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Special Issue "Landscapes and Human Health"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2017).

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. William C. Sullivan

Department of Landscape Architecture, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL, USA
Website | E-Mail
Guest Editor
Prof. Chun-Yen Chang

Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, National Taiwan University, Taiwan
Website | E-Mail

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

As urbanization increases around the world and fewer and fewer people have easy access to completely natural places, there is a growing need to understand how the landscapes we design and inhabit impact our health and wellbeing. Over the past 30 years, we have come to understand that exposure to nature, even urban nature, impacts human’s capacity to pay attention, recover from stressful events, and form stronger social ties among neighbors. Still, a number of pressing questions remain.

Some of these questions concern exposure to nature in built settings. What type of nature most effectively promotes health? What concentration or density of nearby nature is necessary to promote health? What exposure pathways (visual versus tactile? direct versus through a window versus on a screen?) effectively promote health?

Some of these questions concern the health outcomes of such exposure. We have empirical associations between exposure to nature and birth weight, heart disease, and depression. But these findings are tentative, hard to explain, and in need of further research. Moreover, for each of these outcomes, we do not know the dose–repose relationship that quantify the benefits of nearby nature. We also need a deeper understanding of the mechanisms through which the health benefits are produced.

Some questions center around who benefits from various forms of exposure to nearby nature. Are the health benefits of exposure to nearby nature consistent across a life span? Or are there various ages when nature exposure is more or less important? How do ethnic and cultural groups respond to varying exposures to nearby nature?

Finally, we know that people prefer and benefit from greener urban landscapes, but we understand little about the impact of ecologically healthy landscapes on human health and well-being. Biologically diverse, native landscapes contribute a great deal to the overall ecological integrity and resilience of a setting, but to what extent do these aspects of healthy landscapes also promote human health?

This Special Issue is open to these and similar questions related to the impacts of exposure to urban nature on public health. The listed keywords below suggest just a few of the many possibilities.


William C. Sullivan
Chun-Yen Chang
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 papers will be 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 semimonthly 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 1800 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

  • built environment
  • green infrastructure
  • landscape
  • urban forests
  • green space
  • mental health
  • attention
  • stress
  • physical activity
  • mood
  • crime
  • safety

Published Papers (20 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Landscapes and Human Health
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(10), 1212; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14101212
Received: 1 October 2017 / Revised: 1 October 2017 / Accepted: 9 October 2017 / Published: 11 October 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (222 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
As urbanization increases around the world and fewer and fewer people have easy access to completely natural places, there is a growing need to understand how the landscapes we design and inhabit impact our health and wellbeing.[...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscapes and Human Health)

Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review

Open AccessArticle
A Diagnostic Post-Occupancy Evaluation of the Nacadia® Therapy Garden
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(8), 882; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14080882
Received: 29 May 2017 / Revised: 21 July 2017 / Accepted: 25 July 2017 / Published: 5 August 2017
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (5633 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The design of the Nacadia® therapy garden is based on a model for evidence-based health design in landscape architecture (EBHDL). One element of the model is a diagnostic post-occupancy evaluation (DPOE), which has not previously been fully developed. The present study develops a [...] Read more.
The design of the Nacadia® therapy garden is based on a model for evidence-based health design in landscape architecture (EBHDL). One element of the model is a diagnostic post-occupancy evaluation (DPOE), which has not previously been fully developed. The present study develops a generic DPOE for therapy gardens, with a focus on studying the effects of the design on patients’ health outcomes. This is done in order to identify successes and failures in the design. By means of a triangulation approach, the DPOE employs a mixture of methods, and data is interpreted corroborating. The aim of the present study is to apply the DPOE to the Nacadia® therapy garden. The results of the DPOE suggest that the design of the Nacadia® therapy garden fulfills its stated aims and objectives. The overall environment of the Nacadia ® therapy garden was experienced as protective and safe, and successfully incorporated the various elements of the nature-based therapy programme. The participants encountered meaningful spaces and activities which suited their current physical and mental capabilities, and the health outcome measured by EQ-VAS (self-estimated general health) indicated a significant increase. Some design failures were identified, of which visual exposure was the most noteworthy. The DPOE model presented appears to be efficient but would nonetheless profit from being validated by other cases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscapes and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Experimental Study on the Health Benefits of Garden Landscape
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 829; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14070829
Received: 23 June 2017 / Revised: 17 July 2017 / Accepted: 21 July 2017 / Published: 24 July 2017
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (3905 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
To mitigate the negative effects of modern cities on health, scientists are focusing on the diverse benefits of natural environments; a conceptual approach to use gardens for promoting human health is being attempted. In this study, the effects of the visual landscape of [...] Read more.
To mitigate the negative effects of modern cities on health, scientists are focusing on the diverse benefits of natural environments; a conceptual approach to use gardens for promoting human health is being attempted. In this study, the effects of the visual landscape of a traditional garden on psychological and physiological activities were investigated. Eighteen male and female adults participated in this indoor experiment (mean age, 26.7 years). Twelve different landscape images for city and garden were presented continuously for 90 s. In the time series changes of oxygenated hemoglobin (O2Hb), different patterns of changes were observed between the city and garden. The mean O2Hb values increased for the city landscapes, whereas they decreased for the garden landscapes both in the left and right prefrontal cortices. Significant differences in the negative psychological states of tension, fatigue, confusion, and anxiety were observed between the city and garden landscapes. Important differences in the physiological and psychological responses to the two different landscapes were also detected between male and female participants, providing valuable clues to individual differences in the health benefits of natural landscapes. To validate the use of gardens as a resource for promoting health in urban dwellers, further scientific evidence, active communication, and collaboration among experts in the relevant field are necessary. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscapes and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Into the Woods or a Stroll in the Park: How Virtual Contact with Nature Impacts Positive and Negative Affect
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 786; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14070786
Received: 23 May 2017 / Revised: 6 July 2017 / Accepted: 11 July 2017 / Published: 14 July 2017
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (291 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study examined the effects of virtual contact with nature on positive and negative affect, and investigated the psychological process of perceived restorativeness as a mediator of this relationship. A sample of 220 Australians aged between 18 and 75 years (M = 49.07, [...] Read more.
