Journal of Hotel and Business Management

Journal of Hotel and Business Management
Open Access

ISSN: 2169-0286

+44-1625-708989

Research Article - (2019) Volume 8, Issue 1

The Restorative Environment Offered by Pocket Park at Laman Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur

Nur Idzhainee Hashim*, Yusof NHS, Ahmad Nazrin Aris Anuar and Firdaus Check Sulaiman
 
*Correspondence: Nur Idzhainee Hashim, Faculty of Architecture, Planning and Surveying, Centre of Studies for Park and Amenity Management, Universiti Teknologi MARA, 40450 Shah Alam, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia, Tel: +6018-9024100, Email:

Author info »

Abstract

Providing successful pocket parks and recreation space for inner city residents is increasingly challenging by the limited amount of available park space in urban areas. As a result of the diminishing area and limited time, the physical and recreational needs of urban youth often gone unmet and most people have experienced mental fatigue especially those who are staying in urban area. Mental fatigue is a condition characterized by excessive mental tiredness which can potentially lead to serious problems including reduced productivity, poor job performance and impaired physical functioning. According to a research from the University of Melbourne, relaxation is necessary to truly overcome mental fatigue. Several minutes of looking at grassy area can improve concentration which is also called as micro-breaks. Taking a break or gazing out at a green space during micro-break are suggested as it will offer restorative experience for restoration process. Daily routines among city dwellers can significantly contribute to the deterioration of focus which may lead to directed attention tiredness. People in Kuala Lumpur are wrestling with everyday stress in term of limited job opportunities, high living cost, congestion and polluted environment. Without realizing, they need restorative environment to help them restore their mental to face their everyday routine. Pocket park, Laman Standard Chartered, Kuala Lumpur is chosen for this study since it is located to dense urban area near to Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) which is one of the main attractions in the city and a place of quiet refuge and escape from the busy city life surrounding them.

Overview of Pocket Parks

Pocket parks are urban open spaces on a small-scale which have the potential to provide relief from the city, a safe and inviting environment to the user, and contribute positively to the urban microclimate. It is a small outdoor area, usually no more than ¼ of an acre, and can be found in urban area surrounded by commercial buildings or houses. It provides a place for people to socialize with others and to restore their attention [1]. Pocket parks, also known as mini park or vest-pocket parks, are urban open space at the very small scale. Pocket parks can be tucked into and scattered throughout the urban fabric where they serve the local population [2].

Such small parks could function as a compliment to larger parks and fill the need for people to feel close to nature [3]. They also meet a variety of needs and functions including small event space, play areas for children, spaces for relaxing or meeting friends, taking lunch breaks and so on [2]. Many countries have realized the benefits of pocket parks. As an example, Malaysia started to develop pocket parks since 2008 and it can currently be found in several states such as Negeri Sembilan, Terengganu, Kedah, Johor, Melaka, Perak, Pahang, Sabah and Sarawak and the number has been increasing until date. Likewise, it has been proven that parks and nature are important for public health reasons, as they offer psychological restorative experiences [4]. A study suggested that enjoying nature and balancing out the time for work and leisure are one of the ways to reduce stress [5]. However, a study proved that most people staying in urban area or dense cities have become detached from nature and has led to stress-related illness [6].

Several studies have stated that natural environments are more restorative than built environments however, the ongoing densification of cities is causing a reduction in per capita urban green space [7,8]. Since the global population is increasing and the cities are expanding with rising land value, it has resulted in the loss of green areas and created pressure against providing new open green spaces in the city [9]. The scarcity of open space in modern cities suggests that the establishment of new large green areas is unlikely. Nevertheless, a network of small green spaces serving neighbourhoods could provide an alternative; spaces that allow the population to be very near a park and improve the urban park system especially those living in urban area for example, Kuala Lumpur [2]. Although urban development is identified as a centre of economic growth and as central to reducing poverty [10], it has become challenging in providing a good park or recreation space for city residents by the limited amount of available vacant land in urban areas [1]. This has proven Chiesura’s writing in 2014 that parks and green spaces of the urban structure have gained less attention than the others.

