methods Using a 2 × 2 randomised cross-over design, groups of 2–5 adults completed two experimental sessions involving a randomly assigned walk in an urban or a green environment. Heart rate and salivary cortisol were collected at regular intervals before, during, and in the 1.5 h following the walks and were compared within and between participants. Peak height, reactivity, area under the curve with respect to ground (AUCg) and area under the curve with respect to increase (AUCi), were also calculated for heart rate and cortisol and compared between walking conditions. Results The sample included 20 participants (50 % female, mean =24.4 ± 4.0 years). Changes in heart rate (Condition × Time: F[5.8, 103.8]=1.67, p = 0.140) or cortisol (Condition × Time: F[2.6, 49.5]=0.81, p = 0.482) in response to walking were not statistically significantly different between the urban and green walking conditions. There were also no statistically significant differences in heart rate or salivary cortisol for the peak height of the response, reactivity, or AUCi or AUCg between the urban and green walking conditions. Conclusion Our findings suggest that physical exertion is the main driver of the acute physiological response to walking. Notwithstanding psychological benefits reported elsewhere, the acute physiological response to walking was not influenced by the green compared with the urban environment in the current study. Further research is warranted to understand the longer-term effects of regular green exercise.
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Nature’s mental health benefits are well-established in the literature, but there is little research on which types and characteristics of urban greenery are most relevant for mental well-being in general, and during the COVID-19 pandemic in particular. This study examined the link between having a (green) garden or a green view from the main window of the home, as well as the perceived quantity and quality of neighbourhood green areas and streetscape greenery, and the self-reported change in mental well-being since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Adults residing in the Netherlands (N = 521, 67% female) completed an online survey in December 2020 and January 2021. It included items on the frequency of contact with the aforementioned outdoor spaces, as well as their quantity, natural features, and quality. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that the quantity of the greenery mattered, but the quality was more strongly associated with well-being. In particular, well-maintained, attractive, and varied streetscape greenery was just as relevant as a garden with diverse plants. This beneficial association between streetscape greenery and mental well-being was stronger for female participants. Understanding the benefits of the different types and characteristics of urban greenery, and who they are most relevant for, can assist policymakers and planners in designing cities that promote health and resilience.
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Background: During the pandemic of covid-19 Hong Kong lead one of the world’s longest and most stringent quarantine measures. Aims: To examine cross-sectionally (i) the relationship between the duration of mandatory hotel quarantine and mental health outcomes; (ii) whether indirect contact with nature and lifestyle factors (i.e., diet, sleep, exercises, social support, and sense of meaning), mitigated this relationship. Methods: A group of 248 participants under 14 or 21-day mandatory hotel quarantine in Hong Kong completed an online questionnaire that included quarantine and lifestyle-related questions, as well as mental health outcome measures. Results: For those under a 21-day quarantine, there was a significant effect of the week of quarantine on the level of depressive symptoms (PHQ-4), which peaked in Week 2. Worse quality of sleep, a lower sense of meaning, and a longer set (but not completed) duration of quarantine were predictors of worse mental health outcomes. The positive relationship between the day of quarantine and the level of perceived stress (PSS-4) was moderated by the indirect contact with nature. Conclusion: The results shed light on the potential negative impact of prolonged periods of quarantine on mental health outcomes and the possible protective factors.
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The level of tree species diversity in urban tree populations can have serious implications for urban forest resilience and has a direct impact on ecosystem functioning at the local level. Few studies have measured the relationship between tree species diversity and vulnerability in UK urban forests. This study analysed the species composition, species diversity and the vulnerability to pests and diseases of 10,149 public trees in the London borough of Westminster across three land use types: housing, parks, and highways. Tree species diversity was significantly different across these land use types (Shannon’s diversity index (H) was 2.47 for housing sites, 1.63 for parks and 0.83 for highways) and we found that higher diversity appears to result in reduced vulnerability, evidenced by negative correlations between tree species diversity and susceptibility to pests and diseases. A stronger negative correlation was found between vulnerability and species richness than between vulnerability and Gini-Simpson’s diversity index. Our study reinforces the role of biodiversity indices in establishing and monitoring baseline levels of UK urban tree diversity. Our findings may inform future tree planting projects, help to ensure that development does not negatively affect urban tree diversity and inform proactive strategies for urban trees to contribute to wider biodiversity conservation.
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COVID-19 has had economic, social and environmental impacts worldwide. Governments have adopted containment measures to limit the spread of the virus. Urban green spaces (UGSs) were included among the non-essential activities and were consequently closed during the lockdown periods in some countries. This study analysed tweets posted by users to understand the citizens' perception and sentiment in relation to the closure of UGS in Italy. Results revealed that people felt a strong deprivation feeling in relation to the restrictions imposed on UGS access, which limited the number of spaces for supporting mental and physical wellbeing of citizens. Users from urban areas were more affected by the lockdowns and more willing to share thoughts on social media, demonstrating a strong emotionality. Furthermore, findings show that users seemed concerned about their children's health, expressing awareness about the benefits of being in contact with nature. UGS is able to provide services to citizens, and close-to-home parks are fundamental for the community, in particular during a health emergency. The implementation of urban design, which includes green areas to support health and environment challenges, should be addressed by policy-makers to create opportunities for a green and resilient recovery of cities, and prepare for future emergencies.
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Although rapid global urbanization improves people in many ways, it also increases the prevalence of major mental disorders in urban communities. Exposure to natural surroundings, whether real or virtual, on the other hand, has been found to reduce arousal and stress. The purpose of this study is to provide an overview of the existing literature on how brain function changes when exposed to natural and urban settings. As a highly effective technique for determining human brain activity, this review considers literature using neuroimaging techniques, i.e., electroencephalography (EEG), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). SCOPUS and PubMed were searched for peer-reviewed literature published prior to September 2021. Twenty-six sources were included, returning 263 papers; 18 empirical articles published from 1991 to 2021 were included in the final synthesis. EEG findings were generally consistent with those obtained from fMRI/NIRS data. Natural settings were linked to greater alpha EEG values and fewer demands on information processing and stronger functional connectivity in fMRI/NIRS studies, which indicate feelings of relaxation and restoration. These findings offer a better understanding of the functional activities during environmental exposures and also imply that nature exposure improves cognitive functions and mental health.
