Enhance Satisfaction/Quality of Life

More on Environmental Noise (02-06-18)

New research indicates how important it is to block the flow of environmental sound (from aircraft, trucks, trains, etc.) into buildings and to reduce outside noise levels via traffic routing/management, building orientation, etc.  Munzel and his team report that “Noise has been found associated with annoyance, stress, sleep disturbance, and impaired cognitive performance. . . . studies have found that environmental noise is associated with an increased incidence of arterial hypertension, myocardial infarction, heart failure, and stroke. . . .

Less Annoying Experiences (02-01-18)

Pohl, Gabriel, and Hubner set out to learn how to improve wind farm residents’ responses to wind turbine noise.  Their findings are useful whenever some people may be less than happy with designed conditions.  The research team learned via interviews with people living in a wind farm in Germany that “Noise annoyance was minimally correlated with distance to the closest WT [wind turbine] and sound pressure level, but moderately correlated with fair planning. . . .

Risky Music (01-25-18)

The music to be played in a space is regularly considered as design decisions are made. Elvers and Steffens’ research indicates that potential playlists need to be carefully chosen:  “Listening to music before, during, or after sports is a common phenomenon. . .  In this study. . . .  listening to motivational music led to greater risk taking but did not improve [sports] performance.

Urban Psychology (01-19-18)

Ellard directs the Urban Realities Laboratory at the University of Waterloo.  He reports that some of his Laboratory’s research findings include:  “Street-level facades that are low in visual complexity not only cause participants to self-report lower levels of interest and pleasure, but their levels of autonomic arousal become low.  The biometric signature of a low-complexity street looks very much like the signature shown by participants in laboratory studies who are experiencing states of boredom.”  Also, “Immersion in greenspace in cities, even when it is modest (a community garden in t

Seeing Nature and Body Image (01-18-18)

A recently published study indicates that nature images in a space and being in nature do more than just help people restock their mental processing power and de-stress. Swami and team found that “exposure to images of natural, but not built, environments resulted in improved state body image. . . . [and a] walk in a natural environment resulted in significantly higher state body appreciation [a feature of positive body image], whereas [a] walk in a built environment resulted in significantly lower scores. . . .

Urban Planning for Psychological Challenges (01-12-18)

Whitby links environmental design and positive experiences for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).  She reports that “Inclusive design enhances environmental competency and removes barriers to enable people to interact with their surroundings in the way they want to. Two disorders that can affect people's environmental competency are Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). This scoping study found that interpersonal interactions were a key barrier to their use of public buildings.

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