Urban Planning, Neurosciences and Contemplation for Improving Well-being in Our Cities

Feb 12, 2014

This paper presents the results of a pilot experiment which is a part of research studying specific space-design strategies and contemplative states, as indexed by neurophysiologic measures of mindfulness. This study establishes a dialogue between artistic and scientific disciplines - landscape architecture, urban studies, neuroscience, and traditions of meditation - for finding methods that will enable improvement of well-being in cities by urban green open space design. This interdisciplinary approach is to create a tool for contemplative space design.

The innovative part of the investigation is usage of EEG (electroencephalography) laboratory methods for the evaluation of impacts of designed urban landscape settings on brain and mental states. The pilot experiment is a proof of concept and showed that the applied framework can serve well for further experiments. It also established a new method of contemplative landscapes evaluation.

keywords: urban planning, landscape architecture, neurosciences, EEG, (electroencephalography), contemplation, mindfulness

Agnieszka Anna Olszewska (University of Porto, Portugal)
Paulo Farinha Marques (University of Porto, Portugal)
Fernando Barbosa (University of Porto, Portugal)
Presented at: 
ARCC/EAAE 2014 International Conference on Architectural Research (Honolulu, HI)
Published & professionally reviewed by: 
Architectural Research Centers Consortium (ARCC)
University of Hawaii at Manoa

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