Landscapes can contribute to human health and well-being. We explore what distinguishes these types of landscapes and how they affect people. And we investigate how landscape change affects recreational value.
The growth of settlements in Switzerland and other European countries is a major contributory factor in the transformation of landscapes. Therefore, it influences the quality of landscapes and the benefits which they provide to the public. For example, it leads to the loss of natural spaces that serve the urban population for recreation. But contact with nature is a basic human need. It contributes to people's well-being and quality of life and improves their health and relaxation. We explore the influence of nature and landscape on people and analyse which physical features of natural spaces contribute to its positive effects. One of our focal points is on the study of recreational areas such as urban and peri-urban forests, parks and agricultural areas, gardens (e.g. family and community gardens) and unused or fallow land in alpine regions.
Landscape and health
Landscape and nature provide a multitude of specific health benefits such as improving air quality in cities and opportunities for sporting and social events. We study the relationship between landscape and human health, for example relief from stress and mental fatigue. Our aim is to better understand the mechanisms of action and the underlying processes involved in this. This knowledge helps us to promote the desired positive effects of natural spaces and landscapes on people. In this way, we contribute to the development of policy and planning strategies which can be used to manage and coordinate the recreational benefits of the landscape. This important benefit of the landscape helps in the prevention of disease and the promotion of public health.