Chapter
While concentration of population in urban areas continues, limited contact with ecological dynamics undermines awareness on human dependence on ecosystems. However, demands on ecosystems have never been higher than in today's urbanized planet, and cities make major contributions to global environmental problems. Enhancing green and blue infrastructure (GBI) in cities can reduce the ecological footprints of cities, while enhancing urban resilience and quality of life for their inhabitants. Urban GBIs provide multiple benefits to people in the form of ecosystem services (ES) and hold potential for providing nature-based solutions (NBS) to address urban challenges. To adequately evaluate the ES provided by GBI, researchers have recently advocated integrated valuations. Integrated valuations aim at overcoming the limitations of the traditional single discipline and narrow approaches, by considering the multiple ways in which humans benefit from nature across the economic social and cultural domains. In this chapter, we present examples of integrated valuations of ES in two Spanish cities, Barcelona and Bilbao. Both examples combine different valuation techniques and metrics, both monetary and nonmonetary, to account for the ES provided by urban GBIs and to assess their potential as NBS. Our case examples show that urban GBIs provide many valuable benefits to urban dwellers. One of the clearest outcomes from these infrastructures is cultural ES, especially the multiple recreation and leisure opportunities they provide, which in turn has a remarkable positive effect on human health and well-being.
Chapter
Window view is an intimate medium between occupants and nature, especially in high-density cities like Hong Kong; and thus belongs to the quality of a house or apartment. In literature, researchers found that window views of nature are vital to the occupants’ physical and psychological health and productivity improvement. Understanding the view situation at the urban level can facilitate urban environment optimization, urban planning and development policies, and smart city management. Currently, views of nature have been quantitatively studied in satellite images and cars’ cameras at a macro or micro level, respectively. However, as an essential supplement to the greenery view information hub at a mesoscale, few studies on efficient visualization and classification of window views at the urban level seem available. This paper presents an automatic approach that captures and classifies photo-realistic views at the windows in a 3D photogrammetric city model. First, by triangulating the window geometries from geo-matched 3D photogrammetric and 2D digital maps, the rich window semantics are registered to the 3D models. Then, the similar window views are visualized in batch with an appropriate focal length and field of view. Finally, the view at each window is analyzed and classified through transfer learning automatically. We applied the proposed approach to the 3D model of Hong Kong Island and found satisfactory results for identifying nature scenes or urban scenes. Once massively adopted, the presented approach can offer novel geographic indicators for billions of urban inhabitants and the Architecture, Engineering, Construction, and Operation (AECO) industry.
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Introduction. A promising direction of nature management, which allows avoiding the degradation of the biosphere, is the implementation of economic and other activities with minimal impact on nature. The state of health of the population is influenced by a complex of environmental factors. The load of atmospheric air is perceived by the respiratory organs, vision, and the skin. Water influences in the form of precipitation, both drinking and recreational. The direct effect of soil on human health occurs through direct contact with the skin, inhalation and oral intake into the body. Green spaces have a significant impact on the quality of urbanized soil, water and air, as well as the health of residents. The main aspect of environmental protection and maintaining a favorable microclimate in settlements is the preservation and recreation of the “green” fund. Materials and methods. Systematic analysis of scientific literature, statistical data, regulatory documents. Results. The dependence of Russians on the influence of sanitary and hygienic factors of the environment is shown. The dynamics of the indicator “green spaces” in the urban environment quality index for the group “largest cities” is considered. On the example of St. Petersburg, the satisfaction of residents with the sphere of landscaping the territories of city districts is shown. It is proposed to conditionally divide the main problems of the development of “green” infrastructure into groups. The conceptual principles that constitute the methodological basis for the creation of a “green” frame of a settlement have been determined. Formed a group of criteria for assessing the “green” infrastructure, which are indicators of technical progressivity and social significance, with predictive ability and consistency. Conclusions. The necessary and sufficient amount of green spaces, normalizing the quality of the urban environment, can have a positive impact on the physical and mental health of residents. Strategic planning for the development of the “green” infrastructure of the settlement, ensuring the viability of the green frame, should take into account all its elements and include landscaping of land plots adjacent to the territories of multi-family dwelling.
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Objectives Exposure to nature or to green space has positive mental health benefits. Closing of parks and green spaces during the COVID-19 pandemic has reduced options for mental health and well-being benefits and could have a greater impact on vulnerable populations, especially the elderly. The present study, therefore, explores the physiopsychological impacts of indirect contact with nature, using forest imagery, on the brain activity and autonomic nervous systems of elderly people. Study Design A within-subject design experiment was used. Methods Thirty-four participants aged 82.9 ± 0.78 years were asked to look at bamboo and urban images for 2 min. During the visual stimulation, α relative waves were measured using electroencephalography as an indicator of brain activity. Heart rate variability and skin conductance (SC) responses were utilized as indicators of arousal. Afterward, psychological responses were evaluated using the semantic differential and the Profile of Mood States questionnaires. Results Visual stimulation with bamboo image induced a significant increase in α relative waves and parasympathetic nervous activity and a significant decrease in SC. In addition, a significant increase in perceptions of “comfortable,” “relaxed,” “cheerful,” and “vigorous” feelings was observed. Conclusions Indirect contact with nature enhances the physiological and psychological conditions of the elderly. Findings can be used to guide the new design, renewal, and modification of the living environments of the elderly and those who are unable to get outside.
