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Sustainability 2016, 8(10), 1049; doi:10.3390/su8101049

The Effect of Biodiversity on Green Space Users’ Wellbeing—An Empirical Investigation Using Physiological Evidence

1
Department of Landscape Architecture, National Chiayi University, Chiayi City 600, Taiwan
2
Department of Landscape Architecture, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801, USA
3
Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, National Taiwan University, Taipei City 10617, Taiwan
4
Division of National Park, Construction and Planning Agency, Taipei City 10556, Taiwan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Vincenzo Torretta
Received: 8 September 2016 / Revised: 11 October 2016 / Accepted: 13 October 2016 / Published: 19 October 2016
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [2642 KB, uploaded 19 October 2016]   |  

Abstract

Promoting ecological health and human wellbeing are two fundamental goals in landscape sustainability. Green spaces are thought to improve users’ psychological and physical wellbeing through the contact with nature. However, the results of some studies that rely on self-reports suggest that when the level of naturalness in a green space reaches a certain point, the beneficial effects diminish and in some cases can cause negative responses. We explored this possibility through an experimental study in which we use physiological measures rather than perceptions to assess people’s wellbeing. We investigate how people are affected by outdoor settings with varying degrees of biodiversity and whether the correlation between biodiversity and physiological wellbeing is negative or positive. We used multiple measures of insect diversity as an indicator for biodiversity, and biofeedback measures as indicators of wellbeing. Our findings suggest that people are equally affected by more biodiverse and less biodiverse settings. Physiological responses remain largely unchanged when biodiversity increases. This suggests that settings rich in biodiversity will not negatively influence people’s physiological wellbeing, and designers and city planners should not hesitate to use ecological best practices in their designs. View Full-Text
Keywords: biodiversity; biofeedback; conservation; wellbeing; sustainability biodiversity; biofeedback; conservation; wellbeing; sustainability
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Chang, K.G.; Sullivan, W.C.; Lin, Y.-H.; Su, W.; Chang, C.-Y. The Effect of Biodiversity on Green Space Users’ Wellbeing—An Empirical Investigation Using Physiological Evidence. Sustainability 2016, 8, 1049.

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