This study examined the effects of virtual contact with nature on positive and negative affect, and investigated the psychological process of perceived restorativeness as a mediator of this relationship. A sample of 220 Australians aged between 18 and 75 years (M = 49.07, SD = 14.34, female = 72%) participated in the study. Participants were randomly allocated to one of the three experimental conditions experienced through video presentations: (1) ‘wild’ nature, (2) ‘urban’ nature, and (3) non-nature control. They then completed measures of perceived restorativeness as well as positive and negative affect. Compared to the non-nature control condition, the experience of wild nature resulted in significantly higher levels of positive affect and lower levels of negative affect. The experience of urban nature resulted in significantly lower levels of negative affect only compared to the non-nature control video. Experience of wild and urban nature resulted in greater perceptions of restorativeness as compared to the non-nature control video. Restorativeness was a significant underlying psychological mediating path through which nature experience exerted its influence on affect. These results have the potential to inform nature-based green care interventions for mental health as well as for urban planning to maximize beneficial effects of natural environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscapes and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Modeling the Effects of Urban Design on Emergency Medical Response Calls during Extreme Heat Events in Toronto, Canada
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 778; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14070778
Received: 30 May 2017 / Revised: 10 July 2017 / Accepted: 11 July 2017 / Published: 14 July 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (30500 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Urban residents are at risk of health-related illness during extreme heat events but the dangers are not equal in all parts of a city. Previous studies have found a relationship between physical characteristics of neighborhoods and the number of emergency medical response (EMR) [...] Read more.
Urban residents are at risk of health-related illness during extreme heat events but the dangers are not equal in all parts of a city. Previous studies have found a relationship between physical characteristics of neighborhoods and the number of emergency medical response (EMR) calls. We used a human energy budget model to test the effects of landscape modifications that are designed to cool the environment on the expected number of EMR calls in two neighborhoods in Toronto, Canada during extreme heat events. The cooling design strategies reduced the energy overload on people by approximately 20–30 W m−2, resulting in an estimated 40–50% reduction in heat-related ambulance calls. These findings advance current understanding of the relationship between the urban landscape and human health and suggest straightforward design strategies to positively influence urban heat-health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscapes and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Green Streets: Urban Green and Birth Outcomes
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 771; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14070771
Received: 31 May 2017 / Revised: 29 June 2017 / Accepted: 5 July 2017 / Published: 13 July 2017
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1064 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Recent scholarship points to a protective association between green space and birth outcomes as well a positive relationship between blue space and wellbeing. We add to this body of literature by exploring the relationship between expectant mothers’ exposure to green and blue spaces [...] Read more.
Recent scholarship points to a protective association between green space and birth outcomes as well a positive relationship between blue space and wellbeing. We add to this body of literature by exploring the relationship between expectant mothers’ exposure to green and blue spaces and adverse birth outcomes in New York City. The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), the NYC Street Tree Census, and access to major green spaces served as measures of greenness, while proximity to waterfront areas represented access to blue space. Associations between these factors and adverse birth outcomes, including preterm birth, term birthweight, term low birthweight, and small for gestational age, were evaluated via mixed-effects linear and logistic regression models. The analyses were conducted separately for women living in deprived neighborhoods to test for differential effects on mothers in these areas. The results indicate that women in deprived neighborhoods suffer from higher rates adverse birth outcomes and lower levels of residential greenness. In adjusted models, a significant inverse association between nearby street trees and the odds of preterm birth was found for all women. However, we did not identify a consistent significant relationship between adverse birth outcomes and NDVI, access to major green spaces, or waterfront access when individual covariates were taken into account. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscapes and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Urban Green Space Perception and Its Contribution to Well-Being
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 766; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14070766
Received: 11 May 2017 / Revised: 29 June 2017 / Accepted: 5 July 2017 / Published: 12 July 2017
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (5924 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Individual perceptions are essential when evaluating the well-being benefits from urban green spaces. This study predicted the influence of perceived green space characteristics in the city of Szeged, Hungary, on two well-being variables: the green space visitors’ level of satisfaction and the self-reported [...] Read more.
