International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 55, Issue 1, pp 59–69

Landscape and well-being: a scoping study on the health-promoting impact of outdoor environments

  • Andrea Abraham
  • Kathrin Sommerhalder
  • Thomas Abel

DOI: 10.1007/s00038-009-0069-z

Cite this article as:
Abraham, A., Sommerhalder, K. & Abel, T. Int J Public Health (2010) 55: 59. doi:10.1007/s00038-009-0069-z



The present literature review conceptualises landscape as a health resource that promotes physical, mental, and social well-being. Different health-promoting landscape characteristics are discussed.


This article is based on a scoping study which represents a special kind of qualitative literature review. Over 120 studies have been reviewed in a five-step-procedure, resulting in a heuristic device.


A set of meaningful pathways that link landscape and health have been identified. Landscapes have the potential to promote mental well-being through attention restoration, stress reduction, and the evocation of positive emotions; physical well-being through the promotion of physical activity in daily life as well as leisure time and through walkable environments; and social well-being through social integration, social engagement and participation, and through social support and security.


This scoping study allows us to systematically describe the potential of landscape as a resource for physical, mental and social well-being. A heuristic framework is presented that can be applied in future studies, facilitating systematic and focused research approaches and informing practical public health interventions.


LandscapeWell-beingHealth-promoting behaviourResourcesScoping study

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel/Switzerland 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea Abraham
    • 1
  • Kathrin Sommerhalder
    • 1
  • Thomas Abel
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Social and Behavioural Health Research, Department of Social and Preventive MedicineUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland