Berkeley Planning Journal
Urban Nature and Well-Being: Some Empirical Support and Design Implications
- Author(s): Knecht, Carey
- et al.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.5070/BP317111508
This article is a literature review of empirical research on the relationship between exposure to nature and the well- being of city inhabitants. Two scales of nature are discussed – urban green space and wilderness. Urban green space may reduce physiological stress levels, restore mental abilities, and foster neighborhood social ties. Wilderness experiences may provide the stress-reducing and attention- restoring benefits of everyday nature in a longer-lasting way. They are also associated with a variety of spiritual/ transcendent experiences that provide benefits such as greater self-confidence, a sense of belonging to something greater than oneself, and renewed clarity on “what really matters.” At each scale, the article considers the physical features key to the natural area’s benefits on well-being and the implications of the research for urban planning. The article concludes that providing both types of restorative natural environments in cities will make urban life more livable and environmental protection more instinctual.