river-urban

RIVER. A powerful landscape component for restoring the human nervous system.

The more we know about the interactions between the landscape and human nervous system the better we can plan and design our living environments to serve our health.

With water being the essential component of any form of life, it is not surprising that it also influence our psychophysiological response, even if we are just passively exposed to it.  But what kind of water feature, and what do we have to do with this water to achieve this response? This is a question that scientists (NeuroLandscape included) have been trying to answer.

Let’s concentrate on the river. According to Jungian dream analysis, based on his theory of collective unconscious, the river is a symbol of death and rebirth (baptism), the flowing of time into eternity, transitional phases of the life cycle, and incarnations of deities. In Dr. Agnieszka Olszewska-Guizzo’s research river is one of the archetypal elements making the landscape “contemplative” and therefore therapeutical.

In the fMRI study from 2017 the team of Prof Chang, Chun-Yen (National Taiwan University) discovered that the passive exposure to the river views alters the brain functioning significantly, when compared to the urban views (see the image above).

The brain activity related to the “urban versus water ” contract was located in the left and right cuneus (Fig. 5).
The cuneus is primarily known for its involvement in basic visual processing. Furthermore, the right cingulate gyrus and left precuneus were also activated. These regions, which are part of Brodmann area 31 (BA31) and known as the dorsal
posterior cingulate cortex, are assumed to influence the focus of attention by adjusting whole-brain metastability (Leech & Sharp, 2014).   – Tang et.al 2017

It looks like there is nothing better for our nerves fatigues from all day in the office or and after several hours commuting through the urban jungle than walk along the riverfront immersing with our senses into the soothing flow of the waters.

 

 

Scientific references:

Olszewska, A. A., Marques, P. F., Ryan, R. L., & Barbosa, F. (2018). What makes a landscape contemplative?. Environment and Planning B: Urban Analytics and City Science45(1), 7-25.

Leech, R., & Sharp, D. J. (2014). The role of the posterior cingulate cortex in cognition and disease. Brain, 137(1), 12–32.

Tang, I. C., Tsai, Y. P., Lin, Y. J., Chen, J. H., Hsieh, C. H., Hung, S. H., … & Chang, C. Y. (2017). Using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to analyze brain region activity when viewing landscapes. Landscape and Urban Planning162, 137-144.

brain

Scenic vs urban landscapes

A lot of studies have been performed comparing the reaction to  urban vs scenic, or natural landscapes in the lab.  This is one of them and we decided to feature it because it is performed with the most advanced method of brain scanning that we know thus far , fMRI.

From the figure we can see with the naked eye a difference between the pattern of activity when exposed to scenic (A) and urban (B) pictures.

The paper did not provide the stimuli photographs, which would be very important to see… Are they contemplative landscapes? Are they possible to design and implement in our cities? …

Interestingly enough, this study acknowledges that the benefits from inducing this particular brain activity come from just passive observation of images, which are far from the real landscape immersion.

Certain benefits may be derived from exposure to virtual versions of the natural environment, too. For example, people who were shown pictures of scenic, natural environments had increased brain activity in the region associated with recalling happy memories, compared to people that were shown pictures of urban landscapes.

Source: Kim, G. W., Jeong, G. W., Kim, T. H., Baek, H. S., Oh, S. K., Kang, H. K., … & Song, J. K. (2010). Functional neuroanatomy associated with natural and urban scenic views in the human brain: 3.0 T functional MR imaging. Korean Journal of Radiology11(5), 507-513.

© SingEx | Photography by Lionel Lin

Window View and the Brain – study results

Most people in Asian biggest metropolitan areas live above the ground in multi-storey buildings. Here in Singapore residential blocks can reach up to 50+ floors! Developers try to fit as many housing units on small plots of lands without the consideration of what will be the view from the window. Well, maybe it is about the time for them to reflect on that.

This newest study from researchers of NeuroLandscape shows that the window views depending of the floor level and the amount of visible green can affect the brain activity in a positive or negative way.  This goes along with the scientists claim that the daily passive exposures to the living environment can have tremendous impact on our mental health.

Check out your window view!

Update! The paper from this study is already published online in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, click here to read!

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IFLA World Congress Singapore 2018

Next week, from 18th to the 21st of July, The International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA) is returning to Singapore for the 2nd time to host the prestigious IFLA World Congress. The IFLA World Congress prides itself as the key contributor in landscape architectures, developing attractive, livable, equitable, and sustainable environments of the future. Many of its project revolve around the themes of: Biophilic City, Smart Nation, and Future Resilience.

 

But who are the IFLA? 

The International Federation of Landscape Architects, also known as IFLA is an international body spanning across 4 regions of the world: Africa, America, Asia Pacific, and Europe. Their vision is to spearhead the development of global sustainability in living environment by landscaping architecture.  And this year the main conference thenes ate Biophilic City, Smart Nation, and Future Resilience. There is going to be an entire presentation session on “Greenery and Health” too!

As such, it is our pleasure to announce that NeuroLandscape ‘s President Dr. Agnieszka Olszewska-Guizzo will be presenting the study: WINDOW VIEW  &  BRAIN:  Can Floor Level and Amount of Green within the View Have an Effect on Our Well-Being?”  on 19th July at 5pm (Venue: Biophilic Room, Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Marina Bay Sands, 1 Bayfront Ave, Singapore 018971)

Come say hi : )

 

http://iflaonline.org/

http://www.ifla2018.com/

 

tree

Contemplative Spaces: New Approaches in Design Research

GRAPHIC BY GIUSEPPINA ASCIONE

We're working towards taking care of outdoor spaces. Good to see others on the same track with indoor spaces. We can't spend all our time outdoors after all...or can we? ^_^

We also appreciate how mindfulness can be summed up in the form of a tree. Extra points!

https://www.neuroarchitectura.com/articles/2016/5/9/contemplative-spaces-towards-a-new-design-approach