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The therapeutic advantages of seeing plants have gained increasing consideration in stressful modern societies, however, evidence-based studies on how physiological and emotional states of individuals from different nationalities change when seeing different foliage colors are limited. The study was conducted to explore the physiological and psychological advantages of foliage colors as visual stimuli. The experiment included 40 men from two nations (age: 21.34 ± 3.50 years) and was carried out using five foliage colors including green, light green, green-yellow, green-red and green-white. Participants were exposed to each color for 2 min, when seeing the foliage colors, eye movements and oxy-Hb concentrations were continuously measured. Subjective evaluations of emotions were performed utilizing a semantic differential questionnaire. A significant decrease in oxy-Hb concentration in the frontal lobe was associated with the viewing of green and green-white plants by the Japanese participants and with viewing light green and green-yellow by the Egyptian participants. Participants spent higher fixation numbers and longer durations on these colors. The findings indicate that viewing of these plant colors was positively associated with physiological relaxation. Furthermore, these colors were associated with more positive feelings, such as calmness, comfort and naturalness. Therefore, the presence of these colors in spaces may have positive impacts on relaxation and emotional status.
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[Outstanding Paper Award] Window view is an intimate medium between occupants and nature, especially in high-density cities like Hong Kong; and thus belongs to the quality of a house or apartment. In literature, researchers found that window views of nature are vital to the occupants’ physical and psychological health and productivity improvement. Understanding the view situation at the urban level can facilitate urban environment optimization, urban planning and development policies, and smart city management. Currently, views of nature have been quantitatively studied in satellite images and cars’ cameras at a macro or micro level, respectively. However, as an essential supplement to the greenery view information hub at a mesoscale, few studies on efficient visualization and classification of window views at the urban level seem available. This paper presents an automatic approach that captures and classifies photo-realistic views at the windows in a 3D photogrammetric city model. First, by triangulating the window geometries from geo-matched 3D photogrammetric and 2D digital maps, the rich window semantics are registered to the 3D models. Then, the similar window views are visualized in batch with an appropriate focal length and field of view. Finally, the view at each window is analyzed and classified through transfer learning automatically. We applied the proposed approach to the 3D model of Hong Kong Island and found satisfactory results for identifying nature scenes or urban scenes. Once massively adopted, the presented approach can offer novel geographic indicators for billions of urban inhabitants and the Architecture, Engineering, Construction, and Operation (AECO) industry.
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Background and Objectives: Physical activity, recreation and walks successfully counteract negative symptoms of stress in people, especially in large cities, and have many positive psychological and physiological effects. There are many studies showing that contact with nature plays an important role in the regeneration of the human body. The city is not without green enclaves such as forests, parks or greenery along the streets. However, it is not entirely clear how the different physical characteristics of the urban space affect mood improvement, increase of positive feelings, vitality level, etc. Materials and Methods: In the study, two urban environments (apartment and green suburbs) were used, as well as two forests (coniferous and deciduous) to measure the impact of these environments on human physiological and psychological relaxation during a walk in a randomized experiment. The participants of the experiment were 75 young adult Poles studying in the largest Polish agglomeration, Warsaw. Before each experiment, the physiological and psychological state of the participant was measured indoors (pre-test). Four psychological questionnaires were used in the project (Profile of Mood States; Positive and Negative Affect Schedule; Restorative Outcome Scale; Subjective Vitality Scale), and physiological measurements (heart rate, blood pressure) before and after the short walking program were evaluated. Results: As a result of the analyses, it was shown that both staying in an urban environment with greenery and staying in a forest environment have a positive effect on the physiological and psychological relaxation of the subjects. A short walk in the suburbs was no less attractive than a walk in the forest in fall. The above indicates that various places with urban vegetation can be successfully used for recreation, just as in a forest where forest bathing is practiced. This indicates that different places with urban greenery can be successfully used for recreation, as can the forests where forest bathing is carried out.
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In recent years, children’s use of mobile phones has grown rapidly, which might lead to an increase in mental stress and negatively affect their health. Despite increasing evidence that horticultural activity can provide significant health benefits, few scientific evidence-based studies are currently available regarding these benefits to children’s health and wellbeing in schools. Therefore, this study aims to determine the potential benefits of horticultural activity for children from both psychological and physiological perspectives. Twenty-six elementary school students (mean age, 8.12 ± 0.21 years) were asked to perform a plant-related task and a mobile game task for 5 min. During both tasks, physiological sensors were used to measure the participants’ heart rate variability, skin conductance, and skin temperature. Additionally, the participants’ emotional responses were assessed using semantic differential and State–Trait Anxiety Inventory tests immediately after each task. Results revealed that, compared with the mobile game task, participants’ health statuses were positively correlated with the horticultural task, including a considerable decrease in skin conductance and sympathetic nervous activity, together with a marginal increase in parasympathetic nervous activity. Such responses suggested that horticultural activity increased relaxation and decreased feelings of stress. Furthermore, the horticultural activity was associated with a substantial increment in comfort, naturalness, relaxation, and cheerfulness feelings, as well as a significant reduction in depression and a reduction in total anxiety levels. Given these positive benefits, horticultural activity may provide a great contribution to children’s healthy life at school, prompt psychological relaxation and minimize mental stress relative to smartphone games.
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Music can trigger human emotion. This is a psychophysiological process. Therefore, using psychophysiological characteristics could be a way to understand individual music emotional experience. In this study, we explore a new method of personal music emotion recognition based on human physiological characteristics. First, we build up a database of features based on emotions related to music and a database based on physiological signals derived from music listening including EDA, PPG, SKT, RSP, and PD variation information. Then linear regression, ridge regression, support vector machines with three different kernels, decision trees, k-nearest neighbors, multi-layer perceptron, and Nu support vector regression (NuSVR) are used to recognize music emotions via a data synthesis of music features and human physiological features. NuSVR outperforms the other methods. The correlation coefficient values are 0.7347 for arousal and 0.7902 for valence, while the mean squared errors are 0.023 23 for arousal and 0.014 85 for valence. Finally, we compare the different data sets and find that the data set with all the features (music features and all physiological features) has the best performance in modeling. The correlation coefficient values are 0.6499 for arousal and 0.7735 for valence, while the mean squared errors are 0.029 32 for arousal and 0.015 76 for valence. We provide an effective way to recognize personal music emotional experience, and the study can be applied to personalized music recommendation.
