Roof gardens as alternative urban green spaces

A three-part study on their restorative quality in Seoul, South Korea

Authored by: Narae Lee

The Routledge Handbook of Urban Resilience

Print publication date:  December  2019
Online publication date:  November  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138583597
eBook ISBN: 9780429506666
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9780429506666-30

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Abstract

The psychological benefits of green space, such as reducing stress and mental fatigue and elevating cognitive functioning and self-control, have been widely acknowledged by environmental psychologists. Urban life, which is complex and vulnerable to natural and manmade disasters, can put residents in a chronic state of psychological exhaustion. As such, making green space more accessible in the urban environment is crucial. However, it has become more difficult to introduce enough accessible green space in contemporary urban environments. This issue stems not only from the shortage of the absolute amount of green space, but also from the uneven distribution of green space throughout the urban environment. As one solution to this problem, dense urban cities, such as Seoul in South Korea, have actively adopted roof gardens, which provide vegetation on the roof tops of buildings. The psychological benefits of roof gardens, however, are largely understudied. Therefore, this study conducted an empirical analysis to assess roof gardens’ restorative quality, which reduces mental fatigue. This study found that roof gardens’ restorative quality can be comparable to that of urban parks. Thus, roof gardens can be thought of as alternative urban green spaces. Nonetheless, this study also puts emphasis on urban planners’ efforts in introducing more urban parks that can be easily accessed by city residents in their daily lives.

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