Pocket park in urban area is one of the initiative taken to connect people with nature to help people to reduce stress living in the dense city [11]. Another issue being discussed by Gurmit Singh, the chairman of Centre for Environment, Technology and Development, Malaysia (CETDEM) which claimed that even though they have developed parks, but they hardly have people visiting them [5]. This situation signals that people are still not aware or unnoticed on the benefit of pocket park scattered in the middle of the city in term of mental restoration. Restoration is defined as the process of renewing physical, psychological and social capabilities diminished in ongoing efforts to meet adaptive demands [12]. The process is triggered by environments and environmental configurations such as restorative environments [13]. A substantial number of experiments have shown that natural environments tend to be more restorative than urban or built environments [13].

Therefore, being negligent on the importance of urban green space and park area which is often perceived as luxuries and captured in entailing the balance of social needs towards themselves [14], Malaysians are exposed to the risk of declining mental health which will lead to other illnesses such as weakened immune system, obesity, high blood pressure and other risk of infections. Therefore, the existence of nearby nature including parks, and urban forest is crucial as it is emerging towards one of the important public health solutions in metropolitan communities.

Defining parks

Parks can be defined as a land that has been gazetted for the purpose of formal and informal recreation, preservation of natural environments, and provision of green space or even urban storm water management [15]. Studies claimed that high accessibility to green areas such as parks, open spaces, and playgrounds has been associated with improved general health, reduced stress levels and depression [16]. According to Walker, parks have long been acknowledged as major contributors to the physical and aesthetic quality of urban neighbourhoods and provide social, economic and environmental benefits to the community [17].

When the first parks developed in the 19th century, city officials believed in the possible health benefit that would result from open space [18]. They assumed parks would reduce illness, crime, as well as offering ‘green lungs’ for the city which can allow recreation activities to be done [18]. Since those days, the assumptions were used as indicators to build parks and other green areas in cities [19].

Even though parks are proven beneficial to the users, a survey conducted by Herbal life reported that majority of Malaysia’s workforce (86%) exercise less than three times a week with seven out of 10 workers getting less than 30 minutes of physical activity a day at their workplace which makes Malaysia the fattest country in South-East Asia. This situation may have resulted from the finite amount of available park space in urban areas or dense cities which has denied physical and recreational needs of city residents [1]. A solution to meet the demands occurs from the conversion of abandoned areas into mini or pocket parks, which falls in the category of neighbourhood park [2]. Ideally, these pocket parks are closely tied into the neighbourhood space and tend to be scattered from the nature. These unique parks are often created out of vacant lots, rooftops and forgotten and unused spaces [1]. Smith further indicated pocket park as one that serves up to a four block radius, with most of the users coming from within a one-two block radius [20].

In Malaysia, the classifications of open space for recreational purposes are adopted by the Department of Town and Country Planning (JPBD) under Ministry of Housing and Local Government as shown in Table 1.

Table 1: Classification of open space for recreational purposes.

Hierarchy Size (ha.) Population catchment
National park unlimited National
regional park 100 Regional
Urban park 40 >50,000
Local park 8 12,000-50,000
Neighbourhood park 2 3000-12000
Playing field 0.1-0.6 1000-3000
Playground 0.1-0.2 300-1000

These open spaces create structure and value for cities and neighbourhoods. There are many types of parks such as neighbourhood parks, community parks, recreational parks, citywide parks, natural parks and pocket parks [14]. Since this study is regarding restorative environment at pocket park which falls under the category of Neighbourhood Park, the literature review will focused on the concept.

Neighbourhood park

Neighbourhood parks, as outlined in the Parks and Open Space study, are parks that serve the needs of the residents within their neighbourhood. Typically, they range in size and are designed to accommodate a range of age groups. Neighbourhood parks may also include lineal parks or pocket parks connecting other parks or forming part of the broader network of open space and the movement network [21]. However, it is unsuitable to classify pocket park in urban and developed area as one of the neighbourhood parks because clearly there is no neighbourhood surrounding the pocket park in the middle of the city. Since it is in urban area and best placed along greenways or bike paths, it can be classified as one of the Urban Green Space (UGS) which connected number of pedestrians who are the greatest potential users.

Urban green space

Research findings have pointed to urban green spaces as a resource in promoting public health. It has been suggested that green spaces promote health by restoring mental fatigue [22], serving as a resource for physical activities, and reducing all-cause and causespecific mortality [23,24]. From these studies, it is proven that access to nature in urban environments is better than no access to nature [25]. Generally, having access to green spaces can reduce health inequalities, improve well-being, and aid in treatment of mental restoration [26]. Additionally, it was proved using the Attention Restoration Theory (ART) that people can quintessence and focus better after spending time in nature or even looking at scenes of nature.

