Special Issue "The Innovation Thinking of Urban Green on Human Health"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Urban and Rural Development".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Chun-Yen Chang
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, National Taiwan University, Taipei 10673, Taiwan
Interests: therapeutic landscapes; landscape ecology; landscape planning and design; landscape and human health
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. William C. Sullivan
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Landscape Architecture, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL 61820, USA
Interests: landscapes and human health; attention restoration theory; urban sustainability and human health
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue will present evidence-based articles that explore the extent to which exposure to urban green infrastructure impacts human health. A growing body of evidence demonstrates that contact with urban nature is related to health and wellbeing. The outcomes from previous work show that exposure to urban vegetation is associated with healthy neural and psychological functioning; studies have shown positive impacts of exposure to urban nature on attention restoration and reductions in stress, anxiety, and depression. Other studies have documented associations between exposure to green infrastructure and measures of physical health such as cardiovascular functioning and immune functioning. The vast majority of these studies occurred prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, during which the pace of innovation and the application of new technologies (e.g., wearable devices, artificial intelligence, machine learning, virtual reality, and big data) have been greatly accelerated. 

To what extent can advances in these recent technologies be employed to shed new light on the ways in which contact with nature impacts human health and wellbeing? In this Special Issue, we will publish findings that employ emerging technologies and shed new light on human–nature relationships with an emphasis on human health.  We are interested in publishing papers that span scales from small settings to urban planning. 

This Special Issue will have three main foci. First, we welcome papers from a variety of cultural and international settings that examine the relationships between urban nature and human wellbeing.  Second, we welcome papers that present new understandings growing from measurements made using emerging tools, instruments, and wearable devices for human psychological and physiological responses to nature. Third, we welcome papers that extend recent findings regarding the effects of exposure to urban nature on human health to city planning and urban design. These papers should provide actionable guidelines for how cities might evolve in ways that promote health and wellbeing.

Prof. Dr. Chun-Yen Chang
Prof. Dr. William Sullivan
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • human–nature experience
  • urban nature
  • green infrastructure
  • urban greening and health
  • landscape and human health
  • wellbeing
  • biophilic design
  • urban agriculture
  • vegetation
  • biodiversity

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Article
Cumulative Frequency of Nature Dose: How Continuous and Regular Forest Walking Improves Nature Relatedness, Restorativeness, and Learning Engagement in College Students
Sustainability 2021, 13(20), 11370; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su132011370 - 14 Oct 2021
Viewed by 222
Abstract
Forest is a natural resource that provides natural walking as a popular leisure activity for urban residents. From the perspective of “dose of nature”, continuous contact with natural environments and engagement in natural activities can gradually promote positive health benefits. This study aims [...] Read more.
Forest is a natural resource that provides natural walking as a popular leisure activity for urban residents. From the perspective of “dose of nature”, continuous contact with natural environments and engagement in natural activities can gradually promote positive health benefits. This study aims to explore the “cumulative frequency of nature dose” through regular forest walking. Ten college students were recruited to walk once a week for 30 min in the campus forest. Eight weeks of forest walking experiences were collected by administering questionnaires on nature relatedness, mental health, restorativeness, and learning engagement before the first walk, as well as after the fourth and the eighth walks. The findings of this study revealed that regular forest activities can induce accumulated natural benefits. By taking at least 30 min of forest walks once a week continuously for eight weeks, the subjects improved their mental health, increased learning engagement in school, gained more attention recovery and reflection experiences, and re-established a relationship with nature. In addition, different doses of natural benefits were observed for different cumulative processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Innovation Thinking of Urban Green on Human Health)
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Article
Cultural Sets Shape Adult Conceptualizations and Relationships to Nature
Sustainability 2021, 13(20), 11266; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su132011266 - 13 Oct 2021
Viewed by 297
Abstract
The variability of nature and the nature construct have complicated interpretations of empirical evidence from nature-based health studies. The challenge of defining nature exposure for purposes of methodological standardization may encompass constructs beyond vegetated landcover. This study offers a new construct for defining [...] Read more.
The variability of nature and the nature construct have complicated interpretations of empirical evidence from nature-based health studies. The challenge of defining nature exposure for purposes of methodological standardization may encompass constructs beyond vegetated landcover. This study offers a new construct for defining ‘nature exposure’ that considers cultural sets and nature familiarity. Focus group discussions across the United States (N = 126) explored the concept of what constitutes the relationship to nature. The participant diversity included regions, cultural demographics, cumulative nature experience, and everyday nature exposure. Mixed methods of semi-structured discussion and a photo exercise that prompted nature connectedness allowed for data triangulation and the detection of contradictions between approaches. Individuals conceptualized nature in ways reflecting highly personal and differentiated experiences, which defied consensus toward a single nature construct. The group scoring of photo imagery showed consistent high and low levels of nature connectedness with respect to wildness and outdoor urban venues, respectively, but diverged in the assessment of nature within the built environment. Everyday nature exposure significantly differentiated how groups conceptualized and related to nature imagery. This result may indicate an unmet biophilic need among groups with low backgrounds of nature exposure. The contrasts between the discussion content and the observed reactions to nature imagery showed the value of using mixed methods in qualitative research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Innovation Thinking of Urban Green on Human Health)
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Article
The Effects of Pedestrian Environments on Walking Behaviors and Perception of Pedestrian Safety
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 8728; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13168728 - 05 Aug 2021
Viewed by 480
Abstract
We investigated the effects of pedestrian environments on parents’ walking behavior, their perception of pedestrian safety, and their willingness to let their children walk to school. This study was a simulated walking environment experiment that created six different pedestrian conditions using sidewalks, landscape [...] Read more.
We investigated the effects of pedestrian environments on parents’ walking behavior, their perception of pedestrian safety, and their willingness to let their children walk to school. This study was a simulated walking environment experiment that created six different pedestrian conditions using sidewalks, landscape buffers, and street trees. We used within subjects design where participants were exposed to all six simulated conditions. Participants were 26 parents with elementary school children. Sidewalks, buffer strips, and street trees affected parents’ decisions to: walk themselves; let their children walk to school; evaluate their perception whether the simulated environment was safe for walking. We found that the design of pedestrian environments does affect people’s perceptions of pedestrian safety and their willingness to walk. The presence of a sidewalk, buffer strip, and street trees affected parents’ decision to walk, their willingness to let their children walk to school and perceived the pedestrian environment as safer for walking. The effects of trees on parents’ walking and perception of pedestrian safety are greater when there is a wide buffer rather than a narrow buffer. It was found that parents are more cautious about their children’s walking environments and safety than their own. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Innovation Thinking of Urban Green on Human Health)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Public Health Benefits and Urban Greening in High-Vacancy Neighborhoods
Authors: Wonjin Jeong, William Stewart
Abstract: Over the recent decades, environmental public health discourse has evolved from an emphasis on risk factors, to a broader view that includes the potential health benefits of urban nature. There has been increasing evidence of the positive impact of green space on the physical, mental, and social well-being of urban populations. The purpose of this study is to understand public health benefits associated with urban nature by examining the spatial distribution of health and wellness benefits from urban nature across the city of Chicago, with a focus on high vacancy neighborhoods. We conducted a spatial analysis to understand the relationship between the greening index and health index across the 77 community areas of Chicago. Our analysis demonstrates a significant overlap between geographic areas with lower health-related quality of life and areas with limited access to urban natural areas and green amenities. Our results are partially explained by including an assessment of the proportion of urban vacancy within each neighborhood. Our findings provide practical insights on the functions of urban greening in high-vacancy neighborhoods as a strategy to promote neighborhood health and safety.

Title: With or without water in different natural scale influence human’s psychological and physical health
Authors: Hsing-Fen Tang, Chun-Yen Chang, A-Young Lee, Chia-Ching Wu, Shih-Han Hung

Title: Human brain activity and emotional responses during the horticultural activity of 20's adults using electroencephalography
Authors: Sun-Ok Kim, A-Young Lee, Sin-Ae Park

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