Skip to main content
Research article, 2007

Landscape planning to promote well being

Skärbäck, Erik


There has been a rapid increase in knowledge regarding the importance of the external environment to our health. Eight characteristics of the outdoor environment (serene, wild, lush, spacious, the common, the pleasure garden, festive/ centre, and culture) have been identified as fulfilling recreational needs through a number of environmental psychology studies carried out at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Alnarp, Sweden, between 1995 and 2005. The external environment has become an increasingly decisive factor in people’s choices regarding where to live and work; the landscape has become a competitive factor in attempts made by companies and local authorities to attract well-educated, mobile manpower and housing. Knowledge-based companies predominate in the Öresund Region of Sweden and Denmark, which at present has substantial recreational values making it an attractive area in which to live and work. The region’s annual population growth is approximately 20,000 to 25,000 inhabitants. The prime ministers of Sweden and Denmark have expressed a common objective that the Öresund Region be one of Europe’s cleanest metropolitan regions. The objective of this article is to present methods for implementing the eight characteristics as indicators for impact assessment in planning projects. The article presents case studies of the application of environmental impact assessments in the municipalities of Malmö and Svedala, which are situated in the immediate vicinity of the Öresund Bridge. Development plans are being evaluated through impact assessment. Mitigation and compensation measures are being created to achieve the environmental quality goals defined by the eight characteristics. The case studies referred to in this article are in very early planning phases, either the feasibility or pre-feasibility phase. This article does not present complete investigations of balancing, but discusses some principal ways of defining values and suggests measures for mitigating and compensating for negative impacts on existing values.

Published in

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Permanent link to this page (URI)