The importance of the quality of spaces for made for homeless like shelters, clinics, navigation centers ect.
is a concern among service providers. Building soundings that promote healthy living and better wellbeing for this vulnerable and stressed group could have major implications better managing homeless populations bring people closer to getting help. As I have discussed earlier homeless populations have higher rates of physical, mental and emotional health issues. These issues can be positively or negatively affected by their physical surroundings. Nature and natural elements in shelters could have implications on better wellbeing, and better behavior, one study has shown that prisoners with a cell window facing rural landscape compared to the concrete courtyard or no window displayed fewer stress symptoms such as digestive illness, headaches, skin rashes as well as fewer visits to nurse. Small changes in surrounding can have a large overall impact a person’s ability to feel safe and well enough to calm down and get the help they need. The Biophilia hypothesis and design asserts that physical environments impact stress levels and emotional states of individuals.
Recent research indicates that natural surroundings may also play a more direct role in reducing and recovering from physiological stress and mental exhaust. Building off of Biophilia ideas, Stress Recovery Theory and Attention Restoration Theory are more recent models that further distinguish the relationship between stress, well being and natural environments. Urban settings usually include intense and frequent stressors like loud noises, lots of distracting movements, and bright attention-grabbing colors. These characteristics demand mental energy of the person to process, filter and make sense of lots of information. Natural Environments, in contrast, offer less demanding stimulus that is softer and more pleasant.
For this reason, nature has been found to reduce distress and restore attention. Natural environments reduce physiological stress symptoms such as activation of the SNS, cortisol levels and brain activity associated with stress responses. Spending time in nature also improves mood and restores some of the decreases in cognitive abilities that accompany chronic stress. In sum, there are many psychological, emotional, cognitive, physiological, and behavioral benefits of spending time in nature.
“Stress” in the stress reduction and attention restoration model differs from the physiological model which is characterized by hormonal, blood, nervous, bodily responses. Stress in these models is thought of as an interaction between person and environment that results in the person feeling threatened enough to demand energy from the body. Exposure to nature is a coping strategy, which has positive effects on both arousal/activation level and cognitive overload.
Arousal theories imply that recuperation from excessive arousal should occur more rapidly in settings having low levels of arousal. Since natural settings tend to have lower levels of arousal properties, such as complexity, intensity and movement than urban environments, they should have comparatively restorative influences on stress. recuperation following a stressor may be more rapid when external stimulation is comparatively low because High complexity and other increasing-stimulation properties typical of urban settings, place taxing processing demands and elicit more sustained attention than nature settings; accordingly restoration from cognitive overload is hampered.