Attention restoration theory (ART)

Attention Restoration Theory (ART) framework is used to prove that the benefits of restorative environments may contribute to reducing mental fatigue and renewing diminished capacities [27]. ART is a theory that explains the cognitive benefits nature provides is Kaplan’s [28]. The theory explicates that nature is capable to restore attention after using mental energy such as feeling tired after revising for exams or working tirelessly on a work project [29]. Conferring to ART, the capacity to continually focus attention on a particular activity can be reduced or lost through mental exhaustion which is also known as directed attention fatigue. It has been proven that parks and nature are important for public health reasons, as they offer psychological restorative experiences (Figure 1) [4,30].

hotel-business-management-kuala-lumpur

Figure 1: Elements of Attention Restoration Theory (ART) offered by Pocket Park at Laman Standard Chartered, Kuala Lumpur [30].

Elements of attention restoration theory (ART): Attention Restoration Theory by Kaplan is used to analyse the restorative attributes [31]. Restorative experiences facilitate recovery from mental fatigue and help city dwellers continue to meet the demands of everyday life. The experiences which normally take place within the context of leisure, have the potential to contribute to the well-being and satisfaction of those who engage in them. Besides, restorative experiences have shown to lead to improved emotional and cognitive functioning and to mental health and well-being benefits for both individuals and communities. Four elements of Attention Restoration Theory (ART) could offered by Pocket Park at Laman Standard Chartered, Kuala Lumpur are fascination, being away, compatibility and extent [32,33].

Fascination: Restorative experiences depend on soft fascination. Thus, fascination is vital for restorative experience as it allows one to function without using directed attention. One of the benefits of fascination is it frees one from the need for effort to pay attention. It can be derived from objects in the environment, as well as from ways of doing things. People are fascinated by figuring things out, by predicting uncertain events and by challenges [34]. Nature is certainly full of fascinating objects other than providing many natural processes that people find engrossing. It is called soft fascination and the movement of clouds, sunsets, and the motion of leaves in a breeze are the examples that make people fascinate effortlessly. Besides, the beauty of vegetation and even water fountain can also be one of the fascination elements. People will be able to reflect on difficult matters to contemplate under other circumstances [28].

Being away:The next restorative element is experiencing a sense of being away, physically or psychologically, from everyday surrounding. It means that a person should be in different setting than usual to be able to escape from unwanted distractions and daily routines [35]. The element of being away is closely related to fascination. As an example, when there are no undesirable distractions around the different environment, it will demand less effort to focus. Thus, fascination will easily occur. Besides, being in some other setting provides opportunities for people to think of other things [36]. Being away is either psychologically or physically feeling distant from daily obligations and demands where directed attention capacity is commonly needed [3]. Natural environment such as seaside, mountains, lakes, gardens, forests, and meadows are often preferred for restorative opportunities destination. However, opportunities to access nature spots are minimal among city dwellers [29].

Compatibility: The third restorative element explained by Kaplan and Kaplan is compatibility which stands for a fit between the person and the environment [35,37]. Being in a highly compatible environment requires little effort to focus, so compatibility can also help to restore from directed attention fatigue. An environment would not be able to provide restorative experience without compatibility among the environmental patterns, the individual's inclinations, and the actions required by the environment [38]. Compatibility refers to the degree to which the environment supports what one intends to do based on their purposes [29]. It is fostered both by having purposes appropriate to an environment and having in the environment what one needs to meet one’s purposes. For many people, functioning in the natural setting seems to require less effort than functioning in more urbanized surrounding [28]. People often approach natural areas with the purposes to restore their mind and natural environment can provide what they need, thus increasing compatibility. A nearby, highly accessible natural environment such as parks cannot provide the context for all these goals and purposes. Yet even such a setting is likely to be supportive of the inclinations of those who seek a restoration there [39].

Extent: Extent is a restoration element which can be defined as the sense of being somewhere with sufficient scope that one can dwell there for a while, whether the physical place is vast [40]. According to previous study, the element enables one to occupy the mind for a period long enough to allow directed attention to rest. The area can be small, such as Japanese gardens. It must provide enough to see, experience, and think about so that it takes up a substantial portion of the available room in one’s head. Extent is explained as a function of connectedness and scope [41]. Connectedness is a degree of coherence of relatedness between perceived elements in the environment meanwhile, scope refers to the scale of the environment, including the immediate surroundings and the areas that are out of sight or imagined. Extent defined as the ability of an environment to offer scope for exploration and a sense of coherence [3]. The study has shown that even a small area can provide a feeling of extent and is also vital in restorative elements. Trails and paths can be arranged so that a small area seems much greater. Extent, as already mentioned, also functions at a more conceptual level. For example, settings that include historic artefacts can promote a sense of being connected to past eras and past environments and thus to a larger world [42]. From the stated elements of Attention Restoration Theory, the capability of nature as an effective restorative environment has already been studied on and proven by several researchers. The scope of the nature environment will be narrowed down to pocket park to achieve the objective of this study.

