Ko and colleagues evaluated how windows influence space user experiences. They report that they “assessed the influence of having a window with a view [of nature] on thermal and emotional responses as well as on cognitive performance. . . . The chamber kept the air and window surface temperature at 28 °C, a slightly warm condition. . . . In the space with versus without windows, the thermal sensation was significantly cooler ( . . . equivalent to 0.74 °C lower), and 12% more participants were thermally comfortable.
Support Mental Restoration/Ease Stress
Implications of technologies compared
Sadik and Kamardeen researched the professional implications of experiencing indoor nature (for example, inside plants, window views, pre-recorded nature sounds) and outdoor nature. They determined via a literature review that “indoor nature exposure contributes [positively] to social sustainability through its impact on workers' health and motivation while outdoor nature exposure contributes [positively] to economic, environmental and social sustainability through its impact on workers' restoration, stress reduction and stress coping.
Stress destroys mental and physical wellbeing. Research details how design can help keep psychological stressors in check in our workplaces, homes, schools, healthcare facilities, stores, public spaces, and wherever else we may find ourselves, alone or with others.
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.
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.
Research completed by Zhou, Wu, Meng, and Kang indicates that the acoustics in hospitals have a significant effect on stress experienced by patients. The researchers share that “Patients in general wards are often exposed to excessive levels of noise and activity, and high levels of noise have been associated with depression and anxiety.
Managing our personal spaces, the distances we maintain between ourselves in different situations, is something that our brains put a lot of effort into, although not often consciously. Research in the cognitive sciences indicates that design solutions that allow us to arrange ourselves through a space, at the distances we feel are appropriate, keep stress levels in check.
Refreshing surgeons, cutting stress