Landscape Architecture Study Finds That Green Scenery Aids Students

Monday, January 25, 2016

When faced with a test, an anxious student not only must concentrate intently but also needs to combat anxiety. What can help make that scenario optimal? In a research experiment at five high schools, doctoral student Dongying Li and William Sullivan, head of the Department of Landscape Architecture, measured attention and stress levels in participants situated in classrooms with either no window, a window with a view of the built environment, or a window opening onto green spaces. After a break from stress-inducing mental tasks, those with access to the natural landscape had a 13 percent increase in their ability to concentrate and were better able to recover from stress. Exposure to daylight alone with no view of greenery had no significant effect. In their article "Impact of Views to School Landscapes on Recovery from Stress and Mental Fatigue," which will appear in the April 2016 issue of the journal Landscape and Urban Planning, Li and Sullivan note that site selection for new schools, landscape designs focused on the perspective of learners rather than visitors, access to green space, and schedules that allow for restorative breaks can all potentially improve students' performance and enhance their well-being.

This important research is being cited widely. It was noted in an article in Psychology Today and in HuffPost Impact. Read more about the study in a News Bureau feature or download the article from ResearchGate.

Updated February 4, 2016