THITPIN

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Summary

In this episode I sit down with Kaye Tong, a research psychologist and landscape architect, to have a conversation about the cognitive and physiological benefits of positive landscapes. Kaye explains why it is important for us to understand why nature heals us in these both ways so that we can increase demand for more restorative landscapes. This is an entertaining, useful and thoroughly perceptive episode as she shares her understanding through the latest research available. Kaye is indeed a bridge between worlds of researchers and practitioners. There were many insightful questions throughout the episode, with a few being: what sort of elements in nature benefit us; how can we introduce these elements into design; can the design be amplified to create more of these benefits? We start to unpick these questions as we view landscape through Kaye’s eyes (or senses!).

Music by the talented guitarist and composer, Vlad Cuiujuclu. The track name is "The Good Life Elsewhere".

Show Notes

“As a research student I understand that what you do is very theoretical – it rarely is about designing something that people can use. Practicing also as a landscape architect, I now understand the constraints of why practitioners don’t apply some of the principles that researchers know to landscape.”
 
There is a gap between the theory and applied science of landscape. This is one of the key issues uncovered in this episode. A lot of people in the current landscape research field that Kaye knows of comprises of graduates in urban design, architecture, landscape architecture etc. To summarise, they are largely designers, who are interested in testing different types of design, whilst lacking in theoretical understanding and mechanisms of how these designs work in a scientific sense. 
 
There is also a lack of concise information available by researchers that are ready enough for practitioners and everyday users alike to use the information in practical ways. 
 
How can you as a designer increase the amenity value by increasing the benefits of the end users? To answer this, we need to start building a library of reputable, proven research as a lobby:
“What is important in the future direction of research is to learn more about the psychology of landscape – we have to know the quantitative side of things to help laymen or designers convince people to create better landscapes.”
 
From a cognitive perspective, senses are a way for a person to interact with their environment. Research behind how the senses of seeing, hearing and smelling are benefited through interaction with nature- whereas touch and taste seem to be somewhat lacking. 
 
Below lists out the many research references throughout this conversation.
 
1. University of Edinburgh OPENSPACE research:
http://www.openspace.eca.ed.ac.uk/research-projects/memory-friendly-neighbourhoods/
http://www.openspace.eca.ed.ac.uk/research-projects/mobility-mood-and-place-mmp/
 
2. Eleanor Ratcliffe’s research focusing on audio stimuli:
https://www.surrey.ac.uk/people/eleanor-ratcliffe
http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/804034/
 
3. Research on echolocation:
 https://journals.plos.org/ploscompbiol/article?id=10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005670
 
4. The Nature Fix by Florence Williams:
https://books.google.co.uk/books/about/The_Nature_Fix_Why_Nature_Makes_Us_Happi.html?id=8kl8DAAAQBAJ&redir_esc=y
 
5. Research on Forest Bathing:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2793341/
 
6. Research on the relationship between urban tree cover density and self-reported stress recovery:
https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0013916514552321
 
7. Jackson Pollock's painting:
https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Jackson-Pollock-Untitled-Mural-1950-183-244-cm-oil-on-canvas-This-work-is_fig1_254865336 
 
8. Comparison between statistical and extract fractal patterns on tree branches:
https://www.researchgate.net/figure/A-comparison-of-statistical-and-exact-fractal-patterns-Drawing-made-by-the-author_fig9_240767345 
 
9. Research stating that in humans up to 80% of the information received from the outside world is processed by the visual pathway:
Haupt, C., & Huber, A. B. (2008). How axons see their way–axonal guidance in the visual system. Front Biosci, 13, 3136-3149.

10. Urban Design and Mental Health in Tokyo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kr7H95qjmf0

Music of the episode by the talented guitarist and composer, Vlad Cuiujuclu. The track name is "The Good Life Elsewhere".
 
 

What is THITPIN?

Thitpin podcast is a fun and exploratory mission to uncover the layers of landscape, our relationship towards it and beyond what we define as our landscape to unearth and connect with people and places, ideas and history thereby connecting ultimately with landscape itself.

Each month brings a range of guests such as, from a monk to an environmental journalist, designers and artists, whose expertise, passion and knowledge will give us all the perspective of what it is like to experience the landscape from their standpoint.

A combination of factual research with intimate, personal and passionate conversations, this podcast is a must listen for curious minds that want to go in depth on a journey of uncovering and exploring the landscape around us.