Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Putting Science Before Inspiration, Professor Creates Formula For Designing Landscapes Best Suited For People's Well-being

Date:
January 22, 2005
Source:
University Of California, Irvine
Summary:
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?

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 Oledele 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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of California, Irvine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of California, Irvine. "Putting Science Before Inspiration, Professor Creates Formula For Designing Landscapes Best Suited For People's Well-being." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 January 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050121105815.htm>.
University Of California, Irvine. (2005, January 22). Putting Science Before Inspiration, Professor Creates Formula For Designing Landscapes Best Suited For People's Well-being. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050121105815.htm
University Of California, Irvine. "Putting Science Before Inspiration, Professor Creates Formula For Designing Landscapes Best Suited For People's Well-being." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050121105815.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins