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‘Blue’ coasts: Unravelling the perceived restorativeness of coastal environments and the influence of their components
Hooyberg, A.; Michels, N.; Allaert, J.; Vandegehuchte, M.B.; Everaert, G.; De Henauw, S.; Roose, H. (2022). ‘Blue’ coasts: Unravelling the perceived restorativeness of coastal environments and the influence of their components. Landsc. Urb. Plan. 228: 104551.
In: Landscape and Urban Planning. Elsevier Science: Amsterdam; Tokyo; Oxford; New York . ISSN 0169-2046; e-ISSN 1872-6062, meer
Peer reviewed article  

Beschikbaar in  Auteurs 

Author keywords
    Urban nature; Coastal environment; Attention restoration; Health benefits; Picture components; People

Auteurs  Top 
  • Hooyberg, A., meer
  • Michels, N., meer
  • Allaert, J., meer
  • Vandegehuchte, M.B., meer


    Outdoor environments benefit health by providing psychological restoration, but the degree of psychological restoration may vary considerably within heterogenous areas. This study focused on the Belgian coast to quantify the inter- and intra-environment variation in psychological restoration and the influence of natural and urban components and people.

    Students (N = 102, 18-30y, 83 % female) rated 52 pictures of ten coastal environments and of five beach-specific locations on a five-item perceived restorativeness scale (PRS) in random order. General linear mixed modelling standardized for individual and study design-related covariates and random effects.

    Generally, the average PRS-scores varied according to the scenes’ ‘naturalness’. The PRS was up to 30% higher for beaches, dunes, and salt marshes (PRS ≈ 8/10) than for dikes, docks, recreational harbors, and towns (PRS ≈ 5/10). Green parks, piers, and historical sites scored intermediate. At the beach specifically, pictures taken ‘on a breakwater’ (PRS ≈ 8.5/10) scored up to 20% higher than those taken ‘in a beach bar’ and ‘between beach cabins’ (PRS ≈ 6.5/10). The PRS was also associated with the relative surface area of the picture components. Associations were positive for natural components (i.e. vegetation, sky, and natural underground, not water), negative for urban components (i.e. buildings, vehicles and hardened underground), and unclear for people.

    This study confirmed the hypothesized inter- and intra-environment variation in the psychological restoration along the Belgian coast, and highlighted the importance of coastal nature for mental health. The generated insights can lead to better informed policy decisions to maximize the health benefits offered by coastal environments.

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