Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)

Book chapter2021Peer reviewed

Urban nature and its potential to contribute towards human well-being

Ode Sang, Åsa; Hedblom, Marcus


This chapter focuses on the psychological impact that exposure to urban natural environments has on health and well-being. A common way to explain how natural environments contribute towards the beneficial aspects of well-being is Attention Restoration Theory (ART). A plethora of studies compares the effects of exposure to natural environments as opposed to built-up artificial urban settings. Methodological problems also arise in terms of physical accessibility and socio-psychological accessibility. Physical accessibility is determined by attributes such as distance and physical barriers. Socio-psychological accessibility is determined by attributes associated with the observer, where identification of accessible greenspace depends on individual perceptions and awareness of different neighborhoods. Different definitions of greenspace, availability, and access are commonly used in making the link between health and natural environments. The increasing trend of chronic inflammations for urban citizens in high-income urban areas is probably linked to a lack of contact with microbial biodiversity.

Published in

Title: The Routledge Handbook of Urban Ecology
ISBN: 978-1-138-58135-7, eISBN: 978-0-429-50675-8
Publisher: Routledge