Outdoor Environment

Understanding Park Use (03-07-19)

Park probed factors linked to park use.  He reports that  “As the world becomes more urbanized, neighborhood parks are becoming an increasingly important venue where people engage in physical and social activities. Using park-use data collected by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), the aim of this study is to account for park use in light of park attributes and neighborhood conditions. . .

Wellbeing and Parks (02-27-19)

Yuen and Jenkins link time spent in parks and higher feelings of wellbeing.  The team learned that “visitors from three urban parks completed a short questionnaire evaluating SWB [subjective well-being] (with two components: affect [emotion] and life satisfaction) immediately before and after their park visit. . . . Results indicated a significant improvement in SWB, affect, and life satisfaction scores of park visitor participants from before and after their visit. Duration of park visit was . . . associated with SWB scores, and . . .

Spending Short Amounts of Time in Nature (02-07-19)

Neill and colleagues have confirmed that there are benefits to spending even short amounts of time in nature.  They conducted “Two studies . . . with university students to examine whether the duration of nature contact influences the magnitude of benefits for both hedonic (positive and negative affect [emotions]) and self-transcendent emotions. Study 1 investigated whether 5 minutes of sedentary nature contact influenced both emotion types, and Study 2 examined whether mood improvements are sensitive to the duration of nature contact (5 vs. 15 minutes).

Planting for Thermal Comfort (01-02-19)

Zolch and colleagues studied how the presence of plants influences comfort in public squares, and their findings are applicable in many outdoor spaces.  The team learned that “At daytime designs with a maximum shaded area provide best thermal conditions. . . . At night unhindered air flow and reduced heat storage in meadows performed best.”  More details on the Zolch-lead study: “The present study assessed typical greening designs of rectangular public squares and their microclimatic influences during a hot summer day both during day and night-time conditions. . . .

River Restoration Important (09-21-18)

Cottet and her team evaluated how the components of urban views influence assessments of them.  The group studied “the influences of landscape composition on the landscape perceptions and valuations of city dwellers. . . . We considered three scenes located along a green promenade that borders an urban river. . . . The natural section of the river is where we observed distinct gaze behaviors that can be interpreted as signs of fascination, which is known to promote attention recovery.

Outdoor Beauty (09-07-18)

Seresinhe, Preis, and Moat wondered what made an outdoor space beautiful.  To answer their question the team “explore[d] whether ratings of over 200 000 images of Great Britain from the online game Scenic-Or-Not, combined with hundreds of image features extracted using the Places Convolutional Neural Network, might help us understand what beautiful outdoor spaces are composed of. We discover that, as well as natural features such as ‘Coast’, ‘Mountain’ and ‘Canal Natural’, man-made structures such as ‘Tower’, ‘Castle’ and ‘Viaduct’ lead to places being considered more scenic.

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