The Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer is making available, at the web address noted below, an information-packed video that will be useful both to people designing lightscapes and also to anyone working from home. At the source website, the LRC shares that it “has released a new video on how to maintain good sleep while working from home, or quarantining indoors, which is becoming more commonplace during the coronavirus pandemic.
Improve Mood/Increase Feelings of Wellbeing
Confirming urban parks' value
Jiang, He, Chen, Larsen, and Wang evaluated how driving on a freeway through various sorts of urban environments influences driver experience. They found via 90-minute simulations of environments through which study participants “drove” at the legal speed limit (70–120 km/hour) that: “The summarized mental status measure is the average value of the seven measures of negative mental status (boredom, anger, frustration, tension, anxiety, avoidance, mental fatigue). . . . the tree-regularcondition evoked significantly lower levels of negative mental status than all other conditions.
Divett assessed how being in either an activity-based flexible or open plan workplace influenced employee perceptions of performance. Data were collected at 3 offices in Australia during a period 3 to 12 months before workplace transitions and at least 3 months after beginning to work in the new spaces. Divett found that “Team members were more satisfied and felt more productive within the activity-based working (ABW) environment compared to the open plan workplace. Leaders were more satisfied and felt team productivity improved, yet individual productivity for leaders remained the same.
Wijk, Bergsten, and Hallman evaluated the experiences of a group of Swedish government employees at a single office site moving into activity-based workplaces (ABWs) from private offices (32% of participants), shared rooms with 2-3 people working in them (11% of participants), open-plan offices with 4 to 24 people working in them (41% of participants), and unspecified places (16% of participants).
Walking is as good for our minds as our waistlines. Neuroscience research makes it clear that, whether we’re inside or outdoors, walking can help us think more clearly, creatively, and productively, for example, all while we burn calories. Studies have also determined how design can encourage people to walk through their worlds.
Wood use implications reported
A Graham-lead team at the Center for the Built Environment, University of California, Berkeley, reviewed 20 years of data collected by the Center; their findings are available without charge at the web address noted below. The CBE researchers report that “One of the most widely used online POE [post-occupancy evaluation] tools is the Center for the Built Environment’s Occupant Survey. We analyzed data collected from this tool over the last two decades (>90,000 respondents from ~900 buildings) to summarize the database and evaluate the survey structure.
Nilsson lead a team that reviewed previously published studies to learn how birthing room design affects mothers and neonates, physically and emotionally. They share that “The results of the analysis reveal four prominent physical themes in birthing rooms that positively influence on maternal and neonate physical and emotional outcomes: (1) means of distraction, comfort, and relaxation; (2) raising the birthing room temperature; (3) features of familiarity; and (4) diminishing a technocratic environment.”
Research lead by Paksarian and Merikangas, and published in JAMA Psychiatry, confirms that nighttime light can have undesirable consequences. Investigators determined that “adolescents [13-18 years olds] who live in areas that have high levels of artificial light at night tend to get less sleep and are more likely to have a mood disorder relative to teens who live in areas with low levels of night-time light. . . . Daily rhythms, including the circadian rhythms that drive our sleep-wake cycles, are thought to be important factors that contribute to physical and mental health.