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Balance in the Lomma harbour housing project

health aspects in theory, planning and design - the Lomma harbour housing project case

Skärbäck, Erik (2010). Balance in the Lomma harbour housing project. I/In: The 47th International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA) World Congress, 28-30 May 2010, Suzhou, China.
[Conference Paper]

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Our knowledge regarding the importance of the outdoor environment to our health is constantly increasing. Playground qualities have been shown to have an influence on the development of physical and mental abilities in children. We know that garden therapy facilitates the recovery and rehabilitation of people suffering from burnout syndrome. The outdoor environment has become an increasingly decisive factor in the choices people make
regarding where to live and work. The landscape is becoming a competitive factor in the attempts made by companies and local authorities to attract well-educated, mobile manpower
and housing.

City planning that fails to appropriately integrate green spaces into our work, housing and
everyday environments will likely result in lower productivity, poorer public health and
associated increases in social expenditures.
Research on environmental perception has increased our knowledge of how environmental
qualities, e.g. green areas, affect people’s well-being. The distance from green areas to your
home can largely explain your well-being. Also short relaxing views, called ”micro-pauses”,
have been shown to have positive effects. Frequent opportunities for recreational experiences
of ”non-demanding” natural elements, e.g., water, stones, earth, plants and animals, seem to
facilitate the emergence of creative, innovative environments.

The brain’s capacity to deal with large amounts of information in higher consciousness is highly limited. Processing of impressions such as office work, driving a car in traffic, etc., requires a great deal of mental energy.

Impressions from nature, however, such as rustling in a bush, a butterfly flying over a
meadow, etc., require very little mental energy. That kind of attention is located in the limbic
system and brainstem. Information taken in via our vision, hearing, sense of touch and smell
is largely processed subconsciously, likely partly in accordance with innate genetic memory
functions from millions of years of human evolution.
Stays in green environments seem to facilitate processing of information in higher
consciousness. Thus, such stays may help to prevent burnout caused by prolonged and high
workloads and stress.

Researchers have come to conclude that eight general characteristics of the outdoor green
environment correspond to people’s basic needs and demands: “Serene”, “Wild”, “Lush”, “Space”, “Culture”, “The Common”, “The Pleasure Garden”, and “Festive/centre”. In a recent study of southern-most Sweden that was carried out on a regional scale, the first five of the characteristics have been elaborated using GIS landscape data and have been compared with data from a large social health questionnaire (n=25,000 persons) covering the same area. The study showed that the quality of green areas expressed as the number of valuable characteristics in your neighborhood (within 300 m) is highly correlated with your well-being, your frequency of moderate physical activity and whether or not you are overweight, that is, your BMI (ibid.). The results were controlled for social economic differences. Epidemiologic studies seldom show associations as strong as those revealed in this case. This is valuable
evidence for our profession as landscape architects.
The eight characteristics can be seen as resources for housing, recreation, tourism and establishment of business parks, where the outdoor environment is an important attraction both for companies’ employees and for their customers. They can be seen as indicators for use
in impact assessment in planning projects. The eight characteristics can be handled as quality
criteria. If they are lost in development projects, authorities can require that developers use
compensation measures to mitigate negative impacts, renovate impaired resources, or replace
qualities and recreational functions that are severely damaged.
In a recently finished Interreg-project “Landscape as a Resource for health and development”
(http://www.sundskap.se/index_sv.htm), impact analyses of health and recreation have been
used in a development plans in the Öresund Region in a partnership between Sweden and
Denmark. Mitigation and compensation measures are being created to achieve environmental
quality goals.

Authors/Creators:Skärbäck, Erik
Title:Balance in the Lomma harbour housing project
Subtitle:health aspects in theory, planning and design - the Lomma harbour housing project case
Year of publishing :2010
Page range:12
Place of Publication:London
Publisher:London Science Publishing Ltd
Publication Type:Conference Paper (Paper)
Version:Accepted version
Full Text Status:Public
Agris subject categories.:P Natural resources > P01 Nature conservation and land resources
X Agricola extesions > X38 Human medicine, health, and safety
Subjects:Obsolete subject words > FORESTRY, AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES and LANDSCAPE PLANNING > Landscape planning > Landscape architecture
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 5 Social Sciences > 509 Other Social Sciences > Social Sciences Interdisciplinary (Peace and Conflict Research and Studies on Sustainable Society)
Keywords:well-being, health, balancing, compensation, green area factor, landscape characteristics
Permanent URL:
ID Code:8354
Department:(LTJ, LTV) > Landscape Architecture (until 121231)
Deposited By: Lennart Wiborgh
Deposited On:07 Oct 2011 11:52
Metadata Last Modified:02 Dec 2014 10:47

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