Benefits of pocket park

Pocket park provide restorative environment for the visitors to momentarily escape from the business of the urban area and it has also proven beneficial for visitors [11]. If visitors are aware of the benefit of the pocket park, then they are aware of the importance of it towards themselves and will use it frequently. The problem statement has stated that the developed parks hardly have visitors and it might signal that they do not have the cognizance or ignored of the significance of it. The benefits of pocket parks go far beyond as they positively influence the well-being and the quality of life in which they are located. According to National Recreation and Park Association [1], further explored the numerous benefits delivered by pocket parks such as:

• Support the overall ecology of the surrounding environment,

• Help protect and conserve local wildlife, landscape and heritage,

• Reduce pollution, traffic, and consumption of resources,

• Empower local residents to make decisions that affect their community,

• Make communities safer and more sociable,

• Regenerate run – down areas,

• Reinforce relationships between local authorities and communities.

Source: National Recreation and Park Association [1].

There is also a general agreement within the green space sector, that pocket parks are essential for liveable and sustainable cities and towns which compatibly influences the community. Table 2 indicates the effects of pocket parks to the community by Noha Ahmed Abdel Aziz [43]. Konijnendijk had divided the benefit into two categories which are direct and indirect benefits [30].

Table 2: Gender of respondents.

Variable Frequency (n) Percent (%)
Male 143 37.1
Female 242 62.9
Total 385 100

Direct benefit: Direct benefit is the advantage that instantly felt by or affects the visitors. The direct benefits consist of health elements such as increasing the psychological well-being, reducing the chance from getting obesity and ensuring mental health [30]. There are many other elements stated in the study, but these three benefits are selected due to several reasons.

Psychological well-being shows how people evaluating their own life. Diener stated that the evaluation is guided by emotions or feelings in reaction to their life [44]. He reported that most people assess their life as either good or bad, so they can offer judgments [45]. It has been proven by several studies that parks and nature are vital settings for public health as they provide psychological restorative experiences to increase public psychological well-being [4]. As mentioned in the problem statement, most of the people in Kuala Lumpur are unhappy with their surrounding especially with their working environment. Crowded, loud, and safe- threatening places can influence psychological well-being [46].

For obesity, senior consultant endocrinologist, Prof Datuk Dr Mafauzy Mohamed claimed that Malaysians tend to overeat which has led to high obesity rate for the country [47]. Dietitian, Nur Hayati Azmi reported that most of her patients either do not have the time to do physical exercise or tend to eat affordable food that are high in fats and sugar [47]. Kuala Lumpur is full of white and blue-collar workers and it is proven by buildings of company surrounding the area. Most of them finished work at 5 p.m. and must deal with traffic congestion which has reduced their opportunity to exercise. By developing pocket parks, they will be able to do simple exercise by simply walking through the park to go to another destination such as having lunch breaks at restaurant.

Mental health is slightly different with psychological well-being. Mental health influence how they think, feel, and act other than determining how they manage stress, socialize with others, and make choices. Exposure to urban nature has the potential to effect people mental health directly and has increase their ability to deal with life stressors, improve their work productivity and reduce stress or depression at work place [46].

Indirect benefit: Indirect benefit is the catalyst that indirectly enhance visitors’ physical activity, living or working satisfaction, and recreation activity [30]. Physical activity defined as body movement that require energy (USDA, n.d.) and walking is the best example. During data collecting progress, researcher have found that many visitors walk through the pocket park either to go to other destination or to take a break from work. Some of the nearby restaurant workers walked to get to the pocket park for smoking or to simply sit to enjoy the view. For health benefits, physical activity should be moderate or vigorous intensity and pocket park has indirectly increase it by providing an area for visitors to do so. Besides, health experts from the UW Health’s Fitness Centre have also confirmed that 20 minutes a week with even light exercising can improve their health.

