A growing body of empirical research from different areas suggests that natural environments, such as coastlines/lakes (blue spaces) and forests/parks (green spaces) are more restorative than built environments. However, most studies investigated outdoor environments and were based only on people’s perception. Indeed, the correlation between perceived restorativeness and objective characteristics of the environment has been rarely investigated. Moreover, previous studies have highlighted that not only environmental features but also individual characteristics, especially those related with the sense of self (i.e., identity, agency) could influence people’s perceived restorativeness. In this study, we analyzed how the composition (% of green/grey space) of the near-home environment influences perceived restorativeness at home, and how the perceived restorativeness is influenced by individual features. Anonymized geographic data was collected for each participant (N≈200 young Italian adults), together with a variety of individual factors including gender, age, education, orientation toward nature, and individual senses of agency and identity (sense of self). After the application of an ad-hoc environmental clustering procedure on satellite images, our results show that the perceived restorativeness is positively related to the percentage of green space and negatively correlated with the percentage of grey space in the environment (500 meters surrounding individuals’ home). Moreover, we found the decrease in restorativeness experienced by grey-space-residents to be exacerbated by individual sense of agency. These results demonstrate the importance of both the objective characteristics of the environment (of green/grey space) and individual characteristics (e.g., sense of self) in determining the perceived restorativeness.
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