Københavns Universitet
Uafhængig af ledelsen

PhD thesis defense

Gaochao Zhang defends his thesis at the Section for Landscape Architecture and Planning, IGN

PhD thesis defense — Gaochao Zhang 9 SEP at 13:00


Date & Time:

Von Langen Auditorium, Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, Rolighedsvej 23, 1958 Frederiksberg C

Hosted by:
Section for Landscape Architecture and Planning


Gaochao Zhang defends his thesis,

Beyond Accessibility: Health-Promoting Nature for People with Mobility Impairments

Professor Ulrika K. Stigsdotter, IGN

Assessment Committee:
Professor Patrik Grahn, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Associate Professor Lei Shao, Tsinghua University – China
Associate Professor Henriette Steiner (chair), IGN

Based on theories and academic findings regarding the health-promoting potential of nature, evidence-based health design in landscape architecture (EBHDL) is the application of evidence-based design principles to landscape architecture. The University of Copenhagen (UCPH) has developed an EBHDL process model which includes evidence collection, programming, design and diagnostic post-occupancy evaluation. To develop a full-scale outdoor laboratory called Move Green Lab, which would be accessible, usable and health-promoting for people with mobility impairments under the EBHDL model, UCPH’s Nature, Health & Design research group launched a pilot study to collect evidence to support the design of Move Green Lab. This PhD project presents the contents, methods and processes involved in this evidence collection (i.e. the first step of the EBHDL model), and includes parts of the research to collect three categories of evidence: a)the target group: information related to needs, attributes, use and treatments in nature b)impacts of nature: results and experiences from best research and practice c)the professional competencies of landscape architects The results show that nature and nature-related activities are beneficial to the physical, mental and social health of people with mobility impairments in some ways. Self-efficacy also benefits from the various uses of nature, which may result in better health-related quality of life by increasing positive life attitudes. People with mobility impairments value close contacts with nature, hydrophilic activities, activities with social significance, and exploration and self-challenge. Designers, related professionals and others can contribute to the promotion of the use of nature for people with mobility impairments by recognising factors related to physical, intrapersonal and interpersonal barriers. Landscape design for this group of people should integrate accessibility from the beginning and throughout the whole design process, linking with the experiences the group values in nature. During design, spaces in nature environments should make accessibility a prerequisite, be arranged with consideration for mobility ability parameters, treat individuals and their assistive devices as a unit, and create a positive social ambience to promote the target group’s use of nature and the experiences they value in nature.

The thesis is available for inspection at the PhD administration office.