Besides, the increased physical activity also has an effect to working or living satisfaction. Several studies have reported that health is one of the predictors for living satisfaction. When a person is healthy, they will be able to increase their living or even working satisfaction. For working satisfaction, one will be able to concentrate better on work after they have restored their mental in a restorative environment.

In addition, pocket parks also offers a range of recreation activities. Recreation is an activity that people participate in during their free time and they enjoy the whole process [48]. When people have nowhere to do recreation activity, they gain weight. Inactive lifestyle is more likely to happen in place that people have no access for recreation. The possibility will reduce if the area has well-connected streets, and mixed land uses [49]. Pocket Park at Laman Standard Chartered meet the characteristics and people can substantially improve their health and quality of life by including moderate physical activities.

Study area

Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia, has 1.79 millions of population in 2017 and it has been increasing since 2013 [50]. The growing needs from the local and migrating residents in term of recreation area has increased too [1]. Pocket park is one of the initiatives taken by Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (DBKL) for the residents to live in comfortable, safe and conducive which has resulted to approximately 12 pocket parks provided in the middle of the urban area [51]. Besides, DBKL had encouraged private sectors to take part in greening Kuala Lumpur through the Adopt a Park program. Standard Chartered Bank (M) Sdn Bhd’s has “adopted” a pocket park in Jalan P Ramlee in 2012. The park is then renamed Laman Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur. The company has signed a five-year deal with DBKL and this may be extended by another two years if both parties agree. Laman Standard Chartered is chosen for this study as they have the potential as a restorative environment besides its strategic location in the middle of the city. Moreover, high number of visitors are expected as it is located near to Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) which is the one of the attractions in the area.

However, a study reported that the area may not fulfil the restorative environment characteristics for the visitors thus the restorative process at the area is questionable. This paper reports an understanding on visitors’ awareness of pocket parks’ importance in term of restorative environment and to determine if the pocket park at Laman Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur meet the restorative environment characteristics (Figure 2). Using quantitative methods to gain empirical results, statistical analysis offered insight regarding the factors that affect the awareness of pocket parks. The outcomes of this study could show insight into pocket park characteristics in term of restorative environment that affect public mental restoration and which consequently, makes people visit pocket park frequently. If these experiences can be improved, certain pocket park of the city can be made more attractive and will increase the general environs for the users (Figure 3).

hotel-business-management-laman-standard

Figure 2: Location of Laman Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur.

hotel-business-management-parliamentary-map

Figure 3: Map of Kuala Lumpur.

Material and Methods

The aim of this study is to provide an understanding on visitors’ awareness of pocket parks’ importance in term of restorative environment and to determine the characteristics of the restorative experience offered at Laman Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur. In this study, both quantitative and qualitative methods were used and it relied on the random sampling and structured data collection which helped to gain results that are easy to summarise, compare and generalise. Leedy and Ormrod assumed that quantitative research is specific in its surveying and experimentation, as it builds upon existing theories [52]. Research use survey method as one of the research design by using close-ended questionnaire. The high number of respondents will enhance the accuracy in data received at the end of data analysis. The selected target group for this study is the visitors as they have the qualities to have an opinion about the selected pocket park due to the assumption that the visitors would make use of the pocket park in the city during their leisure time. Simple random sampling is used to determine the sample size for the respondents.

Researcher also used observation method, which is commonly used in behaviour related studies. It is a technique that requires selecting, watching and recording the behaviours and characteristics of targeted respondents that are related to the objective of the study. This skill allows higher opportunity for researchers to reach more valid information. Data collected were then analysed using Statistic Package of Social Science (SPSS) program with support from other studies in order to support the data gained.

Result and Discussion

Table 1 shows the gender of visitors at Laman Standard Chartered, Kuala Lumpur. According to the table, the frequency of male is 143 and female is 242 which has resulted to higher percentage of female respondents than the male. There is a possibility that the women are experiencing restorative environment to restore their mental health due to stressed factors or lacking of exercising. Besides, it is also related to safe pocket park environment which make female visitors feel safe and it has been proven by Krenichyn [53].

Tables 3 and 4 shows the results for both direct benefit and indirect benefits. These variables were questioned among the respondents to identify their awareness on the importance of pocket park offered at Laman Standard Chartered, Kuala Lumpur.

Table 3: Direct benefits offered by pocket park at Laman Standard Chartered, Kuala Lumpur.

