The increasing density of cities and the escalating pressures placed on urban dwellers from resource competition, work/home life balance, social stress and the general overstimulating environment of city life has led to a cityscape that suffers from stress and fatigue (Adli, 2011). The shift from viewing cities as economic powerhouses to spaces that can and should improve people’s wellbeing (Montgomery, 2013) has been a slow-burning process. This failure to recognise and design for the human component of cities (Jacobs, 1961; Gehl, 2010) has left us with spaces that are car-centric, pieces of art rather than inviting usable spaces for people. Many of our urban spaces fail to inspire and capture the human sensorial experience (Pallasmaa, 2005). Guided by the practitioners in the fields of urban planning, psychology and phenomenology, Rest-Story gains insights into practices of mapping and reading restorative spaces in the city. These spaces are defined by their potential to provide a brief respite from the stressors of city life (Kaplan, 1992).
Through a process of inquiry and documenting public spaces throughout the Wellington CBD, Rest-Story invite us to question the current state of our urban fabric in order to realise spaces that have the potential to nurture and facilitate wellbeing for their citizens (Montgomery, 2013). Rest-Story explores theories of fluid place experience (Thwaites, Helleur and Simkins, 2005) to develop a new way of viewing restoration in the city, as a journey or story of restoration. The research aims to provoke further consideration of how we design urban public space and how we individually experience stories of restoration in our daily journeys through the city.
Adli, M. (2011). Urban stress and mental health. LSE Cities.
Gehl, J. (2010). Cities for people. Washington, DC: Island press.
Jacobs, J. (1961). The death and life of great American cities. Vintage.
Kaplan, S. (1992). The restorative environment: Nature and human experience. In Role of Horticulture in Human Well-being and Social Development: A National Symposium. Timber Press, Arlington, Virginia (pp. 134-142).
Montgomery, C. (2013). Happy city: transforming our lives through urban design. Macmillan.
Pallasmaa, J. (2012). The eyes of the skin: architecture and the senses. John Wiley & Sons.
Thwaites, K., Helleur, E and Simkins, I. M. (2005). Restorative urban open space: Exploring the spatial configuration of human emotional fulfilment in urban open space. Landscape Research, 30(4), 525-547.