Individual perceptions are essential when evaluating the well-being benefits from urban green spaces. This study predicted the influence of perceived green space characteristics in the city of Szeged, Hungary, on two well-being variables: the green space visitors’ level of satisfaction and the self-reported quality of life. The applied logistic regression analysis used nine predictors: seven perceived green space characteristics from a questionnaire survey among visitors of five urban green spaces of Szeged; and the frequency of green space visitors’ crowd-sourced recreational running paths and photographs picturing green space aesthetics. Results revealed that perceived green space characteristics with direct well-being benefits were strong predictors of both dependent variables. Perceived green space characteristics with indirect, yet fundamental, well-being benefits, namely, regulating ecosystem services had minor influence on the dependent variables. The crowd-sourced geo-tagged data predicted only the perceived quality of life contributions; but revealed spatial patterns of recreational green space use and aesthetics. This study recommends that regulating ecosystem services should be planned with a focus on residents’ aesthetic and recreational needs. Further research on the combination of green space visitors´ perceptions and crowd-sourced geo-tagged data is suggested to promote planning for well-being and health benefits of urban green spaces. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscapes and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Positive Emotional Effects of Leisure in Green Spaces in Alleviating Work–Family Spillover in Working Mothers
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 757; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14070757
Received: 31 May 2017 / Revised: 29 June 2017 / Accepted: 6 July 2017 / Published: 11 July 2017
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (837 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Studies have shown that family and work spillover affects well-being and that leisure activities can alleviate the negative effects of work-related stress on health. However, few studies have focused on investigating the effects of specific leisure activities among specific populations. To examine whether [...] Read more.
Studies have shown that family and work spillover affects well-being and that leisure activities can alleviate the negative effects of work-related stress on health. However, few studies have focused on investigating the effects of specific leisure activities among specific populations. To examine whether leisure activities in green spaces can promote individual recovery processes and alleviate the effects of work and family spillover on positive emotions, this study applied the effort-recovery model to a population of working mothers. Through online and paper questionnaires, sample data were collected from 221 working mothers in Taiwan. Structural equation modeling was used to test the experimental hypothesis, and mediation analysis was used to determine whether leisure in green spaces is a mediating factor. The results indicated that leisure in green spaces is a mediator of the relationship of negative work and family spillover with positive emotions. In addition, strolls and park visits were found to provide greater psychological benefits to working mothers, compared with picnics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscapes and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Wind Farm Noise on Local Residents’ Decision to Adopt Mitigation Measures
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 753; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14070753
Received: 3 May 2017 / Accepted: 6 June 2017 / Published: 11 July 2017
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1025 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Wind turbines’ noise is frequently pointed out as the reason for local communities’ objection to the installation of wind farms. The literature suggests that local residents feel annoyed by such noise and that, in many instances, this is significant enough to make them [...] Read more.
Wind turbines’ noise is frequently pointed out as the reason for local communities’ objection to the installation of wind farms. The literature suggests that local residents feel annoyed by such noise and that, in many instances, this is significant enough to make them adopt noise-abatement interventions on their homes. Aiming at characterizing the relationship between wind turbine noise, annoyance, and mitigating actions, we propose a novel conceptual framework. The proposed framework posits that actual sound pressure levels of wind turbines determine individual homes’ noise-abatement decisions; in addition, the framework analyzes the role that self-reported annoyance, and perception of noise levels, plays on the relationship between actual noise pressure levels and those decisions. The application of this framework to a particular case study shows that noise perception and annoyance constitutes a link between the two. Importantly, however, noise also directly affects people’s decision to adopt mitigating measures, independently of the reported annoyance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscapes and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
The Effects of a Campus Forest-Walking Program on Undergraduate and Graduate Students’ Physical and Psychological Health
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 728; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14070728
Received: 25 April 2017 / Revised: 30 June 2017 / Accepted: 30 June 2017 / Published: 5 July 2017
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (609 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We conducted a campus forest-walking program targeting university and graduate students during their lunchtime and examined the physical and psychological effects of the program. We utilized a quasi-experimental design with a control group and a pretest–posttest design. Forty-seven men (M = 25.5 ± [...] Read more.
