Bologna-SanPetronioPiazzaMaggiore1

Healthy landscapes | UNISCAPE International Conference

"Assessing Relevant Knowledge Related to the Types and Characteristics of Urban Green & Blue Spaces Having a Significant Impact on Human Mental health and Well-being" to be presented at Healthy landscapes | UNISCAPE International Conference in Bologna (6-8 June) by Eklipse: Knowledge and Learning Mechanism on Biodiversity

While participating in the Eklipse project we are looking forward to its results: the first Systematic Review on the types and components of urban green landscapes to have a positive impact on mental health. This SR will pinpoint the most urgent research questions to answer in the area!

Healthy landscapes | UNISCAPE International Conference

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

river-urban

Cetrify your Landscape

One of NEUROLANDSCAPE’s continuous attempts is to run the evaluation of public and private green spaces in order to measure their capacity of inducing in the visitors the pattern of brain activity associated with improved mental health, well-being and stress reduction.

Our CLASS tool is able to score digital landscape views (photos), but not entire three-dimensional space.  To improve upon its capacities, we developed a service for measuring the overall contemplative score of a whole place, and with the data acquired, updating our constantly growing database.
We issue certificates which can be used for any interested party, that can be used for raising public awareness or for marketing purposes. We are providing the “Certify your Space” opportunity for both public and private bodies in charge of green spaces, that may include:

- Urban parks and gardens
- Elements of urban green infrastructure
- Waterways, shores and beaches
- Hospital gardens
- Rehabilitation retreats
- Elderly houses
- Alzheimer Institutes
- Kindergartens and school gardens
- University Campuses
- Golf courses
- Tourist resorts and areas around the hotels
- Mindfulness retreats
- Corporate landscapes attached to working space
- Library yards
- Private gardens
…..and many others

1.  Our experts visit the landscape in question and choose the most significant views of the park based on the developed methodology. The number of views depends on the size of the space to be evaluated.

2. They evaluate the landscapes manually, using The Contemplative Landscape Model. Details of the development of this model have been described in the paper titled "What makes a landscape contemplative?"

3. Simultaneously, the photographic data collected onsite is uploaded to the CLASS system, and returns an instant scoring.

4. Both manually acquired and CLASS scores are utilized in order to compute the final total score.

5. What we deliver:
- a Contemplative Landscape Certificate, with scoring and classification of the space. 
- a detailed Contemplative Landscape Report (including: overview and analyses of selected landscape views, partial and total scores from experts and from CLASS, additional observations with analysis of opportunities and limitations in the space.

 

If you’re interested, please contact us by filling out the form here. We will get back to you and adjust the service to your exact needs.

river-urban

CLASS Software

Contemplative Landscape Automated Scoring System (CLASS)

CLASS stands for Contemplative Landscape Automated Scoring System. And it is the software that enables instant scoring of any digital landscape image according to seven contemplative landscape features:

How was CLASS developed?

The research on CLASS started with the process of operationalization of the concept of contemplative landscapes. This was based on the assumption that each landscape setting (scene, view) has some level of the contemplative values (aka. sensori-emotional values that may influence our emotional states, sense of well-being or even physiological processes.

There are already existing tools that enable recognizing and evaluating the scenic beauty or visual quality of a landscape. However, they are not calibrated to serve for the typically urbanized context, such as urban parks, gardens and different types of areas touched by landscape architecture design. Another problem with so far existing evaluation tools is the problem with expert-based approach. The main limitation for all expert-based tools is the low level of precision, reliability and validity. This means that the differences between responses of different experts about the same landscape are sometimes as big as differences between two different landscape settings.

We wanted to overcome these limitations, and create a new tool, a Contemplative Landscape Model, that we tested for reliability and validity. When our traditional tool was ready, we asked a group of international experts to annotate the set of images, using our tool. The details of that process was published in a paper titled “What makes a landscape contemplative?” [1]The database of their responses served as a training data for our neural network.

After months of testing, we were able to choose the combination of ANN models that would produce the best combined contemplativeness score and created the CLASS scoring system that can evaluate the contemplativeness of landscape images with scores similar to those of experts.  The figure below presents the performance of the CLASS prototype in comparison to “real experts”. The detailed process is described in the paper titled “CLASS: Contemplative landscape automated scoring system” [2].


What is CLASS?

We can say that CLASS is an artificial expert’s brain trained to classify the level of contemplativeness of the landscapes, combining the expertise of 10 international academic experts. It recognizes seven key features of a contemplative landscape within an uploaded digital picture, and gives an immediate, objective score for each of the seven features as well as the total contemplative score. CLASS is also constantly learning creating a database with every picture, so the more it works the more precise and intelligent it becomes.

Anybody with a license subscription can access the CLASS via online, where, through the friendly interface they can upload any digital image they want evaluated and obtain instant scoring of the contemplativeness of a picture.

      

How to select the photographs for CLASS?

CLASS is sensitive only to images of landscapes of urban parks and gardens so it wouldn’t work if we upload a photo of a puppy, or any other than it is not designed for. In order to obtain more precise scores, we recommend to upload a good quality, digital photographs of a clear view over the space, from a ground level (eye level of a standing person) in daylight, and without animals or too many people within the view. Some examples are given aside. The image should be taken in most interesting for us weather conditions, so for example, if we want to see how contemplative is the space in general, we should take a picture in the weather conditions that are the most common, and most likely for largest number of people to be seen.

How much does it cost?

We are a non-profit organization so we consider using of the CLASS as pro-bono approach. However, because of the costs of the servers, and maintenance of the software we will charge private entities who want to use it. The costs of a license subscription can be found here along with the payment method.

Does it really work?

As much as it is surprising and hard to believe, YES! If you don’t believe it, please check it out for free through our demo version!

References:

  1. Olszewska, A. A., Marques, P. F., Ryan, R. L., & Barbosa, F. (2016). What makes a landscape contemplative?. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 0265813516660716.
  2. Navickas, L., Olszewska, A., & Mantadelis, T. (2016, June). CLASS: Contemplative landscape automated scoring system. In Control and Automation (MED), 2016 24th Mediterranean Conference on (pp. 1180-1185). IEEE.
Virtual Healthy Environments (VHE)

Research shows that what we are exposed to passively during the day in the course of our live can have a tremendous impact on our mental health and wellbeing. It is also demonstrated by the research that the exposures to the urban built-up environments is detrimental to our health, and exposure to certain types of natural landscapes can do wonders for our ability to restore our attention, decrease stress levels, improve the cognitive functions, productivity, creative performance and even strengthen the social bonds.

In the urban life there is not much time left for the daily exposures to natural environments, and even if one would visit contemplative parks everyday, in many northern countries, it is usually very gray and cold for large portion of the year. There are also groups of people, in hospitals, nursing homes etc who simply cannot walk out to the park.

Having all these in mind NeuroLandscape is working on the virtually-enabled interventions called VHE, and tested in the real life and lab settings. We are still working on it, but we believe that soon our first products will be released and available for public.