Gardens of the Mind: Nature, Power and Design for Mental Health

Kathleen Connellan, Clemence Due, Damien Riggs
2022 Zenodo  
Nature, gardens and greenery are necessary to the healing of the mind. This paper discusses the integration and use of open spaces and 'gardens' in mental health units. There is ample evidence that gardens and gardening can relieve stress but how are gardens designed into mental health units to facilitate this known fact? (Cooper Marcus and Barnes, 1995; Pretty, 2004; Simpson, 1998). The results of an ethnographic observational study in a purpose built mental health unit in Australia form the
more » ... sis for the discussion but this study is also situated within global debates on design for improving mental health. One of the key issues emerging from the literature is the importance of natural settings in the reduction of stress for mental health clients and clinicians (Daykin, et al., 2008; Sitchler, 2008; Day, 2004; Ulrich, 2008; Andes and Shatell, 2006). We situate the discussion within the context of contemporary debates, we also bear historical examples in mind, especially in relation to power relations that are designed into the spaces. However our focus is the contemporary purpose built mental health unit. The paper questions relationships between the outside garden and the inside ward in terms of power and healing. Specifically it looks at how gardens operate as sites for healing in a harsh built environment. Additionally we ask how open spaces are used by mental health clients and how the 'gardens' integrate with the overall architectural design of mental health units.
doi:10.5281/zenodo.5841392 fatcat:sg52f4flf5db7f6qvslrscrvvu