I love connecting with new people - check out my ABOUT THE AUTHOR page

 

© 2016 by Nicole Craanen

 

  • Twitter - Grey Circle
  • LinkedIn - Grey Circle

STRATEGIES

1. VISUAL CONNECTION with NATURE

  • INCREASE Heart Rate Recovery (3, 13)
  • FASTER Stress Recovery (3, 9, 13)
  • INCREASE Parasympathetic
       Nervous System Response (2, 22)
  • RESTORE Energy (4)
  • DECREASE Blood Pressure (9, 21, 22)
  • DECREASE Medication Consumption (21)
PHYSICAL
ENVIRONMENTAL
  • POSITIVELY Impacted Attitude (11, 21)
  • INCREASE Overall Happiness (7)
  • INCREASE Sense of Safety (16)
  • INCREASE Feeling of Visual Privacy (14)
  • INCREASE Preference (5, 11, 16, 20)
INTELLECTUAL
  • IMPROVE Mental Engagement (4, 17)
  • IMPROVE Attentiveness (4, 17, 23)
  • INCREASE Graduation Rates (19)
  • INCREASE Productivity (10, 17)
  • IMPROVE Creativity (18)
EMOTIONAL
  • POSITIVELY Impacted Attitud(11)
  • DECREASE Feelings of Aggression, Anger, Fear & Frustration (9, 14, 16)
  • INCREASE Feelings of Productivity & Creativity (11)
  • INCREASE Feelings of Well-Being (8, 11)
  • INCREASE Feelings of Restoration (6, 12, 14, 16)
  • POSITIVELY Impacted Mental Health (1, 7)

WELL-BEING BENEFITS

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity.”

John Muir

  • Artwork or video depicting natural scene
INDIRECT EXPERIENCE
DIRECT EXPERIENCE
  • Water Feature
  • Aquarium
  • Green Wall
  • Animal Assisted Therapy
SIMULATED NATURE
  • Plants/Trees
  • Facade Greening
  • Bodies of Water
  • Soil/Earth
  • Animals/Insects/Fish
  • Fossils/Naturally Occurring Terrain
NATURALLY OCCURRING

THE BASICS

 

Visual connection with nature can be naturally occurring or simulated (see below). Connecting to nature can be highly restorative (1,2).   One explanation could be how crucial trees and other plants have been to human survival, providing us with sustenance, shade and protection. For the greatest restorative potential, a unthreatening nature environment should be available within minutes of a stressor (3).

 

Below is a basic outline of ways to connect with nature. It should be taken into consideration that although the best version is real connection with a diverse and natural environment, the addition of even a potted plant to an office can offer measured benefits. The goal is to offer the best version given the parameters of a project. 

 

In a real outdoor environment there would be more than just a visual connection, consider the other senses (see Non-Visual Sensory Experience of Nature).  Additionally, the fullest experience can be produced by considering other strategies in conjunction with a visual connection.

 
 

HOW DOES NATURALLY OCCURRING VS SIMULATED NATURE COMPARE?

Indoor Plants (2)

NATURAL ENVIRONMENT

Better

 

  • What are people's preferences?

       Having Plants is preferred over No Plants! (17)

      

Indoors with a View

Being Outdoors in Nature

  • Accessible biodiversity – plants that are we are able to interact with and are deemed accessible (2, 5, 10, 18)

  • Biodiversity – highest rated include greenery and water, lowest are city landscapes (5, 6, 14)

  • Mundane (3, 14)

  • Unattended - landscapes that appear dead or dying (7)

  • Accessible biodiversity – plants that are we can view and are deemed accessible (2, 5, 10, 18)

  • Biodiversity – highest rated include greenery and water, lowest are city landscapes (5, 6, 14)

  • Mundane (3, 14)

  • Unattended - landscapes that appear dead or dying (7)

Research Fun Fact #03

A survey comparing office workers found that those with interior plants or with a window view of exterior green spaces:

  • Felt better about their job and job performance

  • Reported a higher quality-of-life

  • Had more positive perceptions of supervisors and coworkers (2)

Research Fun Fact #04

We have plant preferences (in order of most to least preferred):

  • Scent: Slight Scent, Strong Scent, No Odour

  • Color: Green, Tint, Multi-color

  • Size: Small, Medium, Large

But it gets more interesting:

  • The preferences listed above correlate with physiological changes indicating that the most prefered plants align with better awareness, and productivity. 

  • BUT, multicolor, large plants, or those with no odor did NOT increase productivity or preference. (17)

Research Fun Fact #05

Given a simple, timed computer task in the presence of plants vs no plants, the participants had:

  • Increased reaction time (productivity) by 12%! 

