2020 Volume 8 Issue 1 Pages 107-123
The aim of this empirical study of Hongneung Experimental Forest (HEF) was to determine how urban forests in residential areas are being used as restorative environments. A survey (n = 232) based on the Perceived Restorativeness Scale was conducted to analyse how each element of the scale differed based on the user’s characteristics and to identify the relationship between use patterns and psychological restorativeness. Analysis showed that HEF played a role as a restorative environment in a residential area. The extent of stay received the highest score (6.35), followed by being away (5.97), fascination (5.59), and compatibility (5.47), whereas legibility (4.81) received a relatively low score. The differences in psychological restorativeness based on sex, age, visit frequency, and duration of stay were statistically significant. In particular, the psychological restorativeness for housewives and the elderly was greater than that for men. The greater the frequency of regular visits (e.g., 1~2 times per year), the more likely the visitor will stay for approximately 3h. In the midst of social demand for the restorative environments of urban forests that are accessible and available in everyday life, this study is significant in that it examined the effectiveness of urban forests as restorative environments and presented empirical directions from the visitor’s perspective for the planning of urban therapeutic spaces. However, there is a limit to generalizing the psychological restorativeness of urban forests with just the HEF as an example; therefore, future research is warranted to comparatively analyse various spaces.