Direct Benefit
Description   Strongly Disagree Disagree Neutral Agree strongly agree Mean
Pocket park enhance my psychological wellbeing % 0.5 0.8 25.2 49.4 24.2 3.96
f 2 3 97 190 93
Pocket park helps me in reducing the chance from getting obesity % 1.0 3.6 27.3 45.2 22.9 3.85
f 4 14 105 174 88
Pocket park enhance my mental health % 0.3 1.3 17.7 51. 7 29.1 4.08
f 1 5 68 199 112

Table 4: Indirect benefits offered by pocket park at Laman Standard Chartered, Kuala Lumpur.

Indirect Benefit
Description Strongly Disagree Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly Agree Mean
Pocket park stimulates me to do physical activity % 0.0 2.3 15.3 44.2 38.2 4.18
f 0 9 59 170 147
Pocket park increases my living satisfaction % 0.3 1.8 22.6 47.8 27.5 4.01
f 1 7 87 184 106
Pocket park provides variety of recreational activity for me % 0.5 1.8. 22.1 44.9 30.6 4.03
f 2 7 85 173 118

Referring to Table 3, the variable ‘pocket park enhance my mental health’ has the highest mean which is M=(4.08). More than half of the respondents which are 199 (51.7%) of respondents Agree to the variable. Since Laman Standard Chartered is surrounded by offices and other shops, there are many white and blue-collar workers taking micro-break at the pocket park. Taking a break or simply gazing out at a green space throughout micro-break are suggested since they are able to offer healing experience for restoration process. Still, there are 5 (1.3%) of respondents Disagree and 1 (0.3%) Strongly Disagree to it. Some of them complained verbally to researcher that certain area at Laman Standard Chartered is full of rubbish and lack of vegetation. They might be effected by those deficiency.

Next, the mean for ‘pocket park helps me in reducing the chance from getting obesity’ has the lowest mean which is M=(3.85) for visitors’ awareness on the benefit of pocket park. There are 174 (45.2%) of respondents who Agreed. Strong evidence shows that when people have access to parks, they are more likely to exercise, which can reduce obesity and its associated problems and costs [54]. However, there are 14 (3.6%) and 4 (1.0%) of respondents who Disagree and Strongly Disagree about the direct benefit provided at pocket park. The mean for this variable is M=(3.85) which is the lowest for this part. Based on researcher observation, most people at Laman Standard Chartered are doing passive recreational activity such as taking photos, playing video games or simply enjoy the environment. These passive activities do not require rapid physical movement and energy which explained why it would not be able to reduce obesity risk (Table 4).

Table 4 shows the mean for indirect benefit offered by pocket park at Laman Standard Chartered, Kuala Lumpur. The highest mean for the objective is M=(4.18); the mean for variable ‘pocket park stimulates me to do physical activity’. The mean is the highest as there are 170 (44.2%) of respondents chose to Agree with the variable. Research discovered that people visit a pocket park for fresh air, to reduce stress, and to do physical activity. A study stated that walking is also one of physical activity that can easily be done at pocket park and it has encouraged visitors to walk as it is connected to one place and another [2]. People with easy access to broad, attractive, public open spaces are more likely to walk more than those who have no access to any [55]. The study also stated that physical health benefits is the main benefit that can be offered at pocket park. However, there are 9 (2.3%) of the respondents who are Disagree of it. Based on researcher’s observation, some of the respondents were just sitting and playing with their phones and some were smoking. These activity do not contribute to any aspect of physical health benefits.

The whole mean for the variable ‘pocket park increases my living satisfaction’ is M=(4.01) which is the lowest among other variable. There are 184 (47.8%) of respondents Agree that pocket park can increase their living satisfaction. Previous studies had found that people who live or work near green area has minor stress levels which can contribute to higher living satisfaction. This can happen by mere glimpse of green area through a window or a live plant on their working desk [56].

From the data obtained, researcher has found that most respondents are actually aware of the direct and indirect benefit of pocket park towards themselves. This can be proven from the frequency of respondents that are Agree and Strongly Agree for each statement regarding the benefit of pocket park in the questionnaire. The questions in Objective 1 are related to the respondents’ health and recreation preference. However, based on researcher’ observation during the conduction of this study, only some of them are enjoying the restorative environment and some are doing passive recreational activity such as surfing the internet and playing video games. Most of the respondents simply walk through the pocket park to get to other destination and talk to their friends while enjoying the environment. According to previous studies, perhaps they do not have the time precisely for leisure and recreation activity. Besides, they might likewise do not have the energy to do vigorous recreational activities such as jogging or cycling at the pocket park.