We conducted a campus forest-walking program targeting university and graduate students during their lunchtime and examined the physical and psychological effects of the program. We utilized a quasi-experimental design with a control group and a pretest–posttest design. Forty-seven men (M = 25.5 ± 3.8 years) and 52 women (M = 23.3 ± 4.3 years) volunteered to participate (experimental group n = 51, control group n = 48). The intervention group participated in campus forest-walking program once a week for six weeks; they were also asked to walk once a week additionally on an individual basis. Additionally, participants received one lecture on stress management. Post-tests were conducted both just after the program ended and three months after. A chi-square test, t-test, and repeated measures analysis of variance were used to evaluate the effects of the program. Health promoting behaviors (F = 7.27, p = 0.001, ES = 0.27) and parasympathetic nerve activity (F = 3.69, p = 0.027, ES = 0.20) significantly increased and depression (F = 3.15, p = 0.045, ES = 0.18) significantly decreased in the experimental group after the intervention compared to the control group. In conclusion, using the campus walking program to target students during their lunchtime is an efficient strategy to promote their physical and psychological health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscapes and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Green Mind Theory: How Brain-Body-Behaviour Links into Natural and Social Environments for Healthy Habits
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 706; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14070706
Received: 12 May 2017 / Revised: 16 June 2017 / Accepted: 28 June 2017 / Published: 30 June 2017
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (348 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We propose a Green Mind Theory (GMT) to link the human mind with the brain and body, and connect the body into natural and social environments. The processes are reciprocal: environments shape bodies, brains, and minds; minds change body behaviours that shape the [...] Read more.
We propose a Green Mind Theory (GMT) to link the human mind with the brain and body, and connect the body into natural and social environments. The processes are reciprocal: environments shape bodies, brains, and minds; minds change body behaviours that shape the external environment. GMT offers routes to improved individual well-being whilst building towards greener economies. It builds upon research on green exercise and nature-based therapies, and draws on understanding derived from neuroscience and brain plasticity, spiritual and wisdom traditions, the lifeways of original cultures, and material consumption behaviours. We set out a simple metaphor for brain function: a bottom brain stem that is fast-acting, involuntary, impulsive, and the driver of fight and flight behaviours; a top brain cortex that is slower, voluntary, the centre for learning, and the driver of rest and digest. The bottom brain reacts before thought and directs the sympathetic nervous system. The top brain is calming, directing the parasympathetic nervous system. Here, we call the top brain blue and the bottom brain red; too much red brain is bad for health. In modern high-consumption economies, life has often come to be lived on red alert. An over-active red mode impacts the gastrointestinal, immune, cardiovascular, and endocrine systems. We develop our knowledge of nature-based interventions, and suggest a framework for the blue brain-red brain-green mind. We show how activities involving immersive-attention quieten internal chatter, how habits affect behaviours across the lifecourse, how long habits take to be formed and hard-wired into daily practice, the role of place making, and finally how green minds could foster prosocial and greener economies. We conclude with observations on twelve research priorities and health interventions, and ten calls to action. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscapes and Human Health)
Open AccessArticle
Is Neighborhood Green Space Protective against Associations between Child Asthma, Neighborhood Traffic Volume and Perceived Lack of Area Safety? Multilevel Analysis of 4447 Australian Children
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(5), 543; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14050543
Received: 21 February 2017 / Revised: 16 April 2017 / Accepted: 4 May 2017 / Published: 19 May 2017
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (295 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Heavy traffic is a source of air pollution and a safety concern with important public health implications. We investigated whether green space lowers child asthma risk by buffering the effects of heavy traffic and a lack of neighborhood safety. Multilevel models were used [...] Read more.
Heavy traffic is a source of air pollution and a safety concern with important public health implications. We investigated whether green space lowers child asthma risk by buffering the effects of heavy traffic and a lack of neighborhood safety. Multilevel models were used to analyze affirmative asthma cases in nationally representative cross-sectional data from 4447 children aged 6–7 years old in Australia. Case-finding was based upon a triangulation of affirmative responses to three questions on doctor-diagnosed asthma, asthma-related medications and illness with wheezing lasting for at least 1 week within the 12 months prior. Among children considered to be exposed to high traffic volumes and areas with 0 to 20% green space quantity, the odds ratio of affirmative asthma was 1.87 (95% CI 1.37 to 2.55). However, the association between heavy traffic and asthma was significantly lower for participants living in areas with over 40% green space coverage (odds ratio for interaction 0.32, 95% CI 0.12 to 0.84). No association between affirmative asthma and green space coverage was observed for participants not exposed to heavy traffic, nor for the area safety variable. Protecting existing and investing in new green space may help to promote child respiratory health through the buffering of traffic-related air pollution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscapes and Human Health)
Open AccessArticle
Quality over Quantity: Contribution of Urban Green Space to Neighborhood Satisfaction
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(5), 535; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14050535
