Graduate Research and Discovery Symposium (GRADS)


Encouraging Engagement with Therapeutic Landscapes: Using Transparent Spaces to Optimize Stress Reduction in Urban Health Facilities

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2015


Urban mega-hospitals have been built in the way that separated patients from the natural environments. Empirical research on this subject suggests that patients experience physical environment-related stress in such settings due to lack of control and insufficient connectivity with the exterior world. To encourage person-nature engagement in urban health environments, the design of transparent spaces have been proposed to address the existing disconnection between interiors and the therapeutic landscapes. Taking hospital waiting areas for example, it have been rigorously tested regarding to the stress-reducing and mood-changing effects of transparent spaces, using Evidence-Based Design strategies. People's preferences to three types of hospital waiting areas were also surveyed, including (a) hospital waiting areas with no window views, (b) hospital waiting areas with limited window views of nature, and (c) transparent waiting areas with maximum natural views. 95 Clemson students attended the study. Results have shown that transparent spaces performed stronger potentials regarding to the stress-reduction and mood change. In addition, people significantly favored the transparent waiting areas with maximum natural views compared to the other design patterns. Other factors have also been detected that contributed to higher preference, such as direct views to nature, abundant natural light, and non-institutional furniture arrangement.

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