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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Perceived Sensory Dimensions of Green Areas: An Experimental Study on Stress Recovery

Memari, Sanaz; Pazhouhanfar, Mahdieh; Grahn, Patrik


Natural environments have been shown to promote health, and are, therefore, important for achieving social sustainability in cities. As cities grow and become denser, it is important to develop knowledge about the characteristics of natural environments that work to promote health. Perceived Sensory Dimensions (PSDs) is a tool that defines eight different cultural ecosystem services. They correspond to different human needs (rest, exercise, socialising, pleasure, or security) resulting in rehabilitation and health and well-being promotion. An experiment was conducted to study the potential of PSDs to restore people who experienced stressful accidents. One hundred and fifty-seven participants were recruited and asked first to watch a film clip of serious accidents, then to look at the pictures, depicting one particular type of PSDs, while listening to its respective audio recording. Their stress levels were measured before exposure to the stressor (baseline), after exposure to the stressor (pre-test), and after exposure to a particular type of PSDs (post-test). The results show that all eight PSDs effectively provide mental recovery, but there are statistical differences in their potentials. As such, it is proposed that the combined potential of the PSDs is needed, and should be used to increase the capacity and supply of health-promoting urban green areas.


evidence-based health design; perceived sensory dimensions; cultural ecosystem services; social sustainability; restorative state; public health; mental health; stress reduction

Published in

2021, volume: 13, number: 10, article number: 5419

Authors' information

Memari, Sanaz
Golestan University
Memari, Sanaz
Deakin University
Pazhouhanfar, Mahdieh
Golestan University
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of People and Society

Associated SLU-program

Built environment

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG3 Good health and wellbeing

UKÄ Subject classification

Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Landscape Architecture

Publication Identifiers


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