Research Design Connections

Vacant Lots and Crime (04-25-17)

A study published in Applied Geography links well-kept vacant lots and lower crime levels.  Researchers found that “Maintaining the yards of vacant properties helps reduce crime rates in urban neighborhoods.”  Data were collected over 9 years in Flint, Michigan:   “’We’ve always had a sense that maintaining these properties helps reduce crime and the perception of crime,’ said Christina Kelly, the land bank’s [Genesee County Land Bank Authority] planning and neighborhood revitalization director.

Millennials and Workplaces (04-24-17)

Millennial leaders’ responses to workplaces were investigated via a recent study.  A podcast sponsored by Wharton featured Ron Williams and Rebecca Ray; Williams and Ray, who are both executives with The Conference Board, discussed research that group did with Millennial leaders.  The introduction to the transcript of part of that podcast reports that investigators determined that these Millennials “are more like the older generation than originally thought, and the current differences are mainly due to the life stage that they are in.”  Ray states that “Millennial leaders don’t necessarily

Walkability and Foreclosures (04-21-17)

Won, Lee, and Li studied links between walkability and foreclosure spillover effects (such as property prices declining near foreclosures).  They determined that “property values in walkable neighborhoods were less subject to foreclosure spillover, but this was only significant for middle/high-income neighborhoods. Walkable neighborhoods were shown to offer more advantages in maintaining neighborhood stability during the recovery of 2013 than in the market crash of 2010.

More Information on the Energizing Effects of Blue Light (04-20-17)

A team lead by Heo has found more evidence that seeing blue light, particularly at night, is energizing.  The researchers “investigated the immediate effects of smartphone blue light LED on humans at night. . . . Each subject played smartphone games with either conventional LED or suppressed blue light from 7:30 to 10:00PM (150 min). Then, they were readmitted and conducted the same procedure with the other type of smartphone. . . . use of blue light smartphones was associated with significantly decreased sleepiness . . . and confusion-bewilderment . . . and increased commission error.”

Bin Placement Affects Recycling and Composting Behavior (04-19-17)

DiGiacomo lead a study that assessed how the location of recycling and composting bins influences their use.  Details: “[the researchers] placed bins in three different locations: a garbage disposal area (the least convenient option), at the base of an elevator in a building (a more convenient option), and by elevator doors on each floor (the most convenient option). The experiments were carried out at three multi-family apartment buildings in Vancouver’s west side neighbourhood and in two student residence buildings at UBC. . . .

Healthy to the Left (04-18-17)

Romero and Biswas learned that to encourage consumption, healthier options should be placed to the left of unhealthier ones.  Their work determined that “displaying healthy items to the left (vs. right) of unhealthy items enhances preference for the healthy options. In addition, consumption volume of a healthy item (vis-à-vis an unhealthy item) is higher when it is placed to the left (vs. right) of the unhealthy item. We propose that a ‘healthy-left, unhealthy-right’ (vs.

Communicating by Smell (04-17-17)

De Groot, Semin, and Smeets provide additional information about how scents influence how we interact with each other.  Since current, generally available, technologies do not support human communication via smells, face-to-face meetings will remain important for the foreseeable future.  As de Groot and his team report “Humans use multiple senses to navigate the social world, and the sense of smell is arguably the most underestimated one.  An intriguing aspect of the sense of smell is its social communicative function.  Research has shown that human odors convey information about a range of

Thermal Comfort Tool from the CBE (04-13-17)

At the web address below, the Center for the Built Environment at Berkeley shares a free tool for evaluating thermal comfort.

As the web page introducing the tool states, the CBE’s objectives were, in part, to “Develop a web-based graphical user interface for thermal comfort prediction according to ASHRAE Standard 55. Include models for conventional building systems (predicted mean vote) and also for comfort using the adaptive comfort model, and with increased air speeds (for example, when using fans for cooling).”

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Research Conversations

RestroomSign

Public bathrooms can be designed so that they make the lives of users a little—or a lot—better.  Social science research details ways design can provide welcoming, comfortable experiences to everyone visiting a restroom.
 

MITLobby

Research on educational spaces, at both the pre K-12 and college/university levels, continues to generate fresh, important insights .  This new wisdom supports design options that make learning a more pleasant and productive experience. 
 

BeeInTheCatmint

Actively managing how a place or object smells is becoming increasingly accepted and strategically important.  Scientific studies detail how to create scent-scapes that drive design solutions to successfully meet objectives.
 

What scientists have learned about our experiences in vehicles should not only be applied when new transporting spaces are designed, but also as more stationary places are being developed.

PlaceCoach News Briefs

BeachWalk

Another reason to build in opportunities to walk, indoors and outside
 

SwedishFarmersMarket

Consistency matters, a lot

Green boosts workers' professional experiences

Use islands not aisles

Consider task difficulty

Motivating workers via workplace design

A guide to getting people where they want to be

Vegetation cover and mental health are related

Design at Work

TheGlasshouse

A space that makes happy memories more likely.