Stress and the city
In 2016, BBC ran a large research project on rest where they surveyed people from 120 countries. When the scientists looked at the data, the top 20 ways people said they liked to rest involved either being away from other people (yes, even extraverts said that!) or away from built environments.
Environmental psychologists are confirming what we intuitively know already. Looking at nature is more soothing than looking at cityscapes. Walking in the forest can relieve stress better than walking through a city center. Noise definitely plays a part, but another hypothesis is that it is something about the complex shapes you see in the nature (think plants vs skyscrapers).
And if it's about shapes, I wonder whether architectural style has any role to play in all that. A lot of the studies comparing cities to nature are done in the United States, however American city layouts and architecture are different from European. The latter is more complex and rich in details.
St. Petersburg is a megapolis. Its population equals the population of the entire country of Denmark and it can feel as hectic and noisy as big cities get. But to me personally, these images below are definitely soothing. Every time I am there, I feel like I've fallen back into place. Perhaps, it is just the familiarity effect. The images you see every day growing up become a part of you that you simply can't erase.