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2nd Edition: Experiencing the City: The Relation between Urban Design and People’s Wellbeing

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Health Behavior, Chronic Disease and Health Promotion".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2023) | Viewed by 25741

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
1. Department of Geoinformatics, University of Salzburg, 5020 Salzburg, Austria
2. Center for Geographic Analysis, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
Interests: human-centred geoinformatics; geospatial machine learning; urban geoinformatics; fusion of human and technical sensors; people as sensors and collective sensing (VGI); real-time and smart cities; crowdsourcing; digital health
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Department of the Built Environment, Eindhoven University of Technology, P.O. Box 513, 5600 MB Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Interests: design and decision support systems; digital urban planning; digital participation; human–environment interaction; human behavior in the built environment; sustainable and healthy cities
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Geography, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel
Interests: vital cities; GIS; GPS; spatial behavior; tourism

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

Urbanization brings major challenges in terms of livability as well as the wellbeing and health of residents. It is important that the urban environment meets the current needs of society, so that people have positive experiences, feel safe, comfortable, and are satisfied with their surroundings. Therefore, in recent years, there has been a growing interest in empirically investigating how people interact with the social and built urban environments. Both policymakers and academics now aim to better understand how urban environments may affect the perception, behavior and experiences of residents, and how urban planning and policy may generate more livable environments and support wellbeing. To date, there is still little empirical research on the (momentary) perception, experience, and affective reactions of people in relation to the urban design of cities. Novel tools such as virtual reality (VR), real-time surveys (ecological momentary assessment—EMA), and geotagging techniques are now emerging as viable methods that can enhance investigation in the field. These techniques may help develop policies on health and wellbeing in urban areas, and supply guidelines for urban planners who wish to design attractive, livable, and safe living environments.

This Special Issue seeks papers that empirically study the relations between urban environments and people’s experiences and wellbeing, as well as papers highlighting novel methods to measure and analyze momentary experiences in the city. We also welcome papers on urban interventions to increase citizens’ wellbeing and high-quality systematic reviews related to experiencing the urban environment.

Dr. Bernd Resch
Dr. Pauline Van den Berg
Dr. Gamze Dane
Dr. Amit Birenboim
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • urban public space
  • subjective wellbeing (SWB)
  • life satisfaction
  • urban emotions
  • urban experience
  • urban intervention
  • urban design
  • spatial behavior
  • human-environment interaction
  • urban geoinformatics

