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Conference paper - Peer-reviewed, 2007

ASSESSMENT OF HEALTHY LANDSCAPES USING GIS

Skärbäck, Erik

Abstract

Interview studies in landscape architecture/environmental psychology at SLU, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Landscape Planning, have revealed eight characteristics of outdoor recreation (Serene, Wild, Lush, Spacious, the Common, the Pleasure garden, Festive/centre and Culture) that correspond to basic human needs. Lund University has a unique database based on questionnaire responses and hospital statistics for 29,000 persons in the southern Swedish Scania Region concerning their health and well-being and their own description of their immediate environment. Recent results indicate that 29% of the total population and 46% of those living in apartment blocks in Scania, Sweden, are exposed to road traffic noise exceeding the national norm. "Noise can be not only annoying but also damaging to the health, and is increasing with economic development" (WHO). In this study, we have tested how the characteristics can be evaluated using GIS techniques on a large scale for the same region, and we evaluate whether there exist significant correlations between these data and people’s health. We have excluded the largest cities because we lack relevant data at this time. Our first glimpses at the data revealed interesting results. The high correlation between the prevalence of GIS-evaluated characteristics and people’s responses concerning the existence of accessible parks and woods in their immediate environment indicates that development of parameters for GIS evaluation is on the right path. This is also indicated by the high correlation between the feeling of a cosy atmosphere and the prevalence of the characteristics. A great feeling of affinity is also correlated with the GIS classification. People from areas with only 1 or 2 characteristics are more likely to feel disturbed by noise. If 3 or more characteristics are present, a smaller proportion of the population report feeling disturbed by noise. People who have very few of the characteristics in their surroundings are more likely to spend their leisure time sitting than being active

Published in


Publisher: National Association of Environmental Professionals

Conference

NAEP 2007 annual conference