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Although stress is an increasing global health problem in cities, urban green spaces can provide health benefits. There is, however, a lack of understanding of the link between physiological mechanisms and qualities of urban green spaces. Here, we compare the effects of visual stimuli (360 degree virtual photos of an urban environment, forest, and park) to the effects of congruent olfactory stimuli (nature and city odours) and auditory stimuli (bird songs and noise) on physiological stress recovery. Participants (N = 154) were pseudo-randomised into participating in one of the three environments and subsequently exposed to stress (operationalised by skin conductance levels). The park and forest, but not the urban area, provided significant stress reduction. High pleasantness ratings of the environment were linked to low physiological stress responses for olfactory and to some extent for auditory, but not for visual stimuli. This result indicates that olfactory stimuli may be better at facilitating stress reduction than visual stimuli. Currently, urban planners prioritise visual stimuli when planning open green spaces, but urban planners should also consider multisensory qualities.
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Social cohesion involves the interpersonal dynamics and sense of connection among people. Increased social cohesion can be associated with various physical and psychological health benefits. The presence of urban green spaces can encourage positive social interactions that cultivate social cohesion in ways that enhance health and well-being. Urban green spaces have also been linked to positive health behaviors and outcomes including increased physical activity and social engagement. Understanding the relationship between social cohesion and urban green space is important for informing holistic approaches to health. In this article, we discuss how positive interactions in urban green space can catalyze social cohesion, social capital and critical health-promoting behaviors that may enhance psychological health and well-being. We also summarize the strengths and limitations of previous studies and suggest directions for future research.
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In this experiment we investigated how individual differences in orientation towards built vs. nature environment as well as noise sensitivity affect psychological and physiological restoration in a constructed urban park, urban woodland and city centre of Helsinki, Finland. The participants, 30–61-year-old healthy women (N = 83), visited each study site once. The experiment consisted of a 15-min viewing session, followed by a 30-min walking session in each environment. We measured restorative effects: perceived restorative outcomes, vitality, and blood pressure in these three environments. The data were analysed in SAS with a linear mixed model. We found significant differences between environments in psychological restorative effects, but not in blood pressure. The urban-nature orientedness, and to a lesser extent noise sensitivity, modified the effect of environment on restoration. In conclusion, individual characteristics affect psychological restoration provided by various urban environments. Varying needs of individuals should be taken into account in city planning.
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With the growing interest among researchers, practitioners, and urban decision makers in the influence of the built environment on peoples' health, there is increasing emphasis on using scientific knowledge to inform urban design, including methods of neuroscience. As window views are the most immediate medium of visual connection with one's neighbourhood, we surmised that the quality of this view would have an impact on the mental health and well-being of urban dwellers. Accordingly, we investigated how window views taken from different floors of a high-rise block with varying extents of green cover affected 29 healthy residents in an exploratory electroencephalography (EEG) experiment. The results showed that the amount of green cover within the view captured at different floor levels can cause an important interaction effect on the frontal alpha and temporal beta brain oscillations while participants view photographs. These results suggest that the brainwave patterns commonly associated with positive emotional states, motivation, and visual attention mechanisms may be increased by the extent of green cover within the view. This phenomenon seems more pronounced on the higher than lower floors. The observed findings at this stage cannot confirm major effects between floor level, green cover, and brainwaves, however, they emphasize the importance of considering the quality of window views in the planning and design of urban high-rise neighbourhoods. Having a green window view can potentially contribute to the mental health and well-being of urban dwellers.
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Urban green space has been positively associated with psychological and physical health. However, the linkage between exposure to parks and health outcomes remains unclear. The current study examined the meanings that people assign to city parks, as a way to understand the pathways by which parks exert their effects on health. We conducted qualitative interviews with twenty culturally diverse residents in New York City. Thematic analysis was performed on the qualitative data. Results showed that all themes identified were related to parks fulfilling a basic human need for connection to (1) family, loved ones, and friends; (2) community and neighborhood; (3) self; and (4) nature. Based on these data, we proposed a human-centered framework for future research and interventions aimed at catalyzing parks as a vehicle to improve health and wellbeing. A human-centered approach emphasizes targeting the deep-seated needs and values of those we seek to engage and for whom health promotion and disease prevention efforts are designed. Our study shows that park transformations need to incorporate careful considerations of the human need for connection on multiple levels, so that park usage and its consequent health benefits may be optimized.
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Background : Over half of the world's population now lives in urban areas, and this proportion is expected to increase. While there have been numerous reviews of empirical studies on the link between nature and human health, very few have focused on the urban context, and most have examined almost exclusively cross-sectional research. This review is a first step toward assessing the possibility of causal relationships between nature and health in urban settings.Methods: Through systematic review of published literature, we explored the association between urban green space and human health.Results: We found consistent negative association between urban green space exposure and mortality, heart rate, and violence, and positive association with attention, mood, and physical activity. Results were mixed, or no association was found, in studies of urban green space exposure and general health, weight status, depression, and stress (via cortisol concentration). The number of studies was too low to generalize about birth outcomes, blood pressure, heart rate variability, cancer, diabetes, or respiratory symptoms.Conclusions: More studies using rigorous study design are needed to make generalizations, and meta-analyses, of these and other health outcomes possible. These findings may assist urban managers, organizations, and communities in their efforts to increase new or preserve existing green space.
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Background. In Japan, "Shinrin-yoku" or forest bathing (spending time in forests) is a major practice used for relaxation. However, its effects on promoting human mental health are still under consideration. The objective of this study was to investigate the physiological and psychological relaxation effects of forest walking on adults. Sixty participants (50% males; 50% females) were trained to walk 15-minute predetermined courses in a bamboo forest and a city area (control). The length of the courses was the same to allow comparison of the effects of both environments. Blood pressure and EEG results were measured to assess the physiological responses and the semantic differential method (SDM) and STAI were used to study the psychological responses. Blood pressure was significantly decreased and variation in brain activity was observed in both environments. The results of the two questionnaires indicated that walking in the bamboo forest improves mood and reduces anxiety. Moreover, the mean meditation and attention scores were significantly increased after walking in a bamboo forest. The results of the physiological and psychological measurements indicate the relaxing effects of walking in a bamboo forest on adults.
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The present study investigated changes in autonomic nervous system activity and emotions after a short (2 h) forest bathing program in the Xitou Nature Education Area (XNEA), Taiwan. One hundred and twenty-eight (60.0 ± 7.44 years) middle-aged and elderly participants were recruited. Physiological responses, pulse rate, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, heart rate variability (HRV), and psychological indices were measured before and after the program. We observed that pulse rate, systolic and diastolic blood pressure were significantly lower after the program, which indicated physiological benefits from stress recovery. The Profile of Mood States negative mood subscale scores of “tension-anxiety”, “anger-hostility”, “fatigue-inertia”, “depression-dejection”, and “confusion-bewilderment” were significantly lower, whereas the positive mood subscale score of “vigor-activity” was higher. Furthermore, participants exhibited significantly lower anxiety levels according to the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. However, changes in sympathetic and parasympathetic nerve activity were nonsignificant. Our study determined that the short forest bathing program is a promising therapeutic method for enhancing heart rate and blood pressure functions as well as an effective psychological relaxation strategy for middle-aged and elderly individuals.
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Interior planting has become increasingly popular in the working environment during the last 30 years. To better understand how plant variegation may affect human health. The study addresses question of whether different kind of plant variegation have particular effects on psycho-physiological parameters, such as wellbeing, and the potential role of colors variegation in these effects. The present study was designed to determine the subjective preference to three color variations of plants in male and female subjects. The data of eye-tracking information and cerebral blood flow recordings within the right hemisphere of the brain were compared to attempt to correlate the influence of plant variegation on the function of different brain regions. Additionally, each participant was asked to clarify whether or not he preferred the particular plant. The results showed that different plantscape variations stimulate different psycho-physiological reactions. In addition, with regard to the plant color, the green-red plant was less appealing, while, the green plant was more favorable to both male and female subjects, where it was most effective for promoting positive responses such as, wellbeing, pleasure and relaxation evidenced by the sedation of cerebral blood flow at the right prefrontal cortex. Furthermore, cerebral blood flow increment was correlated with the degree of the participants’ attention to the visual stimuli based on the eye-tracking information. On the other hand, during visual stimulation with the favorite color, it is apparent from the results that cerebral blood flow was activated at the occipital lobe especially the visual area. On the contrary, during stimulation with the unfavorite color, the cerebral blood flow was sedated at the judgment and somatosensory areas. The findings indicate that the differential brain activation patterns associated with color preference are assumed to reflect the human emotional status.
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The aim of the study was to investigate the effects of different variegation of interior plant foliage on visual attention, subjective emotions and cerebral activity. Thirty Egyptian male subjects were presented with five different varieties of Hedera helix for 60 s in random orders. During this time, eye movements and cerebral activity were recorded, and subjective data were then gathered via a semantic differential scale. The results show clear evidence in support of the use of green-yellow and bright green-coloured plants in locations in which comfort and calmness are required, while red and dark green plants can be used to improve energy in places such as offices and children’s areas. In contrast, the green-white plants stimulated mostly negative emotions. These findings suggest that landscape and interior designers should pay more attention for choosing foliage colours during indoor decoration.
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Studies have shown that plants have both physiological and psychological benefits for people. Such studies have investigated the value of plants or flower colors in human being, but they typically have not considered how the color might also influence eye movement, emotional status and brain activity of the individuals.This study focused on the relation between plant variegation and human psycho-physiological functioning. Twenty-nine undergraduate students (14 males and 15 females) participated in this study to measure their psycho-physiological responses to five different foliage colors of Hedera helix L. Each plant was presented for 60 s in no particular order. During the exposure time eye movements were recorded by eye mark recorder as well as 47 channels of near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) were used to measure the brain activity in the frontal, temporal, parietal and occipital lobes. The participants were asked to describe their impressions towards each plant category on a five-point scale based on the semantic differential questionnaire (SD). The results showed that the participants pay less attention through eye movements for the common and ordinary colors. The cerebral blood flow (CBF) increment was correlated with the degree of attention settled by the participants to the visual. The results also revealed variant responses for each color in both eye movements and brain activity. Moreover each color correlated with some emotional responses, thereby each color is recommended for specific situations. The outcome may have some practical applications to the environment. The dark green colored plants can be used to make a place more relaxing and calming. While the green-yellow and bright green colored plants can be used to make a place more pleasant, exciting and brightness additionally, they increase a sense of strength. On the other hand, the red plants can be used in a place where high concentration are required and to create a luxurious environment.
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There has been considerable work done in recent years exploring the value of urban green space for health and wellbeing. Urban green spaces provide environmental benefits through their effects on negating urban heat, offsetting greenhouse gas emissions, and attenuating storm water. They also have direct health benefits by providing urban residents spaces for physical activity and social interaction, and allowing psychological restoration to take place. Consequently, there is a real need to understand the mechanisms by which these benefits accrue. Previously, much of the focus has been on the characteristics of the urban green space that are likely to influence its use, such as its accessibility, quality, facilities, attractiveness, and security. This assumes a causal relationship, when in reality the relationship is more complex and multifactorial. It is more likely that it is the functionality of the green space, be it for exercise or sociocultural activities, rather than its character, which translates to the reported benefits. Challenges exist, such as competing urban planning priorities, economic considerations, and market forces. There is thus a need for urban planning to match the health benefits sought with the needs of the community and the functionality that the urban green space will serve.
