Københavns Universitet
Uafhængig af ledelsen

PhD thesis defense

Ulrik Sidenius, IGN, defends his thesis, "The Therapy Garden Nacadia®"

PhD thesis defense — PhD defence: Ulrik Sidenius


Date & Time:

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

Hosted by:
Section for Landscape Architecture and Planning


Ulrik Sidenius defends his thesis,

The Therapy Garden Nacadia®
The interplay between evidence-based health design in landscape architecture, nature-based therapy and the individual

Professor Ulrika Stigsdotter, IGN

Assessment Committee:
Professor Patrik Grahn, Department of Work Science, Business Economics and Environmental Psychology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Senior Lecturer Shureen Faris Abddul Shukor, Faculty of Design and Architecture, Universiti Putra Malaysia
Professor Frank Søndergaard Jensen (chair), IGN

The therapy garden Nacadia® is designed to provide a setting and framework for a nature-based therapy (NBT) program for people suffering from stress-related illnesses. It was established through an evidence-based health design in landscape architecture (EBHDL) process, an interdisciplinary collaborative process that used state-of-the-art evidence and expert knowledge on therapy gardens and NBT. This PhD project is an exploratory study that examines the relationship between the design of a therapy garden, a nature-based therapy program and citizens with severe stress. The overall aim is to gain a deeper understanding of and develop more knowledge about landscape architecture in a therapeutic intervention under Danish conditions. Data were collected from 42 severely stress citizens during a 10 week NBT program in Nacadia. Several data collection and data processing methods were used: Landscape analyses, observations, participants’ logbooks, interviews and questionnaires.
The first part of the study determined how the different types of activity were distributed around the garden and that the most preferred rooms were described as: “Enclosed”, or “slightly closed” but with a “view out”, to “see far”, and “see the sky” to get a “sense of expanse”. It gave the participants the feeling that their “backs were covered” and that they were “protected from behind”. Such places were preferred for emptying the mind, reflecting in peace or getting small experiences. The second part of the study shows that the participants in NBT experience it as a dynamically evolving process in which they explore and develop to understand themselves and life from new perspectives, and to live life from new approaches that can be implemented in their own lives after the NBT. The level of their capacities increases linearly. A third part of the study conclusively evaluates the garden design in relation to its original aim and objectives. A number of successes and minor failures in Nacadia were identified. Overall, the design of the garden meets the original objectives satisfactorily. The issue of exposure was the biggest problem in the design. Further the third study develops a model for diagnostic post occupancy evaluations (DPOE) of therapy gardens. It is an effective tool for ensuring health-promoting effects in accordance with the aims and objectives of the landscape design.

The thesis is available at the PhD administration office at Øster Voldgade 10, 04.1.415