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Cover Story

Health and transportation experts continue to tout the benefits of walking for exercise and for neighborhood errands. One recent review examines eighteen separate studies on walking to determine common factors in the environment that might help or hinder walking, while another lays out guidelines to help quantify what makes a street or walkway comfortable for pedestrians—laying the groundwork for an assessment tool.

Featured Stories

The passage of an ANSI standard for classroom acoustics makes setting school acoustic standards easier, but who is listening? If the intention is to modify classrooms, what factors should be considered?

Although hospitals have long been thought of as places to cure disease, new ideas about what hospitals should be and how they should function are creating new challenges for hospital designers and caregivers.

Museums, and particularly science museums, are continuing to investigate the ways in which places themselves, rather than individuals, facilitate learning. Many of the museum findings are applicable wherever informal learning takes place—schools, playgrounds and children’s gardens, training centers, and potentially even dementia care facilities.

Expert's Corner

Canada’s National Research Council (NRC) has developed two free software tools to help designers, managers, and planners configure open-plan office environments.

Published in Issue 4 2009.

The ways in which music and nature impact patients can be caught in the conflict between technological and natural therapeutic interventions.

Published in Issue 1 2010.

In this article, we will look at the impact of the “characterless walls,” as they define the patient space and how nature elements mitigate some of the generic, impersonal features common to institutional care.

Published in Issue 2, 2011

Designers and planners increasingly work on complicated, multi-stakeholder projects. Behavioral economics, a sub-discipline of economics that focuses on how people actually behave (as opposed to the prevailing “rational actor” economic theories that propose how people should behave), provides insights and approaches to help designers and planners better understand stakeholders’ perspectives and achieve successful outcomes.

Published in Issue 3, 2011.

This second part of a two-part article covers behavioral economics and neuroeconomics concepts that can assist designers and planners with stakeholder selection of optimal alternatives, stakeholder acceptance of mitigation measures, understanding large scale proposals, and improving long term decision making.

Editor's Commentary

In this issue we cover an atypical venue—museums—with special attention to science museums. As always, we review important research covering both outdoor and interior places—in this case, from studies on how to promote walking in neighborhoods to color preferences.

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PlaceCoach News Alerts

In a study of forest settings without paths, researchers have shown that if a location has either visual access or legibility, it will be preferred.

Recent color research has investigated relationships between the emotions and preference.

Elementary school teachers assess the teaching and learning activities promoted by five different classroom shapes (shallow rectangle, deep rectangle, T-shaped, fat-L-shaped and cross-shaped) in this research report.

Men and women perceive the color red in different ways.

Individuals talking on cell phones are not as aware of information being presented in the area they are passing through as individuals who are not talking on cell phones.

Grass and trees in outdoor spaces were shown to increase  the use and social activity in outdoor places.

Of Interest

The Rudy Bruner Award searches for urban places that embody excellence, and celebrates their contribution to the richness and diversity of urban experience.

Book Reviews

Sarah Susanka describes the basic architectural principles that create a homelike setting.