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Researchers are increasingly exploring how neighborhood greenness, or vegetation, may affect health behaviors and outcomes. Greenness may influence health by promoting physical activity and social contact; decreasing stress; and mitigating air pollution, noise, and heat exposure. Greenness is generally measured using satellite-based vegetation indices or land-use databases linked to participants’ addresses. In this review, we found fairly strong evidence for a positive association between greenness and physical activity and a less consistent negative association between greenness and body weight. Research suggests greenness is protective against adverse mental health outcomes, cardiovascular disease, and mortality, though most studies were limited by cross-sectional or ecological design. There is consistent evidence that greenness exposure during pregnancy is positively associated with birth weight, though findings for other birth outcomes are less conclusive. Future research should follow subjects prospectively, differentiate between greenness quantity and quality, and identify mediators and effect modifiers of greenness-health associations.
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Low density business developments are a near ubiquitous feature of peri-urban landscapes in the UK and in other developed countries, however little is known about how workers relate to open space in this particular type of working environment. Person–environment relationships in five urban fringe science parks in central Scotland were investigated through a survey of employees (N = 366). Specifically, the study sought to explore the impact of viewing and using greenspace at these knowledge-sector workplaces on employee wellbeing. The results of a series of multiple regression analyses indicated that both use of the open space and views of some vegetation types, namely trees, lawn and shrubs or flowering plants, were positively and independently associated with self-reported wellbeing levels. This research provides new insight into the extent to which workplace greenspace contributes to employee wellbeing, whilst controlling for exposure to greenspace outside of the workplace context. Also, by investigating relationships between wellbeing and the particular physical features seen in views, the research provides evidence on how workplaces might be designed to incorporate restorative window views. These findings have relevance both for the planning and design of peri-urban business sites and for the design of interventions to promote employee wellbeing.
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. Despite increasing attention toward forest therapy as an alternative medicine, very little evidence continues to be available on its therapeutic effects. Therefore, this study was focused on elucidating the health benefits of forest walking on cardiovascular reactivity. Methods . Within-group comparisons were used to examine the cardiovascular responses to walking in forest and urban environments. Forty-eight young adult males participated in the two-day field research. Changes in heart rate variability, heart rate, and blood pressure were measured to understand cardiovascular reactivity. Four different questionnaires were used to investigate the changes in psychological states after walking activities. Results . Forest walking significantly increased the values of ln(HF) and significantly decreased the values of ln(LF/HF) compared with the urban walking. Heart rate during forest walking was significantly lower than that in the control. Questionnaire results showed that negative mood states and anxiety levels decreased significantly by forest walking compared with urban walking. Conclusion . Walking in the forest environment may promote cardiovascular relaxation by facilitating the parasympathetic nervous system and by suppressing the sympathetic nervous system. In addition, forest therapy may be effective for reducing negative psychological symptoms.
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With the rapid growth of cities worldwide, there is a need to better understand factors contributing to life satisfaction in urban environments. Using data from a long-term study of the Baltimore metropolitan region, we build on existing social scientific literature to examine a suite of theoretical factors that have been proposed to explain higher life satisfaction. We find support for many previous theoretical arguments in the literature. Importantly, however, our findings reveal that these results are strikingly scale dependent. For individuals, higher incomes contribute to higher levels of satisfaction, yet social capital does not. For neighborhoods, more social capital strongly increases satisfaction, but higher incomes do not; and access to a clean natural environment always contributes to higher satisfaction, regardless of the scale of analysis. Given these findings, we conclude with the observation that future research must carefully match the “scale” of life satisfaction measurements with the explanatory variables used.
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Background Researchers in environmental psychology, health studies and urban design are interested in the relationship between the environment, behaviour settings and emotions. In particular, happiness, or the presence of positive emotional mindsets, broadens an individual's thought-action repertoire with positive benefits to physical and intellectual activities, and to social and psychological resources. This occurs through play, exploration or similar activities. In addition, a body of restorative literature focuses on the potential benefits to emotional recovery from stress offered by green space and ‘soft fascination’. However, access to the cortical correlates of emotional states of a person actively engaged within an environment has not been possible until recently. This study investigates the use of mobile electroencephalography (EEG) as a method to record and analyse the emotional experience of a group of walkers in three types of urban environment including a green space setting. Methods Using Emotiv EPOC, a low-cost mobile EEG recorder, participants took part in a 25 min walk through three different areas of Edinburgh. The areas (of approximately equal length) were labelled zone 1 (urban shopping street), zone 2 (path through green space) and zone 3 (street in a busy commercial district). The equipment provided continuous recordings from five channels, labelled excitement (short-term), frustration, engagement, long-term excitement (or arousal) and meditation. Results A new form of high-dimensional correlated component logistic regression analysis showed evidence of lower frustration, engagement and arousal, and higher meditation when moving into the green space zone; and higher engagement when moving out of it. Conclusions Systematic differences in EEG recordings were found between three urban areas in line with restoration theory. This has implications for promoting urban green space as a mood-enhancing environment for walking or for other forms of physical or reflective activity.
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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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The inferred cost of work-related stress call for prevention strategies that aim at detecting early warning signs at the workplace. This paper goes one step towards the goal of developing a personal health system for detecting stress. We analyze the discriminative power of electrodermal activity (EDA) in distinguishing stress from cognitive load in an office environment. A collective of 33 subjects underwent a laboratory intervention that included mild cognitive load and two stress factors, which are relevant at the workplace: mental stress induced by solving arithmetic problems under time pressure and psychosocial stress induced by social-evaluative threat. During the experiments, a wearable device was used to monitor the EDA as a measure of the individual stress reaction. Analysis of the data showed that the distributions of the EDA peak height and the instantaneous peak rate carry information about the stress level of a person. Six classifiers were investigated regarding their ability to discriminate cognitive load from stress. A maximum accuracy of 82.8% was achieved for discriminating stress from cognitive load. This would allow keeping track of stressful phases during a working day by using a wearable EDA device.
