Nature, Health and Design – University of Copenhagen

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Nature, Health & Design

The research group work focuses on research, development and teaching within evidence-based health design and nature-based treatment with the aim to improve health outcomes for various user- and target groups.


Completed projects

Ongoing PhD projects

Completed PhD projects

  • Dorthe Varning Poulsen, Physiotherapist. War veterans’ with PTSD experiences of nature-based therapy.
  • Ulrik Sidenius, Landscape architect. Post occupancy evaluation of the design of the forest therapy garden Nacadia®
  • Karin Kragsig Peschardt, Landscape architect. Health Promoting Pocket Parks in a Landscape Architectural Perspective. 2014
  • Shureen Faris, Landscape architect. Restorative Green Outdoor Environment at Acute Care Hospitals. 2013
  • Sus Sola Corazon, Master in educational psychology. Stress, Nature & Therapy. 2012
  • Lene Lottrup, Architect, Industrial PhD (Arkitema). Workplaces and access to green outdoor environments. 2012
  • Anne Dahl Refshauge, Landscape architect. PlayLab Cph - Design and use of public playgrounds in urban green spaces. 2012
  • Victoria Linn Lygum, Landscape architect. Healing gardens at crisis shelters for women and children survivors of domestic violence. 2012
  • Jasper Schipperijn, Forester. Use of urban green space. 2010


Nature, Health & Design Lab

  • Stigsdotter, UK. 2015. Nature, Health & Design. Alam Cipta, International journal of sustainable tropical design research and practice, volume 8, special issue 2, pp 89-96.

Nacadia effect study (NEST)

  • Sidenius, U., Stigsdotter, UK., Refshauge, AD. & 2015. A year in the Therapy Forest Garden Nacadia®: Participants’ use and preferred locations in the garden during a nature-based treatment program. Alam Cipta, International journal of sustainable tropical design research and practice, volume 8, special issue 2, pp. 44-53.

The Health Forest Octovia project

The SUSY Green project

  • Toftager, M., Ekholm. O., Schipperjin, J., Stigsdotter, UK., Bentsen, P., Grønbæk, M., Randrup, TB., Kamper-Jørgensen, F. 2011. Distance to green space and physical activity: a Danish national representative survey. Journal of Physical Activity & Health, issue 8, pp. 741-749.

Health promoting nature for with mobility disabilities


Members of the research group

Nature, Health & Design is a multidisciplinary group of researchers, conducting research within a wide range of current research trends on interactions between man, human health, natural environment and health design. Most of the research has an applied perspective and is aimed at scientists, practitioners and students. Nature, Health & Design’s research expertise provides evidence to guide policy makers, city planners, landscape architects, and therapists in translating gained knowledge into practice.

Nature, Health & Design Laboratory

The demand for different types of natural environments that promote health and/or support treatment is increasing globally. However, not all natural environments are good for our health. Indeed, there are examples on natural environments that have had negative health outcomes. The conscious design of green spaces and gardens so that they, in a certain way, support health processes and result in improved health outcomes has evolved into a new branch of landscape architecture. The English-speaking countries refer to it as ‘health design’.

The research group has established a Nature, Health and Design Laboratory to serve as a site for research, practice, demonstration and teaching. The laboratory is located in the Hørsholm Arboretum. The laboratory is the first of its kind, and the focus is generally on the interaction between nature, health, and design.

The laboratory currently consists of two projects: the therapy garden Nacadia® and the health forest Octovia®, but Move Green Lab will hopefully be a part of the laboratory in the nearest future. The two projects represents the two main perspectives within health design: In Nacadia®, nature-based treatment is offered to people suffering from stress-related diseases, while Octovia® offers nature experiences that aim to promote good health and prevent illnesses. Both projects are based on a common theoretical framework, and are designed according to the evidence-based health design process.

You can read more about our work with health design within landscape architecture and nature-based use and treatment here