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01.11.2017 | Perspective | Ausgabe 7/2017 Open Access

Ambio 7/2017

Fostering incidental experiences of nature through green infrastructure planning

Ambio > Ausgabe 7/2017
Thomas H. Beery, Christopher M. Raymond, Marketta Kyttä, Anton Stahl Olafsson, Tobias Plieninger, Mattias Sandberg, Marie Stenseke, Maria Tengö, K. Ingemar Jönsson
Wichtige Hinweise
To be enchanted—nothing is simpler. It is one of the soil and spring’s oldest tricks: Blue anemone. They are unexpected in some way. They shoot up from the brown of last year’s rustle in neglected places where the gaze would not otherwise pause…they glimmer and float-yes! Float-from their color….
(Tranströmer 1983, p. 20).


Concern for a diminished human experience of nature and subsequent decreased human well-being is addressed via a consideration of green infrastructure’s potential to facilitate unplanned or incidental nature experience. Incidental nature experience is conceptualized and illustrated in order to consider this seldom addressed aspect of human interaction with nature in green infrastructure planning. Special attention has been paid to the ability of incidental nature experience to redirect attention from a primary activity toward an unplanned focus (in this case, nature phenomena). The value of such experience for human well-being is considered. The role of green infrastructure to provide the opportunity for incidental nature experience may serve as a nudge or guide toward meaningful interaction. These ideas are explored using examples of green infrastructure design in two Nordic municipalities: Kristianstad, Sweden, and Copenhagen, Denmark. The outcome of the case study analysis coupled with the review of literature is a set of sample recommendations for how green infrastructure can be designed to support a range of incidental nature experiences with the potential to support human well-being.
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