Received: 31 January 2017 / Revised: 12 April 2017 / Accepted: 10 May 2017 / Published: 16 May 2017
Cited by 16 | PDF Full-text (553 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
There is increasing evidence that the quality of green space significantly contributes to neighborhood satisfaction and well-being, independent of the mere amount of green space. In this paper, we examined residents’ perceptions of the quality and beneficial affordances of green space in relation [...] Read more.
There is increasing evidence that the quality of green space significantly contributes to neighborhood satisfaction and well-being, independent of the mere amount of green space. In this paper, we examined residents’ perceptions of the quality and beneficial affordances of green space in relation to objectively assessed accessibility and usability. We used data from a survey in two neighborhoods (N = 223) of a medium-sized city in the Netherlands, which were similar in the amount of green space and other physical and socio-demographic characteristics, but differed in the availability of accessible and usable green spaces. Results show that residents of the neighborhood with a higher availability of accessible and usable green spaces were more satisfied with their neighborhood. This difference was statistically mediated by the higher level of perceived green space quality. Neighborhood satisfaction was significantly positively related to well-being. However, residents of the two neighborhoods did not differ in self-reported well-being and beneficial affordances of green space. These analyses contribute to a further understanding of how the accessibility and usability of green spaces may increase people’s neighborhood satisfaction. It highlights the importance of perceived quality in addition to the amount of green space when examining the beneficial effects of green space. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscapes and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
The Salutary Influence of Forest Bathing on Elderly Patients with Chronic Heart Failure
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(4), 368; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14040368
Received: 20 December 2016 / Revised: 21 March 2017 / Accepted: 29 March 2017 / Published: 31 March 2017
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (2854 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Abstract: The aim of the current study was to test the hypothesis that forest bathing would be beneficial for elderly patients with chronic heart failure (CHF) as an adjunctive therapy. Two groups of participants with CHF were simultaneously sent to the forest or [...] Read more.
Abstract: The aim of the current study was to test the hypothesis that forest bathing would be beneficial for elderly patients with chronic heart failure (CHF) as an adjunctive therapy. Two groups of participants with CHF were simultaneously sent to the forest or an urban control area for a four-day trip, respectively. Subjects exposed to the forest site showed a significant reduction of brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) in comparison to that of the city group and their own baseline levels. The values for the cardiovascular disease related pathological factors, including endothelin-1 (ET-1), and constituents of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS), including renin, angiotensinogen (AGT), angiotensin II (ANGII), and ANGII receptor type 1 or 2 (AT1 or AT2) in subjects exposed to the forest environment were lower than those in the urban control group. Obviously, a decreased level of inflammatory cytokines and improved antioxidant function was observed in the forest group rather than in the city group. The assessment of the profile of mood states (POMS) indicated that the negative emotional mood state was alleviated after forest bathing. As anticipated, a better air quality in the forest site was observed according to the detection of PM2.5 (particulate matter <2.5 μm) and negative ions. These results provided direct evidence that forest bathing has a beneficial effect on CHF patients, and thus may pave the way for potential development of forest bathing as an effective adjunctive therapy on cardiovascular disorders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscapes and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
The Relationship between Neighbourhood Green Space and Child Mental Wellbeing Depends upon Whom You Ask: Multilevel Evidence from 3083 Children Aged 12–13 Years
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(3), 235; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14030235
Received: 3 January 2017 / Revised: 10 February 2017 / Accepted: 16 February 2017 / Published: 27 February 2017
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (290 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Recent reviews of the rapidly growing scientific literature on neighbourhood green space and health show strong evidence for protective and restorative effects on mental wellbeing. However, multiple informants are common when reporting mental wellbeing in studies of children. Do different informants lead to [...] Read more.
