Research Design Connections

Urban Mental Health (05-03-17)

McCay reports on ways that urban design can support mental health.  As she details “There are four key areas of opportunity for urban planners and designers. . . . . Accessibility to green places in the course of people’s daily routines. . . . activity is one of the most important design opportunities for mental health [so providing opportunities to be active are recommended]. . . . Mental health is closely associated with strong social connections and social capital. . . .

Children Street Crossing: Beware (05-02-17)

A press release from the University of Iowa indicates it is important to provide street crossing aids, such as lights that signal pedestrians when it is safe to cross, at locations where children under 14 are likely to need to move from one side of a street to the other.  Researchers determined that “children under certain ages lack the perceptual judgment and motor skills to cross a busy road consistently without putting themselves in danger.”  In a realistic simulated environment “Children up to their early teenage years had difficulty consistently crossing the street safely, with acciden

Being in Nature and Life Satisfaction (05-01-17)

Biedenweg, Scott, and Scott’s research indicates how important it is for everyone to have regular access to nature, whether they live in a city or not.  The team determined after analyzing the responses of thousands of people to survey questions that  “Psychological benefits from time spent in the outdoors, Outdoor recreational activities, Environmentally related social and cultural events, and Sense of place had significant, positive relationships to life satisfaction. . . .

Pet Bathroom, San Antonio Airport

Pets are spending more time with their owners away from home, and an expanding number of spaces need to accommodate their special needs.  Designing places where pets, and their caregivers, can live happy lives is discussed in depth in this article.  

Federal law in the United States mandates that airports have “pet relief areas” for service animals.  The post security pet bathrooms at the San Antonio airport are outstanding.


Research Conversations


The way that physical stores  are designed continues to have a significant influence on the success of organizations selling objects and services.  Shoppers' sensory, social, cultural and other experiences can be fine-tuned using research-based insights to achieve sales goals.



Humans thrive when they feel they have a comfortable amount of control over their physical world, and design can make sure that they do.


Tuning light’s color and intensity to the right values, using insights from cognitive neuroscience, boosts viewers’ welfare and performance.  What’s “right” varies by context and situation; no lighting color-intensity combo is always best.

Coordinating in-use scents with other design elements makes it more likely that design-related goals are achieved.  Research has shown that particular smells can calm us, make it more likely we’ll think creatively, and help us get along with others, for instance.

PlaceCoach News Briefs


Harmony influences satisfaction


Warmer light tied to better moods

Task lighting and concentration linked

Organizations can reach goals via aesthetics

Being attached affects lives lived

Another reason to manage light color and intensity

Smell orange, feel less stress

Book Reviews


An important resource for anyone trying to develop spaces where people live better futures

For practicing designers who want to create places that support human wellbeing, at any scale

Design at Work


Pets traveling through the San Antonio airport, and their owners, are no doubt thrilled by its pet relief areas.