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Fostering incidental experiences of nature through green infrastructure planning

Journal article
Authors Thomas H. Beery
Christopher M. Raymond
Marketta Kyttä
Anton Stahl Olafsson
Tobias Plieninger
Mattias Sandberg
Marie Stenseke
Maria Tengö
K. Ingemar Jönsson
Published in Ambio
Volume 46
Issue 7
Pages 717–730
ISSN 0044-7447
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Economy and Society, Unit for Human Geography
Department of Economy and Society
Pages 717–730
Language en
Keywords Extinction of experience, Human well-being, Incidental nature experience, Intentional nature experience Nudging, Redirection of attention
Subject categories Human Geography, Environmental psychology


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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