Pouso and team evaluated how nature exposure influenced mental health during COVID pandemic lockdowns. They report that “Using a survey distributed online, we tested the following hypotheses: 1) People will show greater symptoms of depression and anxiety under lockdown conditions that did not allow contact with outdoor nature spaces; 2) Where access to public outdoor nature spaces was strictly restricted, (2a) those with green/blue nature view or (2b) access to private outdoor spaces such as a garden or balcony will show fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety, and a more positive mood.
Park and Lee’s research findings will be of interest to people concerned about crime prevention through environmental design. The research duo collected data from people who are not burglars using virtual reality. Park and Lee report that their “study examines how the environmental features of residential property influence the choice of intrusion routes in a burglary, based on the assumption that burglars mainly judge whether there are proper intrusion routes rather than assessing the entire house. . . .
Olszewska-Guizzo and colleagues studied links between nature experiences and the psychological state of people who lived in Singapore during its 7 week COVID-19 lockdown (known as a stay-at-home order or SHO). Data assessed were collected before the COVID-19 pandemic and immediately after the SHO ended. The research team determined, by showing participants videos of urban public spaces (Busy Downtown, Residential Green, and Lush Garden) filmed before the pandemic that “Post SHO, brain activity and responsiveness to landscapes changed. . .
Buxton and colleagues reviewed published studies on the implications of hearing nature sounds. They determined that “natural sounds improve health, increase positive affect [mood], and lower stress and annoyance. . . . Our review showed that natural sounds alone can confer health benefits. . . . water sounds had the largest effect on health and positive affective outcomes, while bird sounds had the largest effect on alleviating stress and annoyance.”
Adams’ text is a useful to designers intrigued by the idea of exploring the implications of design decisions. He writes in his introduction that the chapters in his book “delve into the sociological, psychological, and historical reasons for our responses [to design]. I explored these issues as a designer, as I am not a neurologist, psychologist, or sociologist. What visual and conceptual cues resonate, and why? This was my constant question.”
Sean Adams. 2021. How Design Makes Us Think and Feel and Do Things. Princeton Architectural Press; Hudson, NY.
Theodorson and Scott researched lighting preferences. They report that their “research explores the human response to colored lighting with light emitting diodes (LEDs) in a space with the intent of understanding preference and affectual [emotional] response. The research was conducted through photographic appraisal of a single interior space illuminated with monochromatic and mixed colored lighting. Results indicate that. . . . When mixed color lighting is introduced, there are preferences for warm colors.”
Bisson studied experiences in urban environments. Research completed indicated that “three levels of understanding of urban environments can be identified: a first level shared by all, a second one shared by social groups, and a last one related to the individual. These three-levels of the inhabitants’ definition of urban ambiance anchors enable us to question participation in urban planning.”
Thygesen and colleagues link greater access to green space as a child to lower levels of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). They report that when they reviewed data collected in Denmark for “individuals, who were born in Denmark between 1992 and 2007 . . . and followed for a diagnosis of ADHD from age 5, during the period 1997–2016. . . . Individuals living in areas defined by sparse green vegetation . . . had an increased risk of developing ADHD, compared with individuals living in areas within the highest [levels of green space]. . . .
Blut and Iyer investigated the implications of retail crowding. They determined via a meta-analysis of previously published studies that spatial crowding, which is tied to the physical features of a space, such as the space available to a person and the form of that space, degrades store evaluations while human crowding, or the perceived number of people in a store and impressions of the interactions of those people, enhances those assessments: “Managers should also examine if their retail or service setting is perceived as hedonic [pleasure-related], and whether attracting more customers
Chen and colleagues studied the nonverbal messages sent by package shapes; their findings are useful to designers more generally. The Chen-lead team determined that “a tall, slender package creates the perception of higher brand status to a significantly greater extent than a short, wide package. Therefore, retailers in the high-end market can stock more products in tall, slender packages to communicate and enhance their positioning. . . . Retailers in the low-end market, on the other hand, face more complicated decisions. Should they stock more products in short, wide packages?