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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2010

The relation between perceived sensory dimensions of urban green space and stress restoration

Grahn, Patrik; Stigsdotter, Ulrika K.


Research indicates a relationship between sensory perception of natural environments and human health. Our hypothesis is that people perceive green spaces in terms of certain dimensions, where some dimensions are more important and preferred than others with respect to restoring people from stress.The aims are to: identify and describe the perceived dimensions in nature; identify which dimensions people in general prefer: identify the dimensions people reporting stress prefer: and identify a combination of the dimensions people reporting stress prefer.A total of 953 randomly selected informants from nine Swedish cities (representative of the Swedish population) answered a postal questionnaire with pre-coded questions. The questionnaire consisted of three parts: personal data, preferences for natural qualities and self-estimations of health status. The data were analyzed using factor analysis and regression analyses.The results identify and describe eight perceived sensory dimensions. People in general prefer the dimension Serene, followed by Space, Nature, Rich in Species, Refuge, Culture, Prospect and Social. The dimensions Refuge and Nature are most strongly correlated with stress, indicating a need to find the most restorative environments. A combination of Refuge, Nature and Rich in Species, and a low or no presence of Social, could be interpreted as the most restorative environment for stressed individuals.From a city planning perspective, the results indicate how urban green spaces can be viewed as elements of importance to public mental health. However, before the dimensions can be used by practitioners as tools to promote health through city planning, more research is needed. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Preference; Health promotion; Public health; City planning; Characteristics

Published in

Landscape and Urban Planning
2010, Volume: 94, number: 3-4, pages: 264-275

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG11 Sustainable cities and communities
    SDG3 Good health and well-being

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Landscape Architecture
    Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

    Publication Identifiers


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