Perceived Sensory Dimensions : A Human-Centred Approach to Environmental Planning and Design

Sammanfattning: Increased urbanization, stress and lifestyle related illness, and biodiversity loss are some of the most urgent challenges today. The potential contributions from green spaces and infrastructures in relation to these challenges are several. In addition to benefits such as climate and water regulation, air purification, food production, and biodiversity conservation, certain aesthetic, i.e. perceived, qualities of green features and natural settings have been shown important for people’s health and wellbeing. The potential of such qualities to aid restoration from stress and attention fatigue is well documented. It has also been suggested that they could support pro-environmental behaviours, promote physical activity, and increase general wellbeing. A difference between grey/urban and green/natural settings has been highlighted in previous research. There is a need however for a more nuanced understanding of the most important qualities in the environment to consider in order to support human health and wellbeing over time.Through a universal, human-centred approach, where needs, motivations, and meaningful experiences are considered before specific means of physical implementation, this thesis adopts a framework of eight aesthetic qualities, termed perceived sensory dimensions, accounting for basic human needs in relation to green areas. This framework is investigated and developed in different contexts and at different scales to aid an evidence-based approach to environmental design, planning, and evaluation from a human health and wellbeing perspective. A dialectic model based on the framework is suggested as a means to facilitate the inclusion of this level of analysis in, e.g. trans- and interdisciplinary research settings, and in environmental design and planning practices.