Recent reviews of the rapidly growing scientific literature on neighbourhood green space and health show strong evidence for protective and restorative effects on mental wellbeing. However, multiple informants are common when reporting mental wellbeing in studies of children. Do different informants lead to different results? This study utilised nationally representative data on Goodman’s 25-item Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire reported by 3083 children (aged 12–13 years old), and their parents and teachers. Multilevel models were used to investigate whether similar associations between child mental wellbeing (as measured using the total difficulties score and the internalising and externalising subscales) and neighbourhood green space quantity and quality are obtained regardless of the informant. After adjustment for confounders, higher green space quantity and quality were associated with consistently more favourable child mental wellbeing on all three measures, regardless of the informant. However, associations with green space quantity were statistically significant (p < 0.05) only for the parent-reported total difficulties score and the internalising subscale. Significant associations with green space quality were consistently observed for both parent- and child-reported outcomes. Teacher-reported outcomes were not significantly associated with green space exposure. Future studies of green space and child health should acknowledge when different informants of outcomes could lead to different conclusions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscapes and Human Health)
Open AccessArticle
Doses of Nearby Nature Simultaneously Associated with Multiple Health Benefits
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 172; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14020172
Received: 21 October 2016 / Accepted: 22 January 2017 / Published: 9 February 2017
Cited by 43 | PDF Full-text (1129 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Exposure to nature provides a wide range of health benefits. A significant proportion of these are delivered close to home, because this offers an immediate and easily accessible opportunity for people to experience nature. However, there is limited information to guide recommendations on [...] Read more.
Exposure to nature provides a wide range of health benefits. A significant proportion of these are delivered close to home, because this offers an immediate and easily accessible opportunity for people to experience nature. However, there is limited information to guide recommendations on its management and appropriate use. We apply a nature dose-response framework to quantify the simultaneous association between exposure to nearby nature and multiple health benefits. We surveyed ca. 1000 respondents in Southern England, UK, to determine relationships between (a) nature dose type, that is the frequency and duration (time spent in private green space) and intensity (quantity of neighbourhood vegetation cover) of nature exposure and (b) health outcomes, including mental, physical and social health, physical behaviour and nature orientation. We then modelled dose-response relationships between dose type and self-reported depression. We demonstrate positive relationships between nature dose and mental and social health, increased physical activity and nature orientation. Dose-response analysis showed that lower levels of depression were associated with minimum thresholds of weekly nature dose. Nearby nature is associated with quantifiable health benefits, with potential for lowering the human and financial costs of ill health. Dose-response analysis has the potential to guide minimum and optimum recommendations on the management and use of nearby nature for preventative healthcare. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscapes and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
The Role of Soundscape in Nature-Based Rehabilitation: A Patient Perspective
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(12), 1229; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13121229
Received: 29 September 2016 / Revised: 17 November 2016 / Accepted: 1 December 2016 / Published: 11 December 2016
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (886 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Nature-based rehabilitation (NBR) has convincing support in research, yet the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood. The present study sought to increase understanding of the role of soundscapes in NBR, an aspect paid little attention thus far. Transcribed interviews with 59 patients suffering [...] Read more.
Nature-based rehabilitation (NBR) has convincing support in research, yet the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood. The present study sought to increase understanding of the role of soundscapes in NBR, an aspect paid little attention thus far. Transcribed interviews with 59 patients suffering from stress-related mental disorders and undergoing a 12-week therapy programme in the rehabilitation garden in Alnarp, Sweden, were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenology Analysis (IPA). Described sounds were categorised as natural, technological or human. The results showed that patients frequently referred to natural sounds as being part of a pleasant and “quiet” experience that supported recovery and induced “soft fascination”. Technological sounds were experienced as disturbing, while perception of human sounds varied depending on loudness and the social context. The study further uncovered how sound influenced patients’ behaviour and experiences in the garden, through examination of three cross-theme dimensions that materialised in the study; sound in relation to overall perception, sound in relation to garden usage, and increased susceptibility to sound. The findings are discussed in relation to NBR; the need for a more nuanced understanding of susceptibility to sound among people suffering from mental fatigue was identified and design considerations for future rehabilitation gardens were formulated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscapes and Human Health)
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Open AccessReview
Health-Promoting Nature Access for People with Mobility Impairments: A Systematic Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 703; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14070703
Received: 4 June 2017 / Revised: 22 June 2017 / Accepted: 25 June 2017 / Published: 29 June 2017
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Abstract
