Theoretical Framework and Guideline of Mentally Healthy Landscape for Urban Communities

Student: WANG Siqi Betsy

Supervisor: Bin Jiang
Thesis section: Small Intervention & Urban Surgery
Programme: Master of Landscape Architecture
Date: June 2020


In the process of China’s urbanization, environmental degradation has triggered various health crises, whether the psychological and social problems caused by mental stress, or obesity, and related diseases caused by static lifestyles or health threats from environmental pollution. Problems like this all need to be systematically concerned in the process of promoting a healthy city or healthy community. However, many designers’ prejudices to “health” as it is only the physical health of the body, while ignoring the health of mental conditions and social relations, which lead to health-related designs are relatively simple and less effective. Until the outbreak of the COV19, design industry began to pay attention to real health-related designs. And mental health, as a upstream reason for quite much diseases and social problems, it is increasingly a serious threat to the human well-being of urban residents. This thesis will focus on the community scale design, which is the basic unit of a city and put forward a mental health design guideline and evaluation checklist. Summarize the theoretical framework of a mentally healthy community by combing the important theoretical basis, scientific evidence, and practical experience from multiple related professions in the past 60 years. The framework includes four theoretical pathways for the environment to promote mental health: stress reduction, attention restoration, enhance preference, and enhance sublime. Further, based on the theoretical pathway, there are 21 environmental key features related to healthy communities and connected to the psychological states of individuals caused by environmental characteristics, ultimately point to specific health benefits.

Keywords: mental health crisis; urban community; theoretical framework; key environment feature; design guideline

Enlarge Photo: The mental health crisis we are facing, the common problems of mental health designs in communities and the role of landscape in this condition. By WANG Siqi Betsy.Enlarge Photo: Theoretical mechanism of mental health and its health outcome. By WANG Siqi Betsy.Enlarge Photo: Summarize 8 evaluation topics base on the mechanism and community issues, they can be evaluated on three different scales. By WANG Siqi Betsy.Enlarge Photo: Key environment features of the four main theoretical mechanism. By WANG Siqi Betsy.Enlarge Photo: The evaluation checklist of each topic with experimental samples and its guideline. By WANG Siqi Betsy.