Koschinsky and her team wanted to better understand what motivates people to lace on their sneakers and go for a walk. Their work focused on data collected with two different instruments, “Walk Score” and the “State of Place Index”: “Walk Score is used to measure walkable access while the State of Place Index is applied to synthesize the qualitative urban form dimensions” that have been linked to walking among people in an area. These include trees, crosswalks, and benches being present, for example. Using data from 115 walkable neighborhoods in Washington DC’s metropolitan area the team
Research Design Connections
Miller and Krizan studied the emotional consequences of the walking that we do as we live our daily lives. They learned that “walking incidental to routine activity (heretofore referred to as "incidental ambulation")-not specifically "exercise"-is a robust facilitator [enabler] of positive affect [mood]. . . . ambulation [walking] facilitates positive affect even when participants are blind to” its ability to do so.
Dietze and Knowles investigated how attention to others varies by social class. Their findings can inform design decisions and also help explain puzzling design research outcomes, as well as discrepancies between executive and lower level employee perceptions of distractions in workspaces, for example. Dietze and Knowles learned that “people’s [perception of their own] social class affects their appraisals of others’ motivational relevance—the degree to which others are seen as potentially rewarding, threatening, or otherwise worth attending to. . . .
Now there are even more reasons to make sure people exercising can listen to music. Stork and Ginis “investigated the impact of listening to music during exercise on perceived enjoyment, attitudes and intentions towards sprint interval training (SIT). Twenty men . . . and women . . . unfamiliar with SIT exercise completed two acute sessions of SIT, one with and one without music. . . . Attitudes towards SIT were significantly more positive following the music than no music condition. . . .
A new tool supports the development of design solutions that are good for both people and the planet. Portico is “an online tool used for the selection and specification of healthy products and materials for the built environment. The web service integrates healthy materials evaluation and project management-related functionalities with an extensive product database. Owned by Healthy Building Network, Portico was created in partnership with Google Real Estate and Workplace Services (REWS) team.
A study lead by Rioux in France provides additional insights into how urban design can influence walking. The researchers compared “walking patterns in two neighborhoods with different numbers of parks; parks did not differ in rated attractiveness nor did neighborhoods differ substantially in rated walkability.” Data were collected from people 32 to 86 years old. When these individuals “drew their 3 most recent walking routes on maps of their neighborhood.
Research by Dobricki and Pauli confirms that the experience of walking through a space, literally, affects emotional response to it. As the team details “we asked healthy humans to explore a life-sized Virtual Reality simulation of a forest glade by physically walking around in this environment on two narrow rectangular platforms connected by a plank.” Some participants felt that they were walking on a rigid surface, but for others the ground underfoot seemed “bouncy.” When the virtual environment projections gave the impression that people in the study were high off the ground and walkin
An article published in PLoS ONE indicates that medieval and modern cities are more similar than you might think. Cesaretti, Lobo, Bettencourt, Ortman, and Smith have found that “a new look at medieval cities’ population sizes and distributions suggest that some urban characteristics have remained remarkably consistent. . . .in both medieval and modern European cities, larger settlements have predictably higher population densities than smaller cities. . . .
Poon and his teammates have determined that nature images can be used to combat aggression; their findings can be applied in a range of spaces where aggressive activities might be anticipated. As they report “Prior studies have consistently shown that ostracism promotes aggression. The present research investigated the role of nature in reducing aggressive responses following ostracism. Three studies provided . . . support to the prediction that nature exposure can weaken the relationship between ostracism and aggression.