Several studies have demonstrated how the presence of natural elements, such as in green (e.g. gardens, trees, urban parks) and in blue (e.g. seafront, lakes, fountains) spaces, can have positive physical, psychological and social effects on human health, well-being and quality of life. In urban contexts, the urban parks aim to be places where part of these benefits can be reached. However, they have to face the complexity of the urban environment and the environmental hazards to which they are exposed. The noise due to the road traffic represents one of the most important negative factor for these places. Considering the limits of the implementation of traditional solutions (e.g. Access Restriction Scheme, noise walls) for several reasons (e.g. mobility, social, cultural and architectural), alternatives noise mitigation strategies should be adopted. Some authors have showed how with the use of water features it is possible to improve the perceived sound quality of urban parks by means the Informational Masking of road traffic noise. Others have showed the positive effects of seeing aquatic features. Besides the installation of fountains and small artificial waterfalls, rivers and basins, the water features can be also simulated by means of audio-visual installations, which recall the visual effects of water and which sound as the real one. In this paper are presented the results of a laboratory test where simulated (audio-visual installations) and real water features were compared in terms of their effects on the restorativeness in an urban green park. The Perceived Restorativeness Scale (PRS) was administered to a sample of participants while they were experiencing Immersive Virtual Reality scenarios with real and simulated water features. The main results showed that water features simulated with audio-visual installations have significant positive effects on some components of the restorativeness.
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