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

23 pages, 7221 KiB  
Article
Tell Me Where to Go: An Experiment in Spreading Visitor Flows in The Netherlands
by Ondrej Mitas, Rajneesh Badal, Maud Verhoeven, Koen Verstraten, Liselotte de Graaf, Helena Mitasova, Wendy Weijdema and Jeroen Klijs
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(8), 5441; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20085441 - 7 Apr 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1598
Abstract
Cities attracting large numbers of tourists increasingly face crowding and public resistance to tourism growth. As a result, governments strive to spread tourists from the best-known attractions to less-visited locations to improve both residents’ and tourists’ quality of life. Evidence of success and [...] Read more.
Cities attracting large numbers of tourists increasingly face crowding and public resistance to tourism growth. As a result, governments strive to spread tourists from the best-known attractions to less-visited locations to improve both residents’ and tourists’ quality of life. Evidence of success and best practices herein is largely anecdotal, and the effects on tourist experience are also unknown. Thus, we undertook a randomized 2 × 2 experiment in the province of Overijssel (The Netherlands), wherein tourists staying at vacation parks near small and mid-sized cities were exposed to information which emphasized attractions in either heavily visited or less-visited areas. Participants were also assigned to receive the information in either a passive or a conversational form. Location and daily emotion, as well as experience evaluation on the last day of the vacation, were recorded via mobile platforms. We found that tourists receiving information on attractions in less-visited areas engaged in significantly more movements around these attractions, and significantly less around heavily visited areas. The conversational form of information delivery was more positively evaluated than information delivered passively. Furthermore, vacation experience emotions and evaluations were largely unaffected. Thus, it is clearly possible to direct tourists to less-crowded locations without negatively affecting their vacation experiences. Full article
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20 pages, 3869 KiB  
Article
Experiencing Public Spaces in Southern Chile: Analysing the Effects of the Built Environment on Walking Perceptions
by Antonio Zumelzu, Mariana Estrada, Marta Moya and Jairo Troppa
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(19), 12577; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191912577 - 1 Oct 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 8220
Abstract
In Latin American cities, the built environment is facing crucial challenges in the 21st century, not only in terms of the redesign of the physical environment, but also how to remodel public spaces as healthier places for walking and social interaction. The objective [...] Read more.
In Latin American cities, the built environment is facing crucial challenges in the 21st century, not only in terms of the redesign of the physical environment, but also how to remodel public spaces as healthier places for walking and social interaction. The objective of this article is to evaluate the effects of the built environment on walking perceptions in a central neighbourhood in the intermediate city of Valdivia, Chile. The methodology integrates quantitative and qualitative methods to explore which elements of the physical built environment ease and hinder walkability. Depthmap software and Simpson’s Diversity Index are used to evaluate connectivity and diversity of land uses at street level. Additionally, the People Following method and 26 walking interviews are conducted using the Natural Go-Along technique to analyse pedestrians’ perceptions about their mobility environment. The results show that the factors that promote walkability mainly include streets with high connectivity values, wide pavements, diversity of greening, and facade characteristics of buildings with architectural heritage causing tranquillity, longing, and happiness. On the contrary, factors that inhibit walkability are related to poor-quality and narrow sidewalks, cars parked on sidewalks, dirty streets, and motorized traffic and vehicular noise causing negative emotions in walking perceptions such as tiredness, anger, disgust, discomfort, and insecurity, with negative effects on the well-being of residents that vary according to age and gender. Finally, recommendations are oriented to improve public spaces in central areas in southern Chile, to address moving towards more liveable and inclusive environments and support well-being through urban design in these types of context. Full article
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16 pages, 3364 KiB  
Article
A Comparative Study of Urban Park Preferences in China and The Netherlands
by Pauline van den Berg, Minou Weijs-Perrée, Gamze Dane, Esther van Vliet, Hui Liu, Siao Sun and Aloys Borgers
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(8), 4632; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19084632 - 12 Apr 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2357
Abstract
Urban parks play an important role in tackling several urban challenges such as air pollution, urban heat, physical inactivity, social isolation, and stress. In order to fully seize the benefits of urban parks, it is important that they are attractive for various groups [...] Read more.
Urban parks play an important role in tackling several urban challenges such as air pollution, urban heat, physical inactivity, social isolation, and stress. In order to fully seize the benefits of urban parks, it is important that they are attractive for various groups of residents. While several studies have investigated residents’ preferences for urban park attributes, most of them have focused on a single geographical context. This study aimed to investigate differences in park preferences, specifically between Dutch and Chinese park users. We collected data in the Netherlands and China using an online stated choice experiment with videos of virtual parks. The data were analyzed with a random parameter mixed logit model to identify differences in preferences for park attributes between Chinese and Dutch citizens, controlling for personal characteristics. Although the results showed a general preference for parks with many trees, several differences were found between the Dutch and Chinese respondents. These differences concerned vegetation (composition of trees and flowers), the presence of benches and play facilities, and could probably be explained by differences in park use, values of nature, and landscape preferences. The findings of this study can be used as design guidelines by urban planners and landscape designers to design attractive and inclusive parks for different target groups. Full article
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24 pages, 14828 KiB  
Article
Evaluating the Effects of Built Environment on Street Vitality at the City Level: An Empirical Research Based on Spatial Panel Durbin Model
by Wanshu Wu, Ziying Ma, Jinhan Guo, Xinyi Niu and Kai Zhao
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(3), 1664; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19031664 - 31 Jan 2022
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 3981
Abstract
There is evidence that the built environment has an influence on street vitality. However, previous studies seldom assess the direct, indirect, and total effect of multiple environmental elements at the city level. In this study, the features of the street vitality on Xiamen [...] Read more.
There is evidence that the built environment has an influence on street vitality. However, previous studies seldom assess the direct, indirect, and total effect of multiple environmental elements at the city level. In this study, the features of the street vitality on Xiamen Island are described based on the location-based service Big Data. Xiamen Island is the central urban area of Xiamen, one of the national central cities in China. With the help of multi-source data such as street view images, the condition of design that is difficult to effectively measure with traditional data can be better explored in detail on a macro scale. The built environment is measured through a 5D system at the city level, including Density, Diversity, Design, Destination accessibility, and Distance to transit. Spatial panel Durbin models are constructed to analyze the influence of the built environment on the street vitality on weekdays and weekends, and the direct, indirect, and total effects are evaluated. Results indicate that at the city level, the built environment plays a significant role in promoting street vitality. Functional density is not statistically significant. Most of the elements have spatial effects, except for several indicators in the condition of the design. Compared with the conclusions of previous studies, some indicators have different effects on different spatial scales. For instance, on the micro scale, greening can enhance the attractiveness of streets. However, on the macro scale, too much greening brings fewer functions along the street, which inhibits the street vitality. The condition of design has the greatest effect, followed by destination accessibility. The differences in the influences of weekdays and weekends are mainly caused by commuting behaviors. Most of the built environment elements have stronger effects on weekends, indicating that people interact with the environment more easily during this period. Full article
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18 pages, 5021 KiB  
Article
The Relationship between Sustainable Built Environment, Art Therapy and Therapeutic Design in Promoting Health and Well-Being
by Zhen Liu, Zulan Yang and Mohamed Osmani
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(20), 10906; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182010906 - 17 Oct 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 7731
Abstract
At present, a smart city from the perspective of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) emphasizes the importance of providing citizens with promising health and well-being. However, with the continuous impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and the increase of city population, [...] Read more.
At present, a smart city from the perspective of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) emphasizes the importance of providing citizens with promising health and well-being. However, with the continuous impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and the increase of city population, the health of citizens is facing new challenges. Therefore, this paper aims to assess the relationship between building, environment, landscape design, art therapy (AT), and therapeutic design (TD) in promoting health within the context of sustainable development. It also summarizes the existing applied research areas and potential value of TD that informs future research. This paper adopts the macro-quantitative and micro-qualitative research methods of bibliometric analysis. The results show that: the built environment and AT are related to sustainable development, and closely associated with health and well-being; the application of TD in the environment, architecture, space, and landscape fields promotes the realization of SDGs and lays the foundation for integrating digital technologies such as Building Information Modeling (BIM) into the design process to potentially solve the challenges of TD; and the principle of TD can consider design elements and characteristics from based on people’s health needs to better promote human health and well-being. Full article
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