|Sunday, June 21|
How Familiarity with Green Space Moderates Natures Impact on Psychological Wellbeing
* Everly Jazi, The Ohio State University, United States
Alia Dietsch, The Ohio State University, United States
Contemporary health and environmental researchers continue to explore how time spent in green space (e.g., natural areas, urban parks, wilderness) is positively correlated with health outcomes, including reduced risk and severity of anxiety, ADHD, depression, respiratory disease, diabetes, and cancer (Kuo, 2015). However, many barriers and constraints have historically prevented disadvantaged populations (e.g. groups of differing race, socioeconomic status) from taking advantage of such promising outcomes, particularly in urban areas where access to green space may be limited. Additionally, certain populations are less familiar with nature, which can influence amount of time spent outside. Barton and Rogerson (2017) identified possible moderators of nature’s effects for future research, variables such as nature relatedness, childhood memories, perceptions of risk, social interaction, and social norms, all linked to familiarity and comfort. Thus, to improve health outcomes for those who might benefit most from time spent in green spaces, there is a need to understand how familiarity with nature interacts with wellbeing, and how best to engage audiences lacking this familiarity (Wolch, Byrne, & Newell, 2014; Lin et al., 2014; Barton & Rogerson, 2017). I conducted a literature review and analysis of key articles on nature, wellbeing, and interactions with social determinants of health to inform a pilot study I will conduct at Ohio State University during the academic year. My study will explore the developing theory of equigenesis of green space; that is, green space as the actor disrupting links between socioeconomic inequality and health disparities by “leveling up” the health of communities in need to a larger degree than those with access to more resources (Mitchell et al., 2015; Mitchell, 2013). With the objective of identifying interactions of familiarity in the causal chain of nature’s impact, I will run a pilot study on students walking along a riparian corridor or green space and later scale up to the larger Columbus, Ohio community. I will use a battery of nature-connectedness and outdoor use scales and wellbeing assessments, and supplemental analysis of connections to theory (e.g., Attention Restoration Theory, Stress Reduction Theory, Place Attachment Theory) in data collection and the evaluation approach, which is an area I will gain feedback and advice on during the workshop. Research on both green space’s equigenic effect and disparate access to green space have been conducted, mainly in European contexts. But, a study connecting the two with a unique focus on familiarity would be novel. Ultimately, my research will contribute to the overall knowledge of this field, informing outdoor programming and nature-based initiatives catering to diverse socio-demographic populations. The research I conduct will inform programs, like the nature prescription movement (NatureRx), to provide positive outcomes for Americans with the greatest need.
Biophilic Design and Mental Wellbeing: The Impact of Nature in Architecture on Positive Emotions and Prosocial Behaviour
* Bing-Tao Lee, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
Koen Steemers, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
It is anticipated that within a few decades more than two thirds of the world’s population will live in urban areas. However, psychopathology studies have shown that depression, anxiety disorders, and psychosis are more prevalent in cities. Hence, a healthy urban environment is imperative. As a multi-platform strategy, biophilic design can be a cost-effective vehicle for simultaneously contributing to human wellbeing and environmental sustainability. The integration of natural elements into built environments is known to have a significant positive impact on human emotion and cognition; however, their influence on prosocial behaviour has received comparatively little attention. Furthermore, biophilic design entails more than simply filling spaces with many plants. The characteristics of biophilic design, such as arrangement, complexity, and multisensory experiences, have also yet to be systematised and identified. Questions here include: what kind of green space is most effective? What are the characteristics that make biophilic design most effective? Is having a plant on a table or a living wall the same as having a window view of nature? Hence, this study focuses on two key indicators/proxies of mental well-being, i.e. positive emotions and prosocial behaviour, and how they are affected by design choices with respect to nature. Since people spend most of their time indoors, an indoor-plant-office scenario has been chosen. According to past research it is worth advancing the notion of the ‘Biophilic design prosociality loop’, referring to the virtuous circle created by exposure to plants: plants increase positive feelings, which lead to prosocial behaviour, and then prosocial behaviour in turn leads to positive emotions. Therefore, it is hypothesised that exposure to plants increases positive emotions, and so enhances prosocial behaviour. A pilot experiment has been conducted in the architecture department at the University of Cambridge. A mixed design with plants (i.e., either with or without plants) as the between-participants factor and phase (i.e., before and after exposure to plants) as the within-participants factor was adopted. The results of the emotional metrics are in line with current understanding. The experiment has provided indicative results regarding positive emotions, showing sensitivity to plants. However, the results for the prosocial metric remain inconclusive because of the small sample size and potential confounding factors. Thus, two parallel field experiments will be conducted in the proposed scenarios. One will refine the prosocial behaviour analysis and extend the pilot study to a bigger scale. Another will take the emotional experiments and focus more on the characteristics of the design, such as arrangement, complexity, and multisensory experiences. This proposed research will aim to combine environmental and positive psychology to not only advance research on biophilic design but also potentially provide guidance on characteristics for built-environment experts and architecture designers. Overall, the results from this research will be useful for supporting designs that represent nature in a way that is more likely to enhance individuals’ positive emotions and prosociality and contribute to building standards and urban policies. This is expected to promote wellbeing—in terms of both the hedonic and eudaimonic happiness of human beings.
Intermediate Spaces of the North: A Biophilic Approach for Inhabitants Well-being and Energy-efficient Buildings
* Tarlan Abazari, Universite Laval, Canada
Andre Potvin, Université Laval, Canada
Claude Demers, Universite Laval, Canada
This research discusses intermediate spaces as a practical biophilic solution to deal with thermal, lighting and well-being issues in buildings in Northern Canada. The extreme lighting and thermal climatic conditions of Northern Canada force people to spend most of their time inside buildings with insufficient connectivity to nature, thus affecting their photobiological regulation. Intermediate spaces, which are neither indoor nor outdoor, can articulate the complex connection between interior spaces and the exterior environments to improve human-nature connections, energy efficiency and inhabitants’ well-being. The concept of intermediate spaces, present in most vernacular society, has not yet received attention in contemporary architecture of the North. Such spaces could provide an interesting strategy to improve overall buildings’ performance and inhabitability in Northern latitudes by translating the innate adaptive capacities of the human body into adaptive architecture. This research first explores different typologies of intermediate spaces through reviewing existing literature and past and current practices. It develops a theoretical typology of intermediate spaces based on the positioning and subordination possibilities between opacity and transparency of built enclosures. Typologies most adapted no northern inhabitants living behaviours are developed to improve overall building performance in terms of physical indoor-outdoor transitions, inhabitants’ well-being and energy-efficiency. More specifically, each typology is simulated through dynamic computer modeling to optimise quantitative visual and thermal performance and minimise abrupt indoor-outdoor transitions. Scale models further documents the qualitative aspects of visual perception and complex north specific light behaviour affecting human perception. By analyzing advantages and drawbacks of several typologies, the research finally identifies the most determinant variables to design and localize intermediate spaces for extreme northern climatic condition. Intermediate spaces, by integrating the adaptive capacity of inhabitants into architecture can significantly contribute to the actual carbon neutral challenge of the North while foresting climate-robust solutions and responding to inhabitants’ traditional outdoor culture.