Free Issue

This content was previously published in RDC's July 2014 issue. Also below is additional free special guest editor content and a few classic articles.

Research Conversations

Meeting area design can make successful sessions more likely.


Well designed lobbies are organizational assets.

What we touch matters, a lot.

Including areas with prospect and refuge in designed spaces is an important principle of biophilic design.

Special Guest Editorials

Designers and planners increasingly work on complicated, multi-stakeholder projects. Behavioral economics, a sub-discipline of economics that focuses on how people actually behave (as opposed to the prevailing “rational actor” economic theories that propose how people should behave), provides insights and approaches to help designers and planners better understand stakeholders’ perspectives and achieve successful outcomes. This articlee was originally published in 2011.


This second part of a two-part article covers behavioral economics and neuroeconomics concepts that can assist designers and planners with stakeholder selection of optimal alternatives, stakeholder acceptance of mitigation measures, understanding large scale proposals, and improving long term decision making. This article was originally published in 2011.


The ways in which music and nature impact patients can be caught in the conflict between technological and natural therapeutic interventions. This article was originally published in 2009.


In this article, we will look at the impact of the “characterless walls,” as they define the patient space and how nature elements mitigate some of the generic, impersonal features common to institutional care. This article was published in 2010.

PlaceCoach News Briefs

Developing quiet and healthy cities.

Review of optimal retail design practices

More links between temperature and opinions

Lighting that makes desirable behavior more likely

Eliminating LED induced glare

Create spaces for people with varying sensory capabilities.


“Every design is a hypothesis waiting to be tested.”

Designing to smooth prisoner/guard interactions.

Book Reviews

Classic Articles

Researchers Sandra Whitehouse, James W. Varner, Michael Seid, Clare Cooper Marcus, Mary Jane Ensberg, Jennifer Jacobs and Robyn Mehlenbeck examined the Leichtag Healing Garden at the Children’s Hospital and Health Center in San Diego to identify aspects of gardens that relax and heal. Originally published in Issue 3, 2002.


Building a diversified mix of stores, restaurants, and entertainment venues can draw pedestrians to urban centers and spur further economic development. Creating the initial nucleus for such development, though, is often difficult. One study reviews relevant research on these “catalytic buildings” to see what is known about their effectiveness. Originally published in Issue 1, 2003.


Transportation and health experts continue to tout the benefits of walking for exercise and for neighborhood errands. One recent review examines eighteen separate studies on walking to determine common factors in the environment that might help or hinder walking, while another lays out guidelines to help quantify what makes a street or walkway comfortable for pedestrians—laying the groundwork for an assessment tool. Originally published in Issue 4, 2004.

Measures to protect pedestrian safety sometimes seem counter-intuitive. What interventions are effective, and what can we do to reconcile the difference between what is safer, and what we think is safer? Originally published in Issue 3, 2004.


Evidence from two recent studies support the view that trees and grass around public housing sites can reduce some aggression and deter crime. Originally published in Issue 1, 2002.


Trail through a natural wetland

Visits to parks and natural areas have long been known to provide mental and psychological benefits. Supporting ecological diversity within those human-managed areas is often another important goal. More research is now being done on how those two aims may differ or align.