The second objective of this study is to determine if Laman Standard Chartered, Kuala Lumpur meets the restorative environment characteristics. Tables 5-8 present the details results from the survey.

Table 5: Element of Attention Restoration Theory: Fascination.

Fascination
Description   Strongly Disagree Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly agree Mean
There are many interesting elements to see in this park % 0.3 0.5 23.6 50.1 25.5 4.00
f I 2 91 193 98
The elements in this park attract my attention effortlessly % 0.0 1.8 23.6 50.1 24.4 3.97
f 0 7 91 193 94
The elements in this park make me want to explore this place better % 0.0 2.3 22.3 50.6 24.7 3.98
f 0 9 86 195 95

Table 6: Element of attention restoration theory: being away.

Being Away
Description   Strongly Disagree Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly agree Mean
The park environment makes me feel I am in a different environment than usual % 0.0 0.8 13.8 51.4 34.0 4.19
f 0 3 53 198 131
The park environment makes my mind free from work and daily routine % 0.0 0.8 15.1 48.1 36.1 4.19
f 0 3 58 185 139
This park engages me in activities that differ from my daily activities % 0.0 0.8 18.7 48.3 32.2 4.12
f 0 3 72 186 124

Table 7: Element of Attention Restoration Theory: Compatibility.

Compatibility
Description   Strongly Disagree Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly Agree Mean
Facilities at this park allow me to do things that I prefer % 0.0 1.3 16.4 50.4 31.9 4.13
f 0 5 63 194 123
The park environment allows me to find ways to enjoy myself here % 0.3 0.5 20.3 51.7 27.3 4.05
f I 2 78 199 105
The atmosphere and facilities at this park fit my demand % 0.0 1.3 24.7 47.5 26.5 3.99
f 0 5 95 183 102

Table 8: Element of Attention Restoration Theory: Extent.

Extent
Description   Strongly Disagree Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly Agree Mean
!can sec all parts of this park without any visual interference % 0.0 1.6 24.4 49.6. 24.4 3.97
f 0 6 94 191 94
The view of the park makes me feel calm % 0.0 0.3 16.6 47.5. 35.6. 4. I8
f 0 1 64 183 137
The park's location in the of is middle the city very suitable % 0.5 2.3 21.3 4.6 32.2 4.05
f 2 9 82 168 124

The highest mean from Table 5 on the element ‘Fascination’ from ART is M=(4.00); ‘There are many interesting elements to see in this park’. The clouds, sunsets, and the motion of leaves in a breeze are the examples that make people fascinate effortlessly [28]. Besides, the beauty of vegetation and even water fountain can also be one of the fascination elements. However, there is a slight difference between the highest mean and the lowest mean which is M=(3.97); ‘The elements in this park attract my attention effortlessly’. A study by Lu and Dosher stated that external noise such as the sound of moving cars or construction work can distinguishes attention mechanism [57]. Since Laman Standard Chartered is located near a busy road and nearby on-going construction work, it is possible for the visitors to be affected by the disturbing external sound (Table 6).

There are two variables that have the same mean value, M=(4.19) in Table 6. The variables are ‘The park environment makes me feel I am in a different environment than usual’ and ‘The park environment makes my mind free from work and daily routine’. For the first variable, respondents feel like they are in a different environment than usual. Studies found that natural environments is proven more restorative than built environments [36]. City dwellers are usually involve themselves in built area which is full of buildings and less of green area. Thus, when they are visiting this pocket park, which is also called as mini forest in the middle of the city. Next highest variable is ‘The park environment makes my mind free from work and daily routine’. The statement can be supported by the activities they have done during their stay at the pocket park. As an example, during this data collection, there were many restaurant workers taking a break and playing with their phone while casually having conversation with their colleagues. This proved that the pocket park is able to help them escape from daily routine and restore their attention system (Table 7) [58,59].

For this study and it is the result from variable ‘Facilities at this park allow me to do things that I prefer’. Since most of the respondents did not participate in any active recreational activity, most of them is satisfied with the facilities provided. Even though there are limited number of benches provided, they are still satisfied because they can still sit on the stairs or on the lamp cage while smoking, playing video games or talking to their friends. The lowest is ‘The atmosphere and facilities at this park fit my demand’ with M=(3.99). Some of the respondents complained that the park has no proper sitting area or picnic tables. Not only that, the existing benches is also polluted with rubbish caused by other visitors and the unhygienic atmosphere effects their satisfaction towards the park (Table 8).

