Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UCI professor creates formula for designing landscapes best suited for people’s well-being

19.01.2005


Method could assist city and urban planners, architects, and landscape designers; affirms importance of restorative elements such as water and flowers



At $350 million, New York City’s Sept. 11 memorial for Ground Zero features pools of water, oak trees and vast open space for the sun to shine through. But given the huge investment, are these carefully chosen aesthetic touches truly the right ones? Will they resonate for visitors to the memorial? And what will they mean to those living and working in lower Manhattan?

UC Irvine social ecologist Oladele Ogunseitan may be able to provide the answers. Ogunseitan has created a method to measure the relationship between a person’s environment and his or her mental well-being. Environmental psychologists have long believed that a relationship between these two exists, but, until now, there has been no scientific method for testing the strength of the association and pinpointing preferences by populations. According to Ogunseitan, this new method can help planners and designers determine which architectural or landscape designs will have a more positive impact than others on a specific population.


“Before investing millions of dollars in a public park, corporate plaza or other type of communal space, we could use this instrument to assess the preferences of people who would be living and working near the space, and then create environments that enhance the general health and well-being of those people,” said Ogunseitan.

In a study being published in the February issue of Environmental Health Perspectives, Ogunseitan uses this method to examine topophilia – a person’s love of place – to dissect people’s preferences for specific environmental features. The method looked at four categories, including natural (water, trees, flowers, hills), sensory (colors, smells, sounds, light), familiarity (spaciousness, privacy) and complexity (mystery, texture). He surveyed 379 people, asking them to rate how important certain features are in an urban environment that they perceive as healing or restorative. He then asked people about their general sense of mental well-being, using a quality of life assessment survey developed by the World Health Organization.

A statistical analysis of the replies found a positive association between a person’s connection to a restorative environment and a person’s mental health. The study also found the most common features participants saw as enhancing their mental health were the presence of flowers and large bodies of water, such as lakes or oceans. In addition, buildings or landscapes with complex designs were not seen as healing to most study participants.

According to Ogunseitan, the study shows that the impact of an urban environment on quality of life depends not only on aesthetic appeal of a place, but also on how well people feel a connection or bond with it.

Ogunseitan says the real significance of this study is the development of a scientific method for measuring the relationship. “I expect to see more researchers explore the interactions between the topophilia and quality of life categories I’ve mapped out,” Ogunseitan said.

Ogunseitan believes this type of assessment could assist city and urban planners, architects, and landscape designers who are involved in projects with large communal spaces that are intended to be healing, such as the Sept. 11 memorial, “Reflecting Absence.” He cites the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., designed by Maya Lin, and the Getty Center in Los Angeles, designed by Richard Meier, as examples of designs that incorporate healing or restorative elements. The complex exterior of the Seattle Central Library designed by Rem Koolhaas and the Walt Disney Concert Hall designed by Frank Gehry are the types of structure that his study participants would not find restorative. Although, Ogunseitan notes, the people of Los Angeles may be attracted to the restorative aspects of the Disney Hall interior’s musical function for which the structure is designed.

The study was funded by the UCI Libraries and UCI’s Claire Trevor School of the Arts, which has commissioned Maya Lin to develop an outdoor plaza.

About the University of California, Irvine: The University of California, Irvine is a top-ranked public university dedicated to research, scholarship and community service. Founded in 1965, UCI is among the fastest-growing University of California campuses, with more than 24,000 undergraduate and graduate students and about 1,400 faculty members. The second-largest employer in dynamic Orange County, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $3 billion.

Lori Brandt | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uci.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Scientists on the road to discovering impact of urban road dust
18.01.2018 | University of Alberta

nachricht Gran Chaco: Biodiversity at High Risk
17.01.2018 | Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Optical Nanoscope Allows Imaging of Quantum Dots

Physicists have developed a technique based on optical microscopy that can be used to create images of atoms on the nanoscale. In particular, the new method allows the imaging of quantum dots in a semiconductor chip. Together with colleagues from the University of Bochum, scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute reported the findings in the journal Nature Photonics.

Microscopes allow us to see structures that are otherwise invisible to the human eye. However, conventional optical microscopes cannot be used to image...

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rutgers scientists discover 'Legos of life'

23.01.2018 | Life Sciences

Seabed mining could destroy ecosystems

23.01.2018 | Earth Sciences

Transportable laser

23.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>