Improve human health and well-being by providing visual and physical connections to restorative outdoor spaces.
- Provide accessible, quiet outdoor spaces that include:
- Seating for five percent of total site users
- Visual and physical access to vegetation
- Elements that reduce noise and mitigate negative distractions
- Elements that address microclimate and other site-specific conditions (e.g., sun, shade, wind)
- For sites with regularly occupied buildings, provide unobstructed views of vegetation from 50 percent of common spaces (e.g., office spaces, classrooms, waiting rooms, living areas, dining rooms).
Note: A project cannot achieve this credit for the same space that is submitted for HHWB C6.6: Support social connection. SITES encourages the development of multiple types of spaces to serve the intents of both credits; therefore, submit two separate spaces in order to achieve both credits.
- During the site assessment process, identify areas that are quiet and could optimize the mental health benefits for site users. Look for shade trees, views, or site landmarks as well as potential stressful factors on or off site.
- During site planning and design, meet with stakeholders and potential site users to identify needs and techniques appropriate to the site type and user groups. Work with designers to design the project so that buildings can optimize views and deflect surrounding noise.
- Design a variety of smaller, mentally restorative spaces conveniently located throughout a site rather than one large space. If possible, consider integrating these outdoor spaces with interior public spaces to enhance the connection to nature throughout a site.
- Design the outdoor mental restoration spaces away from distractions, such as noise from mechanical systems, building and facility operations, and traffic. To minimize noise, incorporate multiple solutions such as quieter pavement or road surfacing, dense foliage, earth berms, and barriers or screens. Schedule maintenance activities when site users are not present.
- To create a sense of enclosure, define seating areas with low walls, fences, vegetation, or topography. Walls, fences, and vegetation can also break, guide, deflect, or filter the wind and thereby alter its effects.
- Provide a variety of seating options within defined spaces. Consider providing comfortable, moveable seating in both sun and shade.
- Design the site with protective windbreaks, awnings, and other sources of shade where necessary. Use vegetation, green walls, or barriers to minimize or buffer excessive wind, sunlight, traffic, or unsightly features.
- Provide amenities or vegetation that enhance a multi-sensory aesthetic experience, such as a grove of trees, water features, scents from flowers or foliage, tactile variation, or art.