Health Benefits of Nature Experience: Psychological, Social and Cultural Processes

  • Terry Hartig
  • Agnes E. van den Berg
  • Caroline M. Hagerhall
  • Marek Tomalak
  • Nicole Bauer
  • Ralf Hansmann
  • Ann Ojala
  • Efi Syngollitou
  • Giuseppe Carrus
  • Ann van Herzele
  • Simon Bell
  • Marie Therese Camilleri Podesta
  • Grete Waaseth
Chapter

Abstract

In this chapter we consider how experiences of nature can affect human health and well-being. We first address the matter of ‘what has been’; that is, we sketch the development of theory and research concerned with health benefits of natural environments, from ancient times to the current situation. This shows the current research to be a recent expression of a number of long-running, intertwined, social and cultural processes. We then discuss ‘where we are now’; that is, we overview current theories and related research concerning processes through which nature experience might provide health benefits. These processes concern environmental preferences, psychological restoration, and learning and personal development. Finally, we consider ‘where we are going’; that is, we consider some additional directions for research and we identify some issues that research will have to address in the foreseeable future.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Terry Hartig
    • 1
  • Agnes E. van den Berg
    • 2
  • Caroline M. Hagerhall
    • 3
  • Marek Tomalak
    • 4
  • Nicole Bauer
    • 5
  • Ralf Hansmann
    • 6
  • Ann Ojala
    • 7
  • Efi Syngollitou
    • 8
  • Giuseppe Carrus
    • 9
  • Ann van Herzele
    • 10
  • Simon Bell
    • 11
    • 12
  • Marie Therese Camilleri Podesta
    • 13
  • Grete Waaseth
    • 14
  1. 1.Institute for Housing and Urban ResearchUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  2. 2.Wageningen University and Research CentreWageningenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Department of Landscape Architecture and Spatial PlanningNorwegian University of Life SciencesÅsNorway
  4. 4.Institute of Plant ProtectionNational Research InstitutePoznanPoland
  5. 5.Economics and Social Sciences, Swiss Federal Institute for ForestSnow and Landscape ResearchBirmensdorfSwitzerland
  6. 6.Department of Environmental SciencesETH ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  7. 7.Department of Social ResearchUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  8. 8.Department of PsychologyAristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece
  9. 9.Department of Cultural and Educational StudiesUniversity of Roma TreRomeItaly
  10. 10.Ecosystem Services GroupInstitute for Nature and Forest ResearchBrusselsBelgium
  11. 11.Open Space Research CentreEdinburgh College of ArtEdinburghUK
  12. 12.Department of Landscape ArchitectureEstonian University of Life SciencesTartuEstonia
  13. 13.Anatomy DepartmentUniversity of MaltaTal-QroqqMalta
  14. 14.Department of Public Planning and Natural Resource ManagementSteinkjer MunicipalitySteinkjerNorway

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