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Unformatted text preview: ls an understanding of a human perspective on the city as a living
environment. Thus, they do not deal with issues of beauty versus ugliness, but with city
spaces that are suited to human bodies and the human senses – with how we relate to our
surroundings and to our sensory system.
During recent years, the great work of Christopher Alexander, Nature of order, has been
published in four separate volumes. This work covers city planning, contentment and wellbeing, but the earliest example of cross-disciplinary work – including evidence-based
knowledge on health and on the physical environment that leads to planning
recommendations – is the book With people in mind from 1998. In this book, scholars
Stephan and Rachel Kaplan present some of the research achievements of their more than 20
years of work in environmental psychology. In an attempt to make their results accessible to
landscape architects, architects, managers of parklands and urban recreation areas, they have
been assisted by landscape architect Robert Ryan. To aid the design process, Ryan tries to
convert Kaplan and Kaplan’s theories to picture form. I believe, however, that Kaplan and
Kaplan’s results have been oversimplified in their attempt to make them applicable. Despite
this, theirs is an important contribution, which may inspire practitioners to look more closely
at their research findings. Comments on the selected literature
In the current political context, as in efforts toward the fifteen national environmental
quality objectives (SOU, 2000:52) and the public health bill Public Health Objectives (Prop.
2002/03:35), it is pointed out that urban green spaces are important to public health in
Sweden. It is stated that natural environments must be accessible to all groups in society,
even weak groups such as children, the elderly and the ailing. This has led, consequently, to
a demand – on the part of county councils, municipalities, practicing landscape architects,
politicians and the public – for knowledge and literature explaining how healing gardens as
well as the city and its natural environments should be given shape on the basis of the
perspective of health promotion. For several decades, researchers both in Sweden and other
countries have developed the literature on theories developed in environmental psychology.
This has resulted in a solid body of literature of high scientific quality. The literature on
theories of the design of healing gardens and theories of how everyday urban environments
may be planned to promote residents’ health is much more sporadic and tends not to be
based on scientific evidence. Problem formulation in the dissertation
The present doctoral dissertation focuses on two important goals in landscape architecture –
goals concerning human stress: 1. Designing healing gardens that have health-promoting
effects on patients suffering from fatigue reactions (burnout), and 2. Creating spaces for
relaxation and exercise in the everyday living envi...
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