|M.Sc Student||Kanonich Zvika|
|Subject||Landscape Architecture as a Lever for the Wellbeing|
of Mental Patients in Mental Health Institutions
|Department||Department of Architecture and Town Planning||Supervisor||Professor Tal Alon-Mozes|
|Full Thesis text - in Hebrew|
The hypothesis of this thesis, based on the paradigm of the restorative benefits of nature, emerged during visits to health institutes throughout Israel. These visits left me with a long and lasting impression of the absence of vision in planning and design, and of bored, alienated patients lacking purpose or occupation.
While the belief that nature or nature-like settings are beneficial to the sick dates back centuries, the first empirical study containing unequivocal scientific evidence was published only in 1984 (Ulrich 1984).
The current study is based on ‘research by design’ method and references three theoretical frameworks: ‘The Healing Garden’, ‘Therapeutic Gardening’, and ‘the Cognitive Approach’.
. Varied and distinct theories were introduced within these frameworks to explain the connections between the clinical, physiological and mental state of humans and their environment. Some suggest the connection is based on ‘evolutionary memory’ (or ‘adaptive memory’), while other psychological theories propose that gardens are inclusive environments or stress the importance of the actual physical activity done in the garden. This study was conducted in Ma’ale Carmel Mental Health Center in Tirat Carmel Israel. It consists of a theoretical and historical literature review. Data was then gathered from interviews and public participation events with patients, staff and family members, field observations, a physical analysis of the current situation, a study of the original architectural and landscape plans and an evaluation by peers and healthcare experts.
Based on the literature review, events with patients, staff and family members as ”public participation”, several design principles were identified as having an actual impact on the wellbeing of mental patients and assisting in restoring their mental health.
Expanding green spaces, encouraging patients to stay outdoors preferably in natural environments and using water elements will provide access to nature.
Transferring some activities outdoor and offering a wide range of sensory stimuli reinforces a connection to nature.
Various clinical needs are addressed by offering many options for use of the outdoor spaces. Meeting places suitable for family visits provide both safety and privacy. Encouraging rewarding outdoor activities and occupation as well as providing supervised niches for retreat and outdoor spaces that can assist diagnosis, while separating the recreational spaces of staff members from those of the patients.
The use of plants will promote a sense of vitality, reality and time. Spaces arranged in a clear and hierarchical way, using vegetation to distinctly define spaces, create spaces that encourage personal interactions as a way to prepare the patients’ reintegration into the community. The personal identity of patients is strengthened through therapeutic gardening, ‘private’ gardening and hobby spaces, defined tasks and responsibilities, such as feeding the animals, watering the lawn.
A sense of safety and security is provided by addressing the different needs of staff, family members and patients. Accessibility to all facilities is ensured by a simple and clear traffic system, which facilitate orientation and spatial configuration.