  • Were less stressed (lower blood pressure)

  • Reported feeling more attentive. (13)

Research Fun Fact #01

The more often a person visits an open green space, the fewer stress related illnesses they report. (19)

Research Fun Fact #02

People with Parkinson's can suffer from a temporary, involuntary inability to move, known as freezing of gate (FOG). In this study, when Parkinson's patients passed through a hedge opening they did not experience FOG.  However when a door frame was instered into the hedge opening, FOG was triggered. (16)

Photo Credit: Nicole Craanen

Photo Credit: Nicole Craanen

Not So Good

NO ACCESS TO NATURE

 

  • Blank Walls are not the best (2, 3, 8, 12)

SIMULATED ENVIRONMENT (4, 8, 9)

Good

(Includes live-feed, video representation, artwork and photography)

  • Views highest to lowest as listed in "Being Outdoors" (11, 20)

  • Larger, more immersive images over smaller, less immersive images (1, 8)

A Note on Parallax: This is the effect you achieve when looking out a window, and by shifting the location of your eyes and head (back and forth, left to right) you are able to change your point of view.  With a screen, you have one view regardless of where you are sitting in a room (8).  

 

However, a simulation, such as a live feed, can provide benefits such as connecting to a sense of place, environmental conditions like time of day, movement of the sun, and weather patterns, and can be easily integrated when a window view is not possible, but the authenticity of feeling a part of the environment is lost (4)).

Research Fun Fact #06

Dramatic nature murals, especially those with water, are perceived as more restorative than window views of real, but mundane nature with built structures. (3)

Research Fun Fact #07

Participants were shown a real window with a view of a nature scene, an HDTV view of a similar nature scene, or a blank wall.  By using heart rate recovery to measure stress, the real window view was more restorative than the both the HDTV view and the blank wall.  The longer they looked at the window scene, the more rapidly their hear rate decreased. (9)

Research Fun Fact #08

A "lean office" removes all decorations.  But an addition of plants to a previously "lean office" found:

  • a 15% increase in productivity

In addition, this study found:

  • Increaed workplace satisfaction

  • Increased self-reported levels of concentration

  • A perception of better air quality (15)

Photo Credit: Nicole Craanen

Photo Credit: Nicole Craanen

 

Photo Credit: Nicole Craanen

 

Photo Credit: Nicole Craanen

Some more Great Examples of Visual Connection to Nature

(a range of applications & styles is are shown below)

 
UW-Madison School of Nursing
Madison, Wisconsin USA
Photo Credit: Nicole Craanen
Show More
Siam Paragon Mall
Bangkok, Thailand
Photo Credit: Nicole Craanen
Show More
UW-Madison, Discovery Building
Madison, Wisconsin, USA
Photo Credit: Nicole Craanen
Show More
Hyatt Regencey O'Hare
Rosemont, Illinois, USA
Photo Credit: Nicole Craanen
Show More
UW-Madison School of Nursing
Madison, Wisconsin USA
Photo Credit: Nicole Craanen
Show More
Bangkok Art and Culture Centre Art Library
Bangkok, Thailand
Photo Credit: Nicole Craanen
Epic Headquarters
Verona, Wisconsin USA
Photo Credit: Nicole Craanen
Rai University
New Dehli, India
Photo Credit: Nicole Craanen
Mall
Las Vegas, Nevada USA
Photo Credit: Nicole Craanen
Airforce Academy
Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA
Photo Credit: Nicole Craanen
Show More
Lyfe Kitchen
Evanston, Illinois, USA
Photo Credit: Nicole Craanen
Show More
Integrated Pain & Health Center
Glendale, Wisconsin USA
Photo Credit: Nicole Craanen
Caffe Streets
Chicago, Illinois USA
Photo Credit: Nicole Craanen
Heart & Soy
Louisville, Kentucky USA
Photo Credit: Nicole Craanen
UW-Madison D.C. Smith Greenhouse
Madison, Wisconsin USA
Photo Credit: Nicole Craanen
Emory Conference Center
Atlanta, Georgia USA
Photo Credit: Nicole Craanen
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Photo Credit: Nicole Craanen
Colectivo
Milwaukee, Wisconsin USA
Photo Credit: Nicole Craanen
Park Meadows Mall
Lone Tree, Colorado, USA
Photo Credit: Nicole Craanen
Siam Paragon Mall
Bangkok, Thailand
Photo Credit: Nicole Craanen
Bangkok, Thailand
Photo Credit: Nicole Craanen
Hoi An Vietnam
Photo Credit: Nicole Craanen
Madison Public Library
Madison, Wisconsin, USA
Photo Credit: Nicole Craanen
Milwauieke Public Library - East Branch
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
Photo Credit: Nicole Craanen
Villa Terrace
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
Photo Credit: Nicole Craanen
UW-Madison, Union South
Madison, Wisconsin, USA
Photo Credit: Nicole Craanen
Locavore
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
Photo Credit: Nicole Craanen