Archives for posts tagged as "research"
We are approaching nearly 40 years of research about the linkages between nature experiences, human disease prevention, and health promotion. As more people move into cities, nearby nature spaces that provide mental and physical health benefits are needed more than ever. Recent research reveals the effects urban noise and distractions have on our minds and bodies, and suggests ways in which nearby tranquil spaces alleviate stress.
The global population is increasingly urban. More and more people are moving to cities for opportunities and resources, each region facing different challenges. City budgets are tight and communities have many needs. In the U.S. the ‘baby boomer’ population is aging into retirement. Globally, demands to compete and succeed in professional and personal lives can lead to mental and physical health decline. Inequality can hinder access to healthy places to live and thrive. Across these situations and demographics, a quiet moment in a nature space provides health benefits, sometimes extending into the long-term. Despite the known benefits, funding for green spaces in the midst of these needs can be challenging.Read more
Since the 1970s, health and nature research has integrated self-report questionnaires in understanding human experience. Analysis and design of these kinds of surveys has advanced tremendously, as well as methods to quantify changes in the human brain and body. But, much of what is known over the last few centuries has been based on conscious self-expression from philosophers and poets. Contemporary writers such as Rachel Carson, Jane Austen, and Jack Kerouac share personal accounts of a nature experience. In the past decade, powerful insight and meaning is gleaned from the breadth of experiences documented in Nature Sacred’s Bench Stories.Read more
The Nature Sacred Award Initiative supports several projects investigating how humans benefit from being outside. One of these research projects is combing through the fine details of this overarching research endeavor using eye movement technology. Kardan and colleagues (2015) are investigating what we notice, focus on, prefer and feel when we view nature images. These findings will help landscape designers and therapists understand how to design a nearby nature space. In this newly released study, participants viewed images of natural scenes and were asked to either memorize the image, search for an object, or rate their preference of the scene.Read more
Taking a walk in the park, going for a hike, or watching a tree sway in the wind feels intuitively relaxing. Health and nature research takes this a step further by asking how much, how often, and under what conditions humans benefit from spending time outside. Understanding what is happening outside of our awareness is where the scientific process steps in. In an era where more and more people are moving into cities, it is certainly worth our time to know how to build healthy urban spaces. And it is certainly worthwhile to assess the causes and correlations of nature-based health outcomes.
What conditions in our urban green spaces promote health? Exercising outside, breathing cleaner air, robust biodiversity? Does resting in a nearby park promote better sleep, increased social ties, or stronger immune systems? Kuo’s research review suggests nature’s ability to enhance immune functioning may be the major reason behind a host of health benefits.Read more
Nature Sacred: In your role as Director of Research and Horticulture at Gardens by the Bay, what are your main tasks and projects?
Dr. Loo: Strategically, my team’s role is to inspire science within the gardens – amongst the staff and building up the capacity to use science to resolve horticultural problems. We have developed a research facility that includes a lab, tissue culture facilities and research conservatories. We are constantly building up our breeding capabilities and propagate interesting horticultural ornamentals such as orchids, begonias, bromeliads, gesnerids etc. A big part of the research also goes into soil science and aspects of plant physiology such as light levels, temperature and how flowering is affected by these. The department also does plant interpretation and we write catchy descriptions of plants that are interesting and at the same time botanically accurate in terms of their identity as species or cultivars and their ethnobotanical uses.Read more
We can design our cities in ways that lower stress and better our health. Our urban green spaces can be tailored to local needs while also incorporating elements desired across the world. But, what general principles do we know? How can your city implement community-centered, open green spaces?
The Landscape and Urban Planning journal is a major publication platform for researchers and designers representing general trends and new ideas in cities across the globe.Read more
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of organizations supporting nature access in our cities. This year’s Earth Day alone was a reminder of the many people working to make our cities healthy, meaningful, and liveable. Our collective conscious is becoming more aware of how modern life disrupts our connection to nature and our bodies. And more research every day shows how urban green spaces improve health. This April we have highlighted several organizations who are doing their own research or advocacy for green spaces. We close out this month by taking a closer look at several projects and publications within our Nature Sacred National Awards Program.Read more