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Unformatted text preview: he fewer occasions of stress you suffer. The findings also
show that this phenomenon is independent of sex, age and socioeconomic status. Thus, we 23 may call the positive health effects of stays in urban green spaces democratic. If the goal of
society is better health on equal terms for all city dwellers, then it would seem fruitful to
invest in urban green spaces as a tool in achieving this public health goal. With this as our
point of departure, we were able to pose questions to the database that concern how a city
should be planned if it is to promote the health of its inhabitants.
Among the results applicable to the context of planning and design, we find that what
prevents respondents from spending time in urban green spaces is lack of time and the fact
that the closest green area is a great distance from their home. The length of visits to urban
green spaces is the single factor most important to promoting health and counteracting
stress. The results also show that after a distance of 50 meters from home is exceeded, the
length of visits decreases and the frequency of stress occasions increases. Thus, it is
important that public green areas be located near residential areas. Our interest in
investigating how important it is to have a natural environment immediately adjacent to the
dwelling resulted in Paper IV, which takes a closer look at this question.
The survey questions have provided us with a great deal of information about the
respondents. We know, for instance, where they live, their sex, age, educational level, where
they work, their form of housing and how they feel. What we do not have, however, is
information on their lifestyles. Because people’s lifestyles are varyingly sound, there is a
risk that those who are not interested in spending time in city parks have simply chosen not
to respond to the survey. I would like to have seen survey questions addressing the issue of
lifestyle. In this connection, however, it should be pointed out that participation in a raffle
for a trip to Egypt was promised to everyone who answered the survey, which may have
encouraged even people who are not particularly interested in urban green spaces to
complete the survey.
The results presented in Paper III must be further developed into more user-friendly design
tools for planners, architects and landscape architects. My contribution in this study
involved posing relevant questions to the data based on the overall hypothesis, developing
index classes for greenery, checking statistical lists chiefly concerning socioeconomic status
as well as writing the paper in collaboration with Associate Professor Patrik Grahn. We also
presented this paper orally at the IUFRO conference in Copenhagen in 2002. Paper IV. A Garden at Your Doorstep May Reduce Stress: Private Gardens
as Restorative Environments in the City
Increasingly, people in the West are living their lives farther from nature. The majority of
Swedes now live in cities and, moreover, spend most o...
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