Urban Environment: A Restorative Environment

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On the other hand, nature elements are proven to restore attentional fatigue and contribute both psychological and physiological benefits (Hartig et al., 2003; Ulrich & Simons, 1986; Ulrich et al., 1991). R. Kaplan and Kaplan (1989) proposed a restorative environment requires four features: being away, extent, fascination and compatibility to promote recovery from attentional fatigue. In natural environment, urban dwellers can obtain a sense of freedom from daily routine and projects that require massive mental efforts (being away). Nature usually has abundant and coherent landscape structures. It encompasses trails for exploration (extent), and many attractive elements, such as: animals, trees or plants, water features (fascination), and it…show more content…
With more needs for nature experience and sustainable development in urban areas, increasing importance has been attached to urban open spaces since they play a crucial role to support the ecology system and form a natural network in the cities (Chiesura, 2004; Tzoulas et al., 2007). Urban open spaces include plazas, parks, campus, greenways and other green spaces. They serve as islands of nature, enriching urban landscapes, adjusting the microclimate, promoting biodiversity and providing habitats for other species (Chiesura, 2004; Do, Kim, Kim, & Joo, 2014; Morimoto, 2011). Apart from these benefits, they also show a great impact on urban dwellers’ health, since open spaces offer places for outdoor activities and opportunities for contact with nature (Chiesura, 2004). Tyrväinen et al. (2014) indicated that even short-term visits to urban green spaces have positive psychological and physiological effects on perceived stress relief. People were attracted to urban open spaces for physical activities, social interactions, and a relief from daily life, which benefit their mental and physical health (Thwaites, Helleur, & Simkins, 2005). A large epidemiological study in Britain looked at mortality and morbidity among three income levels in relation to urban residents’ access to green open space (Mitchell & Popham,…show more content…
(R. Kaplan, 2001; R. Kaplan & Kaplan, 1989; Purcell & Lamb, 1984; Ulrich, 1986). It means that the larger proportion of natural patch area may promote environmental preference in urban settings (van Den Berg, Hartig, & Staats, 2007). Additionally, significant positive correlations are found between landscape preferences and landscape heterogeneity and diversity (Dramstad et al., 2006; Franco, Franco, Mannino, & Zanetto, 2003; Lee et al., 2008; Palmer, 2004). Their findings suggested that the landscapes which function ecologically (e.g. less fragmented and more heterogeneous) are more attractive (Forman, 1995; Lee et al., 2008). For instance, urban residents are more likely to be satisfied with their neighborhood environments when these environments contain large connected tree patches which are considered function better ecologically (Lee et al., 2008). However, some researchers held the opposing opinions referring to the relationships between ecological landscape and human preference (Gobster, 1994; Steinitz, 1990). Parsons (1995) suggested that ecologically sustainable environments are perceived to be less attractive. Steinitz (1990) has conducted a study in a U.S. national park and observed significant conflicts between visual preference and landscape sustainability. However, little empirical work has been reported the similar findings for urban green spaces or
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