For the last 6 months I have been writing my Master Thesis in Landscape Architecture and exploring the area of nature and creativity to find out how and why nature may enhance our creativity. It has been an amazing journey – talking to so many inspiring creative people and reading interesting literature about creativity and natures influence on human beings.
I have now graduated and below is the abstract of the thesis. If you are interested in reading the complete thesis feel free to send me an e-mail (mail[a]artarbre.dk) and I will send it to you. [Update April 2015: Based on my Master Thesis ‘How and Why Nature Enhances Human Creativity’ I have written an article ‘The impact of nature on creativity – A study among Danish creative professionals’ which has been published in the Journal Urban Forestry & Urban Greening. Co-author is professor Cecil C. Konijnendijk van den Bosch from Department of Landscape Architecture, Planning and Management, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden].
I will continue exploring the area of nature and creativity both academically as well as within my professional work life. I would be very happy to hear from you if you are interested in or work within the area of nature and creativity. It may be the start of a fruitful cooperation.
This thesis investigates nature’s ability to enhance human creativity. The thesis specifically tries to understand why and how nature may enhance our creativity, assuming that nature has a positive impact on creativity. Creativity is interesting to understand as it plays an essential role within our society and our ability to innovate and develop as a society. A theoretical frame built upon existing literature within the areas of psychology, environmental psychology, and landscape architecture forms the base of understanding the area. Empirical studies in the form of 17 qualitative interviews were performed with Danish creative professionals of different age, sex and profession about their creativity, their relation to nature as well as their experience of nature’s ability to stimulate their creativity. An additional literature study was performed and juxtaposed with the results of the empirical study. Findings from this study show that nature does indeed have the capacity to enhance creativity. The unique quality of nature is that it sets one in a state of mind which enhances creativity, because nature makes us feel open and unlimited, playful and excited, refocused and invigorated, calm and energized. Moreover nature can be a great source of direct inspiration, which also explains its ability to enhance creativity. The so-called perceived sensory dimensions ‘Nature’, ‘Space’ and ‘Serene’ contain and stimulate these factors and may therefore offer an explanation for why they are associated with the preferred types of nature when it comes to the enhancement of creativity. The findings indicate that nature especially can make a positive contribution in the two first phases of a creative process; The Preparation Phase and the Incubation Phase. The study is taking one of the first steps into the area of nature and creativity. The results suggest that it is fruitful to include and provide access to nature, especially in environments where we use, and are dependent on our creativity.