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Conference abstract, 2013

Using a virtual park to study the effects of edge design on potential for restoration

Hägerhäll, Caroline; Nordh, Helena


In dense urban areas even the smaller parks and open spaces are a vital resource. However, the ability of these parks to provide restoration varies dependent on the content and size (Nordh et al., 2009). In this study we investigate if the visual separation of a small park from its surroundings has an effect on the possibility of the park to be restorative. It is likely that the edge is particularly important to consider in the design of small urban parks, where you cannot escape unwanted distractions by just moving further into the park. The visual permeability of the edge decides what you can see and by whom you can be seen, and a more enclosed edge can likely promote a stronger sense of entering another world separate from the surroundings.To be able to study the isolated effect of the edge we used virtual reality. Based on a real existing park, a digital park model was created, in which the park content was kept constant while the closure of the edge differed from open (no edge vegetation) to semi open (only trees) to enclosed (trees and bushes). Independent groups of respondents (n22, n23, n29) experienced each of the three park conditions through a prefixed walk. While inside the park the respondents rated the experience using being away and fascination items from the PRS scale. After the walk respondents also evaluated the sense of presence they had felt in the virtual environment. Results will be presented at the conference.

Published in


10th Biennial Conference on Environmental Psychology

Authors' information

Nordh, Helena
Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)

UKÄ Subject classification

Landscape Architecture

URI (permanent link to this page)