New research provides further support for including gardens in urban plans. Researchers from Utah found that “People who participate in community gardening have a significantly lower body mass index—as well as lower odds of being overweight or obese—than do their non-gardening neighbors . . . . ‘It has been shown previously that community gardens can provide a variety of social and nutritional benefits to neighborhoods,’ says Cathleen Zick, lead author of the study and professor of family and consumer studies at the University of Utah.
Steven Farber and others from the University of Utah investigated how city design influences socializing. Using data from the 42 largest cities in the United States they found that “Long commute times and urban areas that leapfrog over open space make it harder for people to socialize, but cities that are decentralized are even worse . . . ‘We found that decentralization has 10 times the negative impact of fragmentation, and 20 times that of longer commute times,’ says Steven Farber, assistant professor of geography at the university.
Rousi’s research with people riding in elevators confirms the psychological value humans place on controlling their own experiences. She interviewed people using elevators and found that “statistical analysis of . . . quantitative data showed a positive correlation between perceived safety and security, and the interior control panel design.
De Bruijne and Wijnant investigated differences in data collected from people answering questions on a survey using mobile devices and from people using computers to answer the same questions. Designers regularly gather information from users with both tools. The researchers report that “With the growing popularity of smartphones and tablet PCs (tablets) equipped with mobile browsers, the possibilities to administer surveys via mobile devices have expanded.
Research presented at the annual conference of the British Psychological Society identifies a major issue people should consider when deciding whether to negotiate in person or virtually. Designers can not only use this information to determine “where” they will meet themselves, but also when programming offices for clients. Michael Taylor and his research associates learned that “If you are negotiating with someone who has more power than you it is a good idea to avoid face-to-face meetings.” After comparing the performance of people negotiating face-to-
Research presented at the 2013 meeting of the British Psychological Society is consistent with previous studies of the psychological implications of smelling this scent (https://researchdesignconnections.com/pub/rosemary-enhances-ability-remember-remember-6-26-07). This year, McCready and Moss reported that smelling rose
Berkovich and his colleagues studied the behavior of people riding trains in a subway system and their findings should inform the work of people designing transportation and public spaces. The team learned that “customers have a clear preference for seats adjacent to doors, no real preference for seats adjacent to support stanchions, and disdain for bench spots between two other seats . . .
Research reported at the meeting of the American Chemical Society provides further evidence that our sensory apparatus may not always operate in the obvious ways. Schieberle and his research team found that “heart, blood, lung and other cells in the body have the same receptors for sensing odors that exist in the nose . . . . ‘Our team recently discovered that blood cells — not only cells in the nose — have odorant receptors,’ said Schieberle.
Karna and team investigated student and faculty satisfaction with university campuses. They learned that when students and faculty participating in their study assessed university facilities “the staff and students primarily appreciated the facilities’ overall appearance and cleanliness. In addition, campus security and cleanliness of the outdoor areas showed relation to the overall satisfaction, and also the quality of the indoor air was a significant factor.”
Ma-Kellams and Blascovitch learned that thinking about science influences our later thoughts and behaviors.