The highest mean from Table 8 presents on extent elements from the ART is M=(4.18); The view of the park makes me feel calm. Since all elements in Attention Restoration Theory is closely related to each other, it can be proven that extent can also be affected by Fascination. When a person is fascinated by an attraction at the pocket park, they will be able to use soft fascination to restore their direct attention. This process will make people feel calm as they are able to rest their mind for a moment [28]. The lowest is M=(3.97); I can see all parts of this park without any visual interference. Laman Standard Chartered is a crowded place because it is located near to Suria KLCC and it is connected to other area, so people walk through the park to get to other destination. Some respondents are not comfortable with this situation as it might disturb their restorative process.

Laman Standard Chartered is proven to fit the elements of restorative environment which has been determined by Attention Restoration Theory (ART). The respondents have been enquired about each of the element which consist of Fascination, Being Away, Compatibility and Extent. Most of the respondents agreed that Laman Standard Chartered offers restorative environment for them to recuperate in. The data is also supported by the researcher’s observation. Most of the respondents choose to go to Laman Standard Chartered pocket park instead of KLCC Park which is located near to it. Most of them are either taking a break from work and doing passive recreational activities. It has proven that people need a calm environment to restore their mind [60]. KLCC Park is a crowded urban park has interesting environment as it is located right in front of the KLCC tower and has better landscape when compared to Laman Standard Chartered. However, people tend to choose a calm environment for restorative process.

As for elements of restorative environment at Laman Standard Chartered, the pocket park fulfil each of the Attention Restoration Theory characteristics. The most significant element at Laman Standard Chartered is ‘Being Away’ as it has the highest mean for all statement compared to others variables evaluated. However, ‘Fascination’ has the lowest mean for overall statement which indicates that Laman Standard Chartered is lack of attractive elements to achieve this component from Attention Restoration Theory. Consequently, pocket parks have great potentials which is hope will draw more consideration by many towards embracing them in cultivating the city open space at the same growing a restored vigorous, eminence life of its dwellers [61-64].

Conclusion

In a conclusion, the whole study is about visitors’ awareness on the importance of pocket park and the elements of restorative environment offered by Pocket Park at Laman Standard Chartered, Kuala Lumpur. Based on the analysed result, study found that the visitors are essentially aware pocket park can bring benefits to them nevertheless they are external factors that prevent them to visit pocket park and engage in recreational activity. Overall, both objectives are achieved since this controlled field experiment demonstrates that most of the visitors are aware of the importance of pocket park and they agreed that pocket park is an environment for restorative process. Researcher also can define that Laman Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur is significant for both mental and physical health among the visitors. As proved from previous studies, being negligent on the importance of urban green space towards themselves, Malaysians will exposed to the risk of declining mental health which will lead to other illnesses. Meanwhile, study reported that people with high access to natural settings are found healthier than individuals who are detached from nature. Conversely, with the existence of pocket park can ensure public health, mentally and physically since it has been long recognised as major contributors to the physical and aesthetic quality of urban neighbourhood. In reality, few studies has proven that pocket park is important in ensuring public health; mentally and physically. As such they potentially have other important roles such as fostering social capital and strengthening social ties. Additionally, pocket parks may encourage and reassure visitors from all categories when perceived as attractive and safe destinations for gathering places and serve as settings for social interactions. Yet, additional strategies, programs and adding more special features that can make the park very aesthetically pleasing or have novel element may be needed to boost more visitors to use the parks in the future.

References

Author Info

Nur Idzhainee Hashim*, Yusof NHS, Ahmad Nazrin Aris Anuar and Firdaus Check Sulaiman
 
Faculty of Architecture, Planning and Surveying, Centre of Studies for Park and Amenity Management, Universiti Teknologi MARA, 40450 Shah Alam, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia
 

Citation: Hashim NI, Yusof NHS, Anuar ANA, Sulaiman FC (2019) The Restorative Environment Offered by Pocket Park at Laman Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur. J Hotel Bus Manage 8: 194. doi: 10.35248/2169-0286.19.8.194

Received Date: Nov 06, 2018 / Accepted Date: Feb 27, 2019 / Published Date: Mar 06, 2019

Copyright: © 2019 Hashim NI, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Top