Urban Planning, Neurosciences and Contemplation for improving well-being in our cities

  • Agnieszka Anna Olszewska University of Porto
  • Paulo Farinha Marques University of Porto
  • Fernando Barbosa Fernando Barbosa University of Porto
Keywords: urban planning, landscape architecture, neurosciences, EEG (electroencephalography), contemplation, mindfulness


This paper presents the results of a pilot experiment which is a part of research attempting to prove that specific space-design strategies can induce contemplative states, as indexed by neurophysiologic measures of mindfulness. This study establishes an important dialogue between artistic and scientific disciplines: landscape architecture, urban studies, neurosciences and traditions of meditation, for finding methods that will enable improvement of well-being in cities by urban green open space design. The innovative part of the investigation is usage of EEG (electroencephalography) laboratory methods for evaluation of impacts of designed urban landscape settings on brain and mental states. This interdisciplinary approach is to create a tool for contemplative space design. It shows how to implement these findings ina design practice by highlighting the importance of particular, so called “contemplative design", and for creating restorative landscapes in our cities. Finding the right design techniques can provide a significant contribution to green space design with inclusion of stress reduction and mental health improvement strategies. The pilot experiment is a proof of concept and showed that the applied framework can serve well for further experiments. It also managed to establisha new reliable method of contemplative landscapes evaluation.
How to Cite
Olszewska, A., Marques, P., & Fernando Barbosa, F. B. (2014). Urban Planning, Neurosciences and Contemplation for improving well-being in our cities. ARCC Conference Repository. https://doi.org/10.17831/rep:arcc%y253