Data from A Sense of Place (11-2019)



We are regularly told that spending time in nature is good for us. Yet, the construction of 'nature' is often broad and
definitions of wellbeing typically loose. What exactly is it about 'nature' that improves our 'wellbeing'? What do these two terms actually mean to people? Many of the links between wellbeing and nature relate to walking and activity, but many others are based on an idea that merely 'being in nature' can be good for body and soul. This perceived connection between 'being in nature' and wellbeing
has a long social and cultural history, yet is rarely critically examined. In wellbeing literature, the value of nature is often
understood in terms of 'green spaces' or attractive landscapes. In hospitals, nature is often introduced through pictures of landscapes or artificial plants. Such frameworks implicitly assume that the value of nature for wellbeing is inextricably linked to the ability to see it, and they often treat 'nature' as homogeneous. What if we remove the visual, and focus on the smells or sounds of nature? What if we immerse people in unfamiliar or 'wild' natural sensescapes? Does everybody associate the same sensory aspects of nature with wellbeing, or are the relationships more diverse and complex? The 'Sense of Place' project team created immersive sensescapes focusing on the non-visual aspects of nature and asked people to respond to them. The data deposited here is a anonymous transcript from a focus group at an unnamed extra-care facility, where participants responded to prototype smells and sounds, and detailed interviews with 12 invited participants to a guided multi-sensory 'immersive experience' with three rooms: the beach, green space, and an abstract or 'fantasy' room based on natural sounds.
Date made available19 Dec 2019
PublisherUniversity of Bristol

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