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Unformatted text preview: f their time indoors (Qvarsell &
Torell, 2001). This insight resulted in several questions concerning the home environments
of city dwellers in Sweden. The overall question addressed in Paper IV is: Can gardens
surrounding residential homes in cities help to create a less stressful everyday environment?
Attendant questions addressed here include: Does living in an apartment versus living in a
house with a garden have any affect on health? Does having a balcony versus not having one
have any affect on health?
The methods used in Paper IV are identical to those in Paper III, that is, posing questions to
the database and looking for statistically significant associations using the statistical
software SAS (SAS Statistics, 1996). Here again, Associate Professor Jan-Eric Englund
contributed his knowledge and helped to check the calculations. 24 The results of this study show that having access to a garden has a significant positive
impact on stress. There is also a significant positive relationship between frequency of
garden visits and stress prevention. Simply having a balcony may lead to fewer stress
occasions, a verdant courtyard adjacent to apartment houses leads to even fewer occasions
and best of all is having your own abundantly verdant garden. Interestingly, the study shows
that people of all socioeconomic classes have gardens. Thus, in Sweden, having access to a
garden does not appear to be a class issue.
Because both greenery adjacent to your own home and visits to urban green spaces may
affect how often you experience stress, the question arises: What is most important for
public health, public parks in the city or private gardens? Our results show that both are
important, but that having your own garden is the most important of the two alternatives.
The findings indicate the importance of having an abundantly verdant outdoor environment
adjacent to the home. In cases of new construction, we may consider the health-related
advantages of building with versus without balconies. In planning housing projects, we may
view areas of greenery surrounding buildings in a new light, not merely as esthetically
attractive elements, but also as health-promoting elements.
Because the database is the same as that used in Paper III, we still know nothing about the
respondents’ lifestyles. Another question I would like to have seen in the survey concerns
what kind of view respondents have from their homes. We have reason to believe that a
view of a verdant garden can affect stress levels (Stigsdotter & Grahn, 2004b).
My role in Paper IV is more central than in Paper III, as I formulated most of the research
questions, wrote the article and presented it orally at the conference Open Space: People
Space in Edinburgh 2004. The statistical calculations were primarily made by Associate
Professor Patrik Grahn, to some extent by me, and were finally checked by Associate
Professor Jan-Eric Englund. Paper V. Urban green spaces: Promoting health through city p...
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