Project

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Restorative potential of green spaces in noise-polluted environments (RESTORE)

Applicant Tobias Silvia
Number 193847
Funding scheme Sinergia
Research institution Swiss Federal Research Inst. WSL Direktion
Institution of higher education Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research - WSL
Main discipline Interdisciplinary
Start/End 01.11.2020 - 31.10.2024
Approved amount 1'692'476.00
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All Disciplines (4)

Discipline
Interdisciplinary
Other disciplines of Engineering Sciences
Psychology
Other disciplines of Environmental Sciences

Keywords (6)

wellbeing; acoustics; vegetation; noise pollution; environmental psychology; green space

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Können wir uns in den Naherholungsgebieten von Stress erholen oder ist es dafür zu laut? Ein Forscherteam von WSL und Empa erkundet die visuellen und akustischen Qualitäten von Grünräumen, die die Erholung von Stress ermöglichen.
Lay summary

Urbane Räume wachsen an Bevölkerung und Verkehrsaufkommen, was die Lärmbelastung erhöht. Massnahmen wie die Siedlungsverdichtung oder Umfahrungsstrassen zur Lärmberuhigung der Dorf- und Stadtkerne werden oft auf Kosten von Grünräumen umgesetzt und ziehen eine Verlärmung der Naherholungsgebiete ausserhalb der Siedlungen nach sich. Doch Grünräume sind für die Bevölkerung wichtige Orte, um sich vom Alltagsstress zu erholen.

Das Projekt untersucht, welchen Einfluss Grünräume in urbanen Gebieten für die Erholung von Stress haben und wie weit Lärm als Störfaktor den Stress erhöht und die Erholung verhindert. Dies wird mit Virtual-Reality Experimenten im Labor und Testspaziergängen im Gelände erforscht. Die Auswirkungen von chronischer Lärmbelastung und Stress bei mehr oder weniger Grünräumen in der Nachbarschaft werden in einer Feldstudie und einer schweizweiten Umfrage erfasst. Zudem ermitteln wir in einer Fernerkundungsanalyse welche landschaftlichen Qualitäten und Vegetationszusammensetzungen für die Erholung von Stress in lärmbelasteten Gebieten wirksam sind.

Das Projekt wird die Zusammenhänge zwischen Lärmbelastung, empfundenem und physiologisch messbarem Stress aufzeigen und die Vergleichbarkeit experimenteller Studien mit Umfragen in der breiten Bevölkerung prüfen. Es wird feststellen wie gut die Schweizer Bevölkerung mit erholungswirksamen Grünräumen versorgt ist und wo Verbesserungsbedarf besteht. Schliesslich wird es Hinweise zur Umsetzung der schweizerischen Lärmschutzgesetzgebung und des revidierten Raumplanungsgesetzes liefern.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 17.06.2020

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

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Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
173330 Novel methods for investigating acute and long term effects of transportation noise on health 01.08.2017 Project funding (special)
147635 Transportation noise, annoyance, sleep and cardiometabolic risk: an integrated approach on short- and long-term effects 01.01.2014 Sinergia

Abstract

Urban areas experience a continuous increase of population and mobility, and infill development (densification) is a frequent strategy to limit urban expansion. These processes go along with increased noise exposure of the residents (causing, among others, noise annoyance and stress) and a decline of green spaces, although the latter are important for restoration from (individual and/or environmental) stress. To date knowledge on the role of green spaces and their required characteristics to reduce noise annoyance and promote stress recovery is still scarce.Therefore, the project’s objective is to assess the effects of green spaces as facilitators and noise as impediment to recover from stress. We will address the following research questions:RQ1:How are perceived and physiological stress associated with noise annoyance and noise exposure?RQ2:What is the effect of visiting green spaces with different audio-visual characteristics on the recovery from short-term perceived and physiological stress?RQ3:What is the effect of green spaces in the neighborhood on long-term noise annoyance, perceived and physiological stress of people exposed to noise at the place of residence?RQ4:Which audio-visual requirements do green spaces have to meet to enable noise-exposed people to recover from stress?The project is structured in 4 work packages: WP1 Laboratory experiments to explore the path-ways from noise to annoyance and stress, and the audio-visual requirements on green spaces to facilitate recovery from stress; WP2 Field experiments in urban and suburban areas of varying acoustic and visual settings, to investigate the effect of walks through different green spaces on the recovery from stress; WP3 Extended field study to assess the influence of green spaces in the neighborhood on people’s long-term well-being; and WP4 Swiss-wide survey and remote sensing green space assessment to determine the subjectively perceived restorative potential compared to the physical characteristics of green spaces in the urban and suburban regions of Switzerland.The work packages use various methods and approaches such as questionnaires, cortisol meas-urements, skin conductance measurements, and quantitative landscape and soundscape descriptions. They are closely linked to each other with joint research approaches: identical standard sets of questions in all work packages to assess noise sensitivity, noise annoyance, perceived stress and well-being; measurements of physiological stress (salivary cortisol and skin conductance in WP1 and WP2; hair cortisol in WP3); real-world urban green spaces selected as test sites in WP2 and WP3, based on a categorization in WP4, and of which video scenes will be taken for WP1; sound measurements and acoustical characterization of the green spaces and the adjacent residential areas for WP2 and WP3; and finally establishing the link between perceived and physiological stress (reduction) for acute (WP1 and WP2) as well as long-term exposure (WP3) and different green space settings (WP4).The project will provide new insights in the pathways of perceived and physiological stress build-up as evoked by noise exposure, and recovery as promoted by green spaces. These path-ways will be explored for acute and long-term situations as well as on different scales, using laboratory and real-world situations representative to limited small scales up to national scale. The project will further identify the visual and acoustic prerequisites of restorative green spaces, including aerial extent, visibility from residents' home, accessibility, vegetation composition and volume, as well as soundscape (with mixes of anthropogenic vs. natural sounds). Based on these results, the restorative potential of green spaces will be mapped and classified on a national scale in the Swiss neighborhoods, which will reveal areas with sufficient restorative green spaces as well as areas where improvements are advisable. In addition, the consequences of varying leisure behavior on the restorative potential of green spaces will be studied to assess which part of the population benefits to which extent. Methodologically, as a result of the joint research approaches, the project will assess the transferability of results from laboratory and field experiments to larger parts of the population. This project is thus unique in its comprehensiveness and addresses a highly relevant and much-discussed topic that concerns three quarters of the population in industrialized countries. It will provide important information for spatial planning and noise abatement and will have an impact on the Swiss noise legislation and the implementation of the revised spatial planning act.
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