Support Mental Restoration/Ease Stress

Sound Management Tool (10-13-17)

The National Research Council of Canada, Construction Division, has released a new edition of their Guide to Calculating Airborne Sound Transmission in Buildings.  A copy is available free at the web address noted below.  The introduction to the Guide reports that “The International Standards Organization (ISO) has published a calculation method, ISO 15712-1 that uses laboratory test data for sub-assemblies such as walls and floors as inputs for a detailed procedure to calculate the expected sound transmission between adjacent rooms. . . .

Support for Time in Nature (09-27-17)

Niedermeier, Einwanger, Hartl, and Kopp studied how people respond to time in nature.  The team investigated the emotional implications “of a three-hour outdoor PA [physical activity] intervention (mountain hiking) compared to a sedentary control situation and to an indoor treadmill condition. . . . healthy participants were randomly exposed to three different conditions: outdoor mountain hiking, indoor treadmill walking, and sedentary control situation (approximately three hours each). . . .

Personal Space Invasions (09-12-17)

Lewis and her team researched personal space invasions in airplanes.  Their findings indicate there are several ways we can invade each other’s space: “The invasion of personal space is often a contributory factor to the experience of discomfort in aircraft passengers. . . . the results of this study indicate that the invasion of personal space is not only caused by physical factors (e.g.

Benefits of Nature Videos (09-06-17)

Nadkarni and her colleagues confirmed the value of watching nature videos, even in challenging environments.  The team share that “An estimated 5.3 million Americans live or work in nature-deprived venues such as prisons, homeless shelters, and mental hospitals. . . .  We report on the effects of vicarious nature experiences (nature videos) provided to maximum-security prison inmates for one year, and compared their emotions and behaviors to inmates who were not offered such videos.

Neuroscience and Biophilic Design (08-23-17)

Brown and Lee investigated the use of prospect and refuge in urban settings.  Biophilic designers create places with prospect and refuge; in these spaces people have views of nearby areas from places where they feel secure.  Humans are very comfortable in spaces with prospect and refuge.  The Brown/Lee team reports that “Good urban design makes new and redeveloped physical environments spatially and visually attractive . . .  prospect and refuge in urban form are necessary. . . .

Biking and Stress Levels (06-23-17)

Brutus, Javadian, and Panaccio linked commuting to work by bicycle to lower stress levels among those who biked to the office just after they arrived at work—which should encourage urban planners to design in bicycle lanes and others to create on-site bicycle storage facilities.  The researchers learned that employees “who cycled to work were less stressed than their counterparts who arrived by car.

Organizational Change Stressful (05-30-17)

Often workplaces are redesigned during periods of organizational change and research released by the American Psychological Association indicates that organizational change can be very stressful.  Workplaces can be designed to defuse at least some of that stress and the knowledge that it is present should inform the interpretation of research data, for example, information collected in the course of a post-occupancy evaluation.  The APA press release reports that “American adults who have been affected by change at work are more likely to report chronic work stress, less likely to trust the


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