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Issue 2.2

Nature and the City: Measuring the Attention Restoration Benefits of Singapore’s Urban Vertical Greenery

A considerable amount of research has shown that views of nature can provide psychological benefits. Attention restoration—short, mentally restorative moments away from difficult tasks (Kaplan 1995)—is one such benefit with far-reaching consequences. Attention Restoration Theory provides an analysis of the kinds of experiences that lead to recovery from such fatigue. Natural environments turn out to be particularly rich in the characteristics necessary for restorative experiences. An integrative framework is proposed that places both directed attention and stress in the larger context of human-environment relationships. The purpose of this study is to pilot a method that could be used to determine if similar attention restoration benefits can be achieved with integration of natural elements into high-rise buildings as compared to traditional, in-the-ground foliage in Singapore. Singaporean residents of three high-rises with different views (in-the-ground foliage, vertical garden foliage, and no foliage) were surveyed using the Perceived Restorativeness Scale. Residents with views of in-the-ground foliage reported the highest restorative value across the three sites. Results from this study highlight the potential benefits and challenges of measuring greening initiatives.

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