Green spaces in urban environments as a human restoration resource
Abstract: Densification in cities around the world is a trend and the amount of people who is suffering from stress is increasing. It is well known that green environments are good for our health and that they can help to reduce stress. Can smaller green environments, such as pocket parks, have a positive restorative effect on people? In this thesis, different theories are selected and described and then compared and common themes between the theories are identified. Existing research concerning restorative effects of green environments and particularly pocket parks are reviewed and evaluated. The knowledge that is gathered is resulting in recommendations of what to consider and include of the following elements: focal point, deflected vistas, depth, water (visually and sound), patterns and colours, wildness, wildlife (visually and sound), edges/borders, roof, view from a window, wind, paths, people, enclosure, different rooms, seating arrangements, the experience of size and crowding. Finally, the importance of green spaces in urban environments, how the environments we are in effect us and what a designer/planner should think about when designing pocket parks in urban environments is discussed. It is important that we protect smaller green spaces in urban environments as they are an invaluable asset for any city and they should withstand the ”exploitation pressure” that is happening due to densification. Everybody needs a close access to some kind of green areas, small or big, so it is important that green areas are seen as a part of the bigger picture of densification.
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