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“I'm always entirely happy when I'm here!” Urban blue enhancing human health and well-being in Cologne and Düsseldorf, Germany

Listed author(s):
  • Völker, Sebastian
  • Kistemann, Thomas
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    Water is one of the most important landscape elements. In settled areas, planners rediscovered urban blue in the form of rivers as a soft location factor in post-industrial times. Although the recognition of the need for recreational or ‘healthy’ places like urban green or urban blue in cities is increasing, current urban planning is mostly conducted without taking beneficial health issues into account. In this paper an extended concept of therapeutic landscapes is used to analyse two promenades on the river Rhine in the centres of two German cities (Cologne and Düsseldorf). A complex of qualitative and quantitative methods from diverse disciplines is applied to obtain a multi-dimensional image of salutogenic health processes. The results show that the promenades are favourite places to spend leisure time and to engage in recreational activities, in addition to providing restoration from everyday stresses. Water is a strong predictor of preference and positive perceptive experiences in urban environments. Users of the promenades also report strong emotional attachments to the place. Urban blue space may be interpreted as a therapeutic landscape in various ways. The study forms a contribution to planning issues, particularly considering benefits for human health, and enhances current research concerning therapeutic landscapes.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

    Volume (Year): 78 (2013)
    Issue (Month): C ()
    Pages: 113-124

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:78:y:2013:i:c:p:113-124
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.09.047
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    1. Williams, Allison, 2002. "Changing geographies of care: employing the concept of therapeutic landscapes as a framework in examining home space," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 141-154, July.
    2. Milligan, Christine & Gatrell, Anthony & Bingley, Amanda, 2004. "'Cultivating health': therapeutic landscapes and older people in northern England," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 58(9), pages 1781-1793, May.
    3. Hale, James & Knapp, Corrine & Bardwell, Lisa & Buchenau, Michael & Marshall, Julie & Sancar, Fahriye & Litt, Jill S., 2011. "Connecting food environments and health through the relational nature of aesthetics: Gaining insight through the community gardening experience," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 72(11), pages 1853-1863, June.
    4. Williams, Allison, 1998. "Therapeutic landscapes in holistic medicine," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 46(9), pages 1193-1203, May.
    5. Andrea Abraham & Kathrin Sommerhalder & Thomas Abel, 2010. "Landscape and well-being: a scoping study on the health-promoting impact of outdoor environments," International Journal of Public Health, Springer;Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), vol. 55(1), pages 59-69, February.
    6. Williams, Allison, 2010. "Spiritual therapeutic landscapes and healing: A case study of St. Anne de Beaupre, Quebec, Canada," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 70(10), pages 1633-1640, May.
    7. Riva, Mylene & Curtis, Sarah & Gauvin, Lise & Fagg, James, 2009. "Unravelling the extent of inequalities in health across urban and rural areas: Evidence from a national sample in England," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 68(4), pages 654-663, February.
    8. Laws, Jennifer, 2009. "Reworking therapeutic landscapes: The spatiality of an 'alternative' self-help group," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 69(12), pages 1827-1833, December.
    9. Kearns, Robin A. & Collins, Damian C. A., 2000. "New Zealand children's health camps: therapeutic landscapes meet the contract state," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 51(7), pages 1047-1059, October.
    10. Gesler, Wilbert M., 1992. "Therapeutic landscapes: Medical issues in light of the new cultural geography," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 34(7), pages 735-746, April.
    11. Galea, Sandro & Freudenberg, Nicholas & Vlahov, David, 2005. "Cities and population health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 60(5), pages 1017-1033, March.
    12. Kearns, Robin A. & Joseph, Alun E., 1993. "Space in its place: Developing the link in medical geography," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 711-717, September.
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