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 . . .
Congdon and Gall present Steelcase’s recent research linking culture and design, which builds on the work of others, such as Geert Hofstede, in useful graphics at the web address noted in the citation, below. They describe their project succinctly: “Researchers at Steelcase, the office furniture company, have identified six dimensions of workplace culture that shape an office’s social dynamics . . . .
Pro-environmental behavior doesn’t always feel good; and this can complicate designers’ efforts to promote green behavior. Venhoeven and her team asked “why would acting pro-environmentally decrease one’s well-being, and why would it increase one’s well-being?” They “conclude that part of the answer lies in a different view on what well-being entails, and more specifically, whether the focus is on hedonic well-being (i.e., feeling pleasure) or eudaim
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have found more reasons to flood interior spaces with sunlight and create outdoor spaces where people can absorb sunshine. (For additional information on daylighting, see, for example, https://researchdesignconnections.com/pub/what-makes-home-office-good-wo....) The team in Edinburgh report that “Exposing skin to sunlight may help to reduce blood pressure, cut the risk of heart attack and stroke – and even prolong life . . .
Researchers at Rensselaer’s Lighting Research Center have found that exposing people to reddish light during the “post-lunch dip” can be advantageous. The “dip” is generally from 2 to 4 in the afternoon or 16-18 hours after bedtime the previous night. Mariana Figueiro and Levent Sahin conducted a study whose “results suggest that red light positively affects measures of alertness not only at night, but also during the day . . .
Burgh-Woodman and King investigated concern for the environment. They learned that “our concern for the environment is driven by an existing, historically embedded sense of human/nature connection rather than a concern for future decimation as typically thought.” Designers can apply this information when presenting alternatives to clients.
Research at Johns Hopkins Medical School indicates that our brains come complete with global positioning systems (GPS); these findings make it clearer why Alzheimer’s disease and age-related cognitive decline make it hard for some people to find their way through designed environments. The Johns Hopkins team “found that as a rat travels randomly through the box without knowing where it needs to go, different combinations of place cells fire at each location along its path. The same set of cells fires every time the rat travels the same spot.
Research continues to pour in indicating that green spaces in urban environments are a good idea. White, Alcock, Wheeler, and Depledge found that “People who live in urban areas with more green space tend to report greater well-being than city dwellers who don’t have parks, gardens, or other green space nearby. . . . Examining data from a national longitudinal survey of households in the United Kingdom, . . .
Researchers at University of California Berkeley learned that when we’re searching for something, parts of our brains can be used in unexpected ways. They found that when “we embark on a targeted search, various visual and non-visual regions of the brain mobilize to track down a person, animal or thing. That means that if we’re looking for a youngster lost in a crowd, the brain areas usually dedicated to recognizing other objects such as animals, or even the areas governing abstract thought, shift their focus and join the search party.
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.