Within the past century, human began to dominate their ecosystems in an unprecedented manner through urbanization (Vitousek et al., 1997; Curran et al., 2002; Wei et al., 2015). Such domination not only exerts heavy pressure on the remaining natural resources (Atmis et al., 2007), but also changes the relationships between human and the natural world (Miller, 1997; Miller, 2005; Maller et al., 2005; Nisbit and Zelenski, 2011; The Royal Society, 2012). The most typical example is the remnant natural forests within a rapidly growing region. Following the urban outgrowth into the surrounding rural landscapes, forests which were once in large scale, located in remote, and possessed pristine biodiversity, have now been fragmented, degraded, and become part of the urban infrastructure that sharing the same border with the residential and commercial areas. Instead of being valued for their FLAG tag Peptide importance, these remnants are getting more appreciated in terms of their existence to counter-balance the low quality urban environment (high volume of traffic, air pollution, excess of built-up areas, etc.). Due to the gradual increase of environmental awareness among mass population, as well as the realization of the adverse impacts of the human technology to the living system, people\’s expectations to the natural environment have been shifted to a greater desire that starting to complement their lifestyle with elements of nature (Foo and Kidokoro, 2011; Farahwaheeda et al., 2009). As such, small natures within the urban settings are somehow as important as big reserves in the sense that reconnecting people to the nature (Shafer, 1995; Pyle, 2003; Turner et al., 2004; Nisbit and Zelenski, 2011; Groenewegen et al., 2012; Beil and Hanes, 2013).
The importance of experiencing nature, particularly among urban dwellers, has always been the topic of study under the medical, psychological, and recreation discipline. An easily accessible neighborhood nature offers urban dwellers a comfortable outdoor setting for public leisure, physical activities, social interaction, and spiritual inspiration. The experience with nature not only can improve cardiovascular and immune function, reducing physical responses to stress, promoting relaxation, and reducing the negative impact of illness through conducting physical exercises (Maller et al., 2002; de Vries et al., 2011; Groenewegen et al., 2012), but also can strengthen interpersonal bonds and foster other beneficial social factors (civic participation, trust, social relationship, etc.) through facilitating various levels of physical activity (Baur and Tynon, 2010; Hartig et al., 2011). All these benefits are delivered by simply providing common greenery that encourages outdoor recreation and face to face social contact. Besides, time spent in nature can change one\’s feeling, such as reducing anxiety, evoking positive feelings (freedom, unity with nature, happiness, etc.), and offering emotional experiences through the provision of a place for relaxation and escaping from the stressful rhythm of the city (Chiesura, 2004; Groenewegen et al., 2012; Bratman et al., 2015). Such restorative benefits may seem minor, but should not be underestimated as its function on mental refreshment is of crucial to the modern cities’ livability.
While natural experiences have been proven to be efficient in fulfilling many physical, mental, and social functions, different degree of naturalness may affect people\’s experiential connection to the nature, and eventually leading to the different ways the nature contributes to these functions. It is because natural environment is not a homogenous category. Some natures do outperform others by having a number of physical attributes associated with varying affective experiences, such as liking, attractiveness and preference (Kaplan and Herbert, 1987; Balling and Falk, 1982; Zheng et al., 2011). As such, the conceptions of naturalness are not dichotomous, which only differentiate between natural and unnatural environments (Wohlwill, 1983). Instead, Nuclear lamina can be assessed on a scale or hierarchy, such as ‘totally natural’, ‘civilized nature’, ‘semi-natural’ or ‘non-natural’ (Mausner, 1996). Thus, it is expected that the degree of naturalness to vary along with the nature\’s ecological and botanical dimensions, as well the type and intensity of development where specific human artifacts are involved (Purcell and Lamb, 1998; Grahn and Stigsdotter, 2003).