This study systematically evaluated the scientific evidence for health benefits of natural environments for people with mobility impairments. Literature searches based on five categories of terms—target group, nature type, health-related impacts, nature-related activities and accessibility issues—were conducted in four databases (Web of Science, [...] Read more.
This study systematically evaluated the scientific evidence for health benefits of natural environments for people with mobility impairments. Literature searches based on five categories of terms—target group, nature type, health-related impacts, nature-related activities and accessibility issues—were conducted in four databases (Web of Science, Scopus, CAB ABSTRACT and Medline). Twenty-seven articles from 4196 hits were included in the systematic reviews. We concluded that people with mobility disabilities could gain different health benefits, including physical health benefits, mental health benefits and social health benefits from nature in different kinds of nature contacts ranging from passive contact, active involvement to rehabilitative interventions. Several issues related to the accessibility and use of nature for people with mobility impairments need attention from professionals such as landscape architects, rehabilitative therapists, caregivers and policy makers. The overall quality of methodology of the included studies is not high based on assessment of the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool (MMAT). Moreover, more randomized controlled trials and longitudinal studies that focus specifically on evidence-based health design of nature for people with mobility impairments in the future are needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscapes and Human Health)
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Open AccessReview
Within What Distance Does “Greenness” Best Predict Physical Health? A Systematic Review of Articles with GIS Buffer Analyses across the Lifespan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(7), 675; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14070675
Received: 31 May 2017 / Revised: 19 June 2017 / Accepted: 21 June 2017 / Published: 23 June 2017
Cited by 27 | PDF Full-text (1918 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Is the amount of “greenness” within a 250-m, 500-m, 1000-m or a 2000-m buffer surrounding a person’s home a good predictor of their physical health? The evidence is inconclusive. We reviewed Web of Science articles that used geographic information system buffer analyses to [...] Read more.
Is the amount of “greenness” within a 250-m, 500-m, 1000-m or a 2000-m buffer surrounding a person’s home a good predictor of their physical health? The evidence is inconclusive. We reviewed Web of Science articles that used geographic information system buffer analyses to identify trends between physical health, greenness, and distance within which greenness is measured. Our inclusion criteria were: (1) use of buffers to estimate residential greenness; (2) statistical analyses that calculated significance of the greenness-physical health relationship; and (3) peer-reviewed articles published in English between 2007 and 2017. To capture multiple findings from a single article, we selected our unit of inquiry as the analysis, not the article. Our final sample included 260 analyses in 47 articles. All aspects of the review were in accordance with PRISMA guidelines. Analyses were independently judged as more, less, or least likely to be biased based on the inclusion of objective health measures and income/education controls. We found evidence that larger buffer sizes, up to 2000 m, better predicted physical health than smaller ones. We recommend that future analyses use nested rather than overlapping buffers to evaluate to what extent greenness not immediately around a person’s home (i.e., within 1000–2000 m) predicts physical health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscapes and Human Health)
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Open AccessReview
Effects of Forest Therapy on Depressive Symptoms among Adults: A Systematic Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(3), 321; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14030321
Received: 24 December 2016 / Revised: 7 February 2017 / Accepted: 9 February 2017 / Published: 20 March 2017
Cited by 15 | PDF Full-text (879 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study systematically reviewed forest therapy programs designed to decrease the level of depression among adults and assessed the methodological rigor and scientific evidence quality of existing research studies to guide future studies. This systematic review was conducted in accordance with the Preferred [...] Read more.
This study systematically reviewed forest therapy programs designed to decrease the level of depression among adults and assessed the methodological rigor and scientific evidence quality of existing research studies to guide future studies. This systematic review was conducted in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. The authors independently screened full-text articles from various databases using the following criteria: (1) intervention studies assessing the effects of forest therapy on depressive symptoms in adults aged 18 years and older; (2) studies including at least one control group or condition; (3) peer-reviewed studies; and (4) been published either in English or Korean before July 2016. The Scottish Intercollegiate Guideline Network measurement tool was used to assess the risk of bias in each trial. In the final sample, 28 articles (English: 13, Korean: 15) were included in the systematic review. We concluded that forest therapy is an emerging and effective intervention for decreasing adults’ depression levels. However, the included studies lacked methodological rigor. Future studies assessing the long-term effect of forest therapy on depression using rigorous study designs are needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscapes and Human Health)
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