design science

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).”

Workplace Preferences (04-12-17)

Chadburn, Smith, and Milan studied the reactions of knowledge-workers in London to various workplace options.  They found that this group responded positively to “a flexible range of office settings that enable both a stimulating open and connected work environment, knowledge sharing, collaboration, as well as, quiet concentration locations, free of distractions and noise. . . . hot-desking was unanimously disliked by knowledge workers.”

Implications of Urban Green Spaces (04-11-17)

Researchers from the Universities of York and Edinburgh studied responses to busy and green urban spaces.  They determined that among the people over 65 who participated in their study “Walking between busy urban environments and green spaces triggers changes in levels of excitement, engagement and frustration in the brain. . . . volunteers. . . wore a mobile EEG head-set which recorded their brain activity when walking between busy and green urban spaces.  The research team also ran a video of the routes the people walked, asking the participants to describe ‘snapshots’ of how they felt.

Neighborhood Noise and BMI (04-10-17)

Researchers studied ties between neighborhood noise levels and body mass index.  Their study “links the sounds of all-night car horn blasts and shouting by bar revelers in New York City’s noisiest neighborhoods to unexplained improvements in body weight and blood pressure for the urban poor living there. ‘To be clear, we’re not saying that neighborhood noise causes better health, and a lot of further research is needed to explain the relationship we found between this kind of disturbance and health,’ says senior study investigator and NYU Langone epidemiologist Dustin Duncan, ScD.

Homes and Wellbeing: Older Adults (04-07-17)

Kylen and her colleagues investigated how living situations influenced the wellbeing of people aged 67-70.  They found that “depression was less common among participants who reported . . . bonding to the home, and among those who felt that they had control over their housing situation. . . . external housing-related control beliefs were associated with psychological well-being.”  So, generally, housing-related control was linked to greater psychological wellbeing and lower likelihood of depression.  Data were collected in southern Sweden.

Aesthetics and Use (04-06-17)

Research by Wu and his team identified new links between aesthetics and use.  They determined that “While prior research suggests enhanced aesthetics should have a uniformly positive influence on pre-usage evaluations and choice, the present research examines the downstream effects of nondurable product aesthetics on consumption behavior and post-consumption affect [mood]. . . .

Visibility and Green Behavior (04-05-17)

Brick, Sherman and Kim studied when people were more or less likely to behave in pro-environmental ways.  They determined that “When an environmentalist considers a pro-environmental behavior such as carrying reusable grocery bags, being observed by others . . .  may increase behavior (‘green to be seen’). When an anti-environmentalist considers a pro-environmental behavior . . . being observed may lead to less behavior (‘brown to keep down’). . . . antienvironmentalists do behave in ways that help the environment, especially in private. . . .

Position and Value (04-04-17)

Zohar-Shai and Tzelgov confirmed that our mental number line (MNL) runs from left to right with smaller values to the left.  They share that “Several studies . . . have reported [findings indicating] that. . .  the ‘mental number line’ extends from left to right. The . . .  effect has been found mainly in native speakers of Germanic/Romanic languages; it has been suggested that the . . . effect may derive from the experience of reading from left to right. . . . we provide the first demonstration of a horizontal, left-to-right . . . effect in native speakers of Hebrew. . . .

Designing the Sensation of Nature (04-03-17)

Ebbensgaard reports on landscape design that engineers sensory experiences.  He states that “Post-industrial wastelands have been given increased attention by landscape architects since the late 1990s. Through their redesign, landscape architects argue that the sensory qualities of wild nature benefit people’s health and well-being and improve the urban ecosystem. . . . such landscape designs mark a shift from designing nature as such to designing the sensation of nature. . . .

Lighting ICUs for Patient Wellbeing (03-31-17)

The lighting in hospital intensive care units influences patients' wellbeing, even a year after they are discharged from the hospital.  Researchers have found that “With light adapted to the time of day, health even improves for patients who are barely conscious when they are admitted for care. . . . In order to counterbalance the traditional ICU department with low levels of daylight and nights when lighting is frequently turned on [researchers tested an] experimental environment with so-called cyclical lighting that changed during the day. . . .


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