Outdoor Environments for Health and Well-being

Published: 20 November 2017
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On this programme, you will study how outdoor environments in people's everyday life can promote development, health and well-being. The programme will prepare you for strategic work on how plants, animals and other elements of nature can be more actively used to the benefit of people in public spaces and in settings for specific user groups.

Health and well-being in everyday life depend, to a varying degree, on the quality of the surrounding environment, on interaction with plants and animals in natural or artifically created green open spaces, in urban as well as in rural areas.

This programme is designed for students who are particularly interested in such interactions, with emphasis on the effects of human/environment interactions, based primarly on theories of environmental psychology. On completion of this Master's programme, students will have the skills and competence to evaluate and develop physical environments adapted to people's needs and demands at both local and strategic level.

The skills and competence achieved by completing this programme are of importance in many situations, particularly in the light of the increasing stress levels of modern society and a growing awareness of the importance of the restorative effects of nature and green open spaces. This would include all professions involved in planning and designing environments in healthcare, schools and public spaces.

The UN sustainable development goals in teaching

SLU's degree programmes generate knowledge which contributes to the goals for sustainable development, both in Sweden and internationally. 

Content

This is what you study

This programme is aimed at students from different academic or professional fields. It provides scientific perspectives and concepts within the relevant subjects in an interdisciplinary context which can be used both to understand and explain the interactions between people and the physical outdoor environment and to apply the acquired knowledge in different societal contexts.

Examples of subjects include the interdisciplinary research discipline that studies nature-assisted therapy/health promotion and the role of outdoor environments for learning and development, e.g. within outdoor education and habilitation. It also includes broader perspectives such as spatial planning or landscape design informed by environmental psychology. Special attention is given the importance of outdoor environments for individual development, quality of life, well-being and health.

You will also study national and international approaches to integration of green environments in an urbanisation/densification context, focusing on public health through access to natural environments. The health aspects will cover promotion as well as illness prevention and treatment. These concepts include an understanding of the influence of green environments with indirect (e.g. increased physical activity) as well as direct (e.g. reduced negative effects of stress) health effects.

The programme also deals with the specific role of public space in relation to emotions and restorative mechanisms important for public health. Students are given assignments to practise various methods used to survey the use, experience and effects of different outdoor environments such as gardens, parks, forests and other types of natural environments and public spaces, including the role of animals in everyday life.

Each course contains 2-4 campus meetings. Each campus meeting consists of 1-3 days of lessons and examinations.
When applying, you can choose to study the programme full-time or part-time.

Want to know more? You can read the syllabus at the student web. 

Future prospects

The skills and competence acquired on this programme are of strategic use in the development of sustainable societies in which plants, animals and other elements of nature are actively used to counteract stress and to support integration, rehabilitation and the development of healthy lifestyles. The programme prepares you for taking on strategic roles in the development and more active use of physical environments in public domains as well as adapting them to specific user groups, for example schools and healthcare environments.  

Where you can work

Professionals within the field tend to take on strategic roles in the planning and development of programmes for the use and governance of outdoor spaces in healthcare, schools, housing areas and the public realm, or at a regional level take part in public health planning for the use of open green spaces. Businesses in the field nature-assisted therapy and green architecture are also common.

Continued studies

SLU offers a range of Master’s level courses in landscape architecture. Students completing a Master’s degree on this programme will also be eligible for doctoral studies.


Contact

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