Kemp and Williams analyzed business meetings in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). What they learned is useful to people developing work environments in the UAE and neighboring countries with similar business behavior. Kemp and Williams found that “the Gulf Arab region offers an eclectic mix of different cross-cultural interactions, when business meetings are being conducted. Using . . . data about [scheduled] meetings held in three large organizations, each with a diverse cross-cultural workforce . . .
Rodgers investigates the relationship between newsroom design and news reported through a case study of the Toronto Star workspace. His project is important because the link between the physical environment and the reporting of news is infrequently researched and reported news can have a significant influence on future events. Much of Rodgers’ text will sound familiar to people who have investigated other work environments: “The city desk is composed of circulations, proximities, and connections.
The Society of College and University Planning (SCUP) awarded its Chapman Prize to Susan Painter, Janice Fournier, Caryn Grape, Phyllis Grummon, Jill Morelli, Susan Whitmer, and Joseph Cevetello, and they used the prize money to research how libraries (and library design) can best serve current and potential users. SCUP quotes from their soon to be released monograph, “Research on Learning Space Design: Present State, Future Direc
Ziv and Doley studied ways to reduce playground bullying among 6th graders. They found that when calming, new age type music was played on playgrounds, children were bullied less by other children: “Results showed significantly reduced bullying occurrence, lower arousal levels, and higher enjoyment of recess when music was played. Bullying occurrence increased on the third week [when music was no longer played], though it remained lower than on the first week [when no music was played; music was only played during week 2].
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.
Devlin and her research team begin by observing that “Multicultural sensitivity is important in clinical practice, yet we know little about how the physical environment projects this quality.” The researchers learned that “a therapist whose office included art and artifacts from a variety of cultures (e.g., through textiles, sculptures) was judged to be more open to multiculturalism than was the therapist whose office displayed objects from a tradition that could be categorized as more western.
In a 2012 presentation at Light Canada/IIDEX 2012, Jennifer Veitch of the National Research Council Canada effectively summarized the findings of office lighting research carried out by her, her colleagues, and other researchers. As Veitch reports, “Laboratory research at NRC and elsewhere demonstrated that people prefer a mixture of direct and indirect lighting that lights the entire workspace and individual personal control over the local lighting level.
New research suggests that people developing spaces that will be used by autistic people, for example, as classrooms, should insure that those areas are pet friendly. This might mean that there are places nearby for animals to stretch their legs or that the design supports small animals and their cages, perhaps through in-room water faucets.
Steidle and colleagues discussed the influences of light and temperature on social behavior at ExperiencingLight 2012, a prestigious international conference. Participants in the study they presented worked for an hour and a half in one of four different conditions, experienced light levels that were either 150 or 1500 lux and room temperature of either 20 degrees or 26 decrees centigrade (68 degrees or 79 degrees Fahrenheit). The researchers found that “Participants in the dim room reported less fear for rejection than participants in the brightly lit room .