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Farmers markets as restorative environments


Restorative environments provide stress relief and renewed attention capacity. Pristine natural environments are most commonly considered restorative, however a growing body of work has been extending the concept to built settings. This study explores farmers markets’ potential as restorative environments. We analyzed site features at two farmers markets and surveyed patrons to assess perceived restorativeness and market features’ influence on perceived restorativeness. Results indicated farmers markets can function as restorative environments. Site features related to restorative qualities were Market Activities, Sensory Elements, Market Structure, Patron Characteristics, and Groups and Density. Perceived restorativeness did not differ between a market in a park or in a hardscaped setting, implying that markets do not need to be in park-like settings to provide respite from urban living. Results highlighted social interaction and sense of community as important features contributing to restorative farmers market experiences. Social aspects of restorative environments are ripe for further study.

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