Negami and colleagues investigated the psychological repercussions of urban design. Their published study indicates that “the urban environment has great potential to shape residents’ experiences and social interactions, as well as to mitigate social isolation by promoting trust and sociability. The current study examines the effects of urban design interventions, such as colorful crosswalks and greenery, on participants’ mental well-being, sociability and feelings of environmental stewardship. Participants were led on walks of Vancouver’s West End neighborhood, stopping at six sites . .
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. . .
Getting people rolling isn't easy
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 . . .
An Engemann-lead team determined that growing up in greener areas has lifelong benefits. The investigators found that “Green space presence was assessed at the individual level using high-resolution satellite data to calculate the normalized difference vegetation index within a 210 × 210 m square around each person’s place of residence (∼1 million people [in Denmark]) from birth to the age of 10. . . . high levels of green space presence during childhood are associated with lower risk of a wide spectrum of psychiatric disorders later in life.
A Konig-lead team confirms the important links between culture and the experience of place. The researchers report that “The living environment plays a critical role in healthy aging. . . . The aim of this study was to shed light on older adults’ (. . .ages 70+) living situations and their demands on the neighborhood in two countries, the United States . . . and Germany. . . . Differences between countries were more pronounced than differences between age groups or living areas, indicating that cultural influence is a key aspect of needs assessment for neighborhood design. . . .
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Options to improve society-wide wellbeing
Micromobility services, providing dockless bikes and electric scooters, for instance, abound in cities. Transportation for America has prepared a “playbook” for managing these services in ways that optimize positive experiences, which is available free at the website noted below. On the Shared Micromobility Playbook’s website Steve Davis describes it: “Produced in collaboration with 23 cities, Transportation for America released a new “Playbook” to help cities think about how to best manage shared micromobility services like dockless bikes, electric scooters, and other new technologies th
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. . . .