A Design Guideline for Public Urban Greenspace to Foster Stress Reduction

DeJong, Everett
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University of Guelph

Research has demonstrated that human wellness is influenced by both nature and nurture. The inherent DNA structure of an individual is determined by nature, but the experience of life stresses can continuously modify one's genetic composition. The emerging field of epigenetics explores how stress hormones affect human cells, where histone proteins regulate gene expression by adjusting their levels. The goal of this thesis is to develop a guideline for landscape architects to design public urban greenspaces that contribute to stress reduction. The research methods included a conceptual literature review and an assessment of the resulting guidelines by key evaluators who have professional experience in the field of health and design. The conceptual review led to a structured design approach. This research expands the knowledge of landscape design by highlighting how urban greenspace can contribute to health benefits.

Epigenetics, Human health, Human wellness, Landscape architect, Mental health, Salutogenesis