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Characteristics of urban streets in relation to perceived restorativeness

Abstract

The research on the restorative capacity of various environments has been growing exponentially in recent years. However, previous researchers mainly focus on urban green spaces, natural environments or urban landscapes. The streetscapes which have a close tie with residents’ daily life and may have an essential effect on people’s psychological wellbeing have not attracted extensive attention from academic research, failing to provide a cohesive guideline for streetscape design. To address this gap, this paper conducted an experiment to explore the relationship between restorative quality and streetscape characteristics, in which 30 photographs representing the various streetscapes in Xuzhou in eastern China, were used as stimuli, and the restorative qualities of these photographs were measured through online surveys. The results indicated that: (1) the streetscape with higher rate of plants in the view and diverse species of plants implied a high restorative capacity; (2) less non-motor vehicles and clear traffic signs painted on the streets are the other promoters of the restorative capacity of streetscapes. These findings contribute new knowledge about the role of streetscape characteristics to enhance the restorative potential and have applications for designers and urban managers.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank the 1473 anonymous respondents in our trials, the ten experts who judge the landscape characteristics and the ten students who conduct the online surveys. This research is supported by Humanities and Social Science Research Program of Ministry of Education of China (16YJA760052).

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Correspondence to Jingwei Zhao.

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Zhao, J., Wu, J. & Wang, H. Characteristics of urban streets in relation to perceived restorativeness. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol 30, 309–319 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41370-019-0188-4

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Keywords

  • Psychological wellbeing
  • Restorative environment
  • Landscape characteristic
  • Streetscape design

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