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Knowledge on the impact of the psychosocial work environment on the occurrence of stress-related disorders (SRDs) can assist occupational physicians in the assessment of the work-relatedness of these disorders. To systematically review the contribution of work-related psychosocial risk factors to SRDs. A systematic review of the literature was carried out by searching Medline, PsycINFO and Embase for studies published up until October 2008. Studies eligible for inclusion were prospective cohort studies or patient-control studies of workers at risk for SRDs. Studies were included in the review when data on the association between exposure to psychosocial work factors and the occurrence of SRDs were presented. Where possible, meta-analysis was conducted to obtain summary odds ratios of the association. The strength of the evidence was assessed using four levels of evidence. From the 2426 studies identified, seven prospective studies were included in this review. Strong evidence was found that high job demands, low job control, low co-worker support, low supervisor support, low procedural justice, low relational justice and a high effort-reward imbalance predicted the incidence of SRDs. This systematic review points to the potential of preventing SRDs by improving the psychosocial work environment. However, more prospective studies are needed on the remaining factors, exposure assessment and the relative contributions of single factors, in order to enable consistent assessment of the work-relatedness of SRDs by occupational physicians.
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Autonomic nervous system (ANS) activity is viewed as a major component of the emotion response in many recent theories of emotion. Positions on the degree of specificity of ANS activation in emotion, however, greatly diverge, ranging from undifferentiated arousal, over acknowledgment of strong response idiosyncrasies, to highly specific predictions of autonomic response patterns for certain emotions. A review of 134 publications that report experimental investigations of emotional effects on peripheral physiological responding in healthy individuals suggests considerable ANS response specificity in emotion when considering subtypes of distinct emotions. The importance of sound terminology of investigated affective states as well as of choice of physiological measures in assessing ANS reactivity is discussed.
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The inferred cost of work-related stress call for prevention strategies that aim at detecting early warning signs at the workplace. This paper goes one step towards the goal of developing a personal health system for detecting stress. We analyze the discriminative power of electrodermal activity (EDA) in distinguishing stress from cognitive load in an office environment. A collective of 33 subjects underwent a laboratory intervention that included mild cognitive load and two stress factors, which are relevant at the workplace: mental stress induced by solving arithmetic problems under time pressure and psychosocial stress induced by social-evaluative threat. During the experiments, a wearable device was used to monitor the EDA as a measure of the individual stress reaction. Analysis of the data showed that the distributions of the EDA peak height and the instantaneous peak rate carry information about the stress level of a person. Six classifiers were investigated regarding their ability to discriminate cognitive load from stress. A maximum accuracy of 82.8% was achieved for discriminating stress from cognitive load. This would allow keeping track of stressful phases during a working day by using a wearable EDA device.
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It is concluded that an environment devoid of Nature may act as a "discord", i.e., have a negative effect. While the term mismatch is used for any difference between present living conditions and the environment of evolutionary adaptation, discords are mismatches with a potentially undesirable impact on health or quality of life. The problem is partly due to the visual absence of plants, and may be ameliorated by adding elements of Nature, e.g., by creating parks, by offering a view through windows, and by potted plants. The conclusion is based on an evaluation of some fifty relevant empirical studies.
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Owing to the prevalence of fractal patterns in natural scenery and their growing impact on cultures around the world, fractals constitute a common feature of our daily visual experiences, raising an important question: what responses do fractals induce in the observer? We monitored subjects' EEG while they were viewing fractals with different fractal dimensions, and the results show that significant effects could be found in the EEG even by employing relatively simple silhouette images. Patterns with a fractal dimension of 1.3 elicited the most interesting EEG, with the highest alpha in the frontal lobes but also the highest beta in the parietal area, pointing to a complicated interplay between different parts of the brain when experiencing this pattern.
Chapter
https://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/148476/1/1992_Psych_benefits_of_nearby_nature_In_Relf.pdf
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Rapid urbanization and the lack of green infrastructure threaten the health of urban dwellers. Green façades have been proposed as a green infrastructure solution to compensate for the loss of green spaces in dense city areas; however, as far as we know, there is inadequate evidence for associations between views of green façades and relaxation. This study aims to clarify the physiological and psychological relaxation effects of viewing a green façade landscape. Twenty-five Chinese females (23 ± 1.5 years) viewed a green façade landscape or a building-wall for 5 min. Data were generated using electroencephalographic, heart rate variability, and skin conductance physiological measures and psychological measures using a semantic differential questionnaire and a Profile of Mood State. Findings suggest that, compared to the viewing of the building wall, the viewing of the green façade resulted in a significant increase in alpha relative waves in the frontal and occipital lobes, a significant increase in parasympathetic activity, and a significant decrease in the skin conductance as well as a substantial increase in comfortable, relaxed, and natural feelings, and a significant improvement in mood state. The green façade appears to enhance human physiological and psychological relaxation compared to the building-wall.
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Previous studies have focused mostly on distinguishing between the benefits of spending time in natural spaces compared to urban spaces, but less is known about the restorative potential of gardens. The goal of this study is to investigate the physiological and psychological effects of viewing different garden styles on 57 university students from two countries (Japan and Canada). Three gardens with different styles, landscape, Japanese and architectural gardens located in Vancouver, Canada were used as the test sites. The participants’ eye movements and heart rate variability were assessed while they were viewing each garden. After viewing each garden, the participants filled out a semantic differential questionnaire. We found that the Japanese garden attracted more fixations, but fixation durations varied among the garden styles. Extra fixation duration on a particular garden might be correlated with the detailed analysis of the garden's elements. The mean HF data which reflected parasympathetic nervous activity increased on viewing the landscape garden. In addition, the participants were likely to choose the landscape garden as the most natural-looking. The results suggest that visual perception of gardens is not an isolated or uniform cognitive mechanism, but rather one that interacts with biological and cultural processes. To encourage the utilization of gardens as a resource for promoting wellbeing in urban spaces, further scientific evidence and collaboration among experts in the relevant fields is urgently needed.
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There is growing scientific recognition that contact with nature in general, and contact with urban green more specific, have the potential to positively contribute to human health. For the purpose of developing healthy urban neighbourhoods, this raises the question how to take scientific evidence about these health benefits into account. Accessibility metrics that are well substantiated by empirical evidence are needed. This paper reviews the quantitative and qualitative aspects relevant for accessibility metrics and empirical studies addressing these aspects in relation to health. Studies comparing different types of green space indicators suggest that cumulative opportunities indicators are more consistently positively related to health than residential proximity ones. In contrast to residential proximity indicators, cumulative opportunities indicators take all the green space within a certain distance into account. Comparing results across studies proved to be hard. Green space accessibility was measured in a variety of ways and the green space indicator that was chosen was often not problematized. We feel that it is time for a more function-oriented approach. How precisely does contact with nature impact health and what type and qualities are relevant in this regard? We think this will lead to a new generation of more evidence-based accessibility metrics that will help to advance the field.
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This study was to examine the effectiveness of prefrontal Neurofeedback training by observing the pre and post brainwave measurement results of about W kindergarten kids 52 (experimental group 26. comparative group 26) subjects who have shown brain quotient and master ability, in between the months of Mar. 2010 and Nov. 2010. As the brainwaves are adjusted by timeseries linear analysis, the result confirmed the differences of both brain quotient and master ability. The result of the study suggest Neurofeedback technique's possibility in positively affecting the subjects' brain quotient and master ability.
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Emotion plays an important role in the interaction between humans as emotion is fundamental to human experience, influencing cognition, perception, learning communication, and even rational decision-making. Therefore, studying emotion is indispensable. This paper aims at finding the relationships between EEG signals and human emotions based on emotion recognition experiments that are conducted using the commercial Emotiv EPOC headset to record EEG signals while participants are watching emotional movies. Alpha, beta, delta and theta bands filtered from the recorded EEG signals are used to train and evaluate classifiers with different learning techniques including Support Vector Machine, k-Nearest Neighbour, Naïve Bayes and AdaBoost.M1. Our experimental results show that we can use the Emotiv headset for emotion recognition and that the AdaBoost.M1 technique and the theta band provide the highest recognition rates.
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The present study investigated the physiological and psychological effects of viewing urban forest landscapes on 48 young male urban residents. Four forested areas and four urban areas located in central and western Japan were used as the test sites. We found that in the forested areas, the subjects exhibited (i) significantly lower diastolic blood pressure, (ii) significantly higher parasympathetic nervous activity, but significantly lower sympathetic nervous activity, and (iii) significantly lower heart rate. The forest landscapes (iv) obtained better scores in subjective ratings, and (v) induced significantly less negative and more vigorous moods. Taken as whole, these findings suggest that even a short-term viewing of forests has relaxing effects. We have thus concluded that the approach taken in this study is useful in exploring the influences of urban green space on humans, as well as contributing to the planning and design of a healthy environment for urban residents.
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discuss specific theoretical and methodological issues related to the use of psychophysiological measures of arousal / describe state-of-the-art electrodermal and cardiovascular measurement techniques / emphasize the use of patterns of electrodermal and cardiovascular responses as indexes of arousal specifying an arousal construct / maintaining a psychophysiologically consonant experimental situation / multiple psychophysiological response measures / continuous measurement (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Aim of the review: Questions related to the genesis and functional correlates of the brain's alpha oscillations around 10Hz (Alpha) are one of the fundamental research areas in neuroscience. In recent decades, analysis of this activity has been not only the focus of interest for description of sensory-cognitive processes, but has also led to trials for establishing new hypotheses. The present review and the companion review aim to constitute an ensemble of "reasonings and suggestions" to understand alpha oscillations based on a wide range of accumulated findings rather than a trial to launch a new "alpha theory". Surveyed descriptions related to physiology and brain function: The review starts with descriptions of earlier extracellular recordings, field potentials and also considers earlier alpha hypotheses. Analytical descriptions of evoked and event-related responses, event-related desynchronization, the relationship between spontaneous activity and evoked potentials, aging brain, pathology and alpha response in cognitive impairment are in the content of this review. In essence, the gamut of the survey includes a multiplicity of evidence on functional correlates in sensory processing, cognition, memory and vegetative system, including the spinal cord and heart.
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Body area sensors can enable novel applications in and beyond healthcare, but research must address obstacles such as size, cost, compatibility, and perceived value before networks that use such sensors can become widespread.
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The purpose of this paper is to provide a broad overview of the recent patterns and trends of urban growth in developing countries. Over the last 20 years many urban areas have experienced dramatic growth, as a result of rapid population growth and as the world's economy has been transformed by a combination of rapid technological and political change. Around 3 billion people—virtually half of the world's total population-now live in urban settlements. And while cities command an increasingly dominant role in the global economy as centers of both production and consumption, rapid urban growth throughout the developing world is seriously outstripping the capacity of most cities to provide adequate services for their citizens. Over the next 30 years, virtually all of the world's population growth is expected to be concentrated in urban areas in the developing world. While much of the current sustainable cities debate focuses on the formidable problems for the world's largest urban agglomerations, the majority of all urban dwellers continue to reside in far smaller urban settlements. Many international agencies have yet to adequately recognize either the anticipated rapid growth of small and medium cities or the deteriorating living conditions of the urban poor. The challenges of achieving sustainable urban development will be particularly formidable in Africa.
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Window access, task type, and the room (windowed or windowless) were manipulated to investigate their effects on performance and individuals' perceptions of the task and room. Students (n = 180) performed one of three tasks (filing, computational, creative) in either a windowed or windowless room, and had either a direct or indirect interaction with the window. Contrary to expectation, performance and perceptions were not affected by the interaction of window access, task type, and the room. Also, performance was not higher for those working in a room with a window. A marginal interaction effect (p < 0.10) indicated that the creative task is affected by the type of access. Also, the effects on perceptions of the task and room tend to indicate that windowed rooms do contribute a dynamic environment. Specifically, the windowed room appeared to effect more positive perceptions for the creative task. Interestingly, some positive perceptions about the monotonous task occurred in the windowless room; however, boredom tended to be reduced when one faced the window. Implications of these results and suggestions for future research are discussed.