Data collected in Jordan illustrate the complexities of moving into certified-green offices from other types of structures. Researchers report that “localised green building codes, especially in the developing world, often do not systematically recognise IEQ or health as crucial issues. . . . we follow 120 employees of a single organisation as they transition from four conventional office buildings to the first green building (GB), designed to the local Jordanian Green Building Guide. . .
Fay and Maner studied links between physical and social warmth. They found that “Laboratory studies have linked variability in temperature to the psychology of social affiliation. In colder ambient environments, for example, people report greater loneliness, and they pursue both physical warmth and social affiliation (i.e., social warmth). Here, a field experiment tested whether tactile warmth [basically, touching something warm] eliminates the effect of colder ambient temperatures on desires for social affiliation.
Hou and colleagues studied brain synchronization between musicians and people listening to their music; potential applications of their findings in other contexts are intriguing. The researchers report that they “used dual near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) to assess whether inter-brain synchronization between violinist and audience underlies the popularity of violin performance. In the experiment, individual audience members . . . watched pre-recorded videos, each lasting 100 s or so, in which a violinist performed 12 musical pieces.
Lai, Webster, Kumari, and Sarkar (in press) make space-use suggestions related to social density management and appropriate social distancing: “School buildings are generally very inefficiently used, being unused at weekends and evenings. This gives scope for lower-density classes by spreading across time. . . . Future housing must also focus on the creation of a multi-functional design with inherent abilities to couple living with working to enable work-from-home routines that can not only facilitate performance efficiency but also individual’s wellbeing. .
Ogletree, Huang, Alberico, Marquet, Floyd, and Hipp identified the amenities parents are most interested in finding in the parks they visit with their children. A study published in the Journal of Healthy Eating and Active Living, based on data collected in North Carolina and New York City from low-income parents of 5- to 10-year oldswho visited parks, indicates that “While parents from diverse backgrounds most often value parks that offer amenities like playgrounds, sports fields and green spaces, they also want parks to feel safe. . . .
Neuroscientists affiliated with Technische Universitat Dresden found that we “hear” what we expect to hear. A press release from TU Dresden reports that “neuroscience research has revealed that the cerebral cortex constantly generates predictions on what will happen next, and that neurons in charge of sensory processing only encode the difference between our predictions and the actual reality.. . . new findings . . . show that not only the cerebral cortex, but the entire auditory pathway, represents sounds according to prior expectations.. . . Dr.
Recently published research confirms the value of designing green spaces into our everyday environments. A paper published in the Journal of Happiness Studies reports that “Previous academic studies have indicated how being outdoors, particularly in green spaces, can improve mental health by promoting more positive body image, and lowering levels of depression and anxiety. . . . Using an experience sampling method (ESM), the researchers measured levels of happiness amongst a group of 286 adults three times a day, at random intervals, over a 21-day period. . . .
The number of people visiting parks has increased during the pandemic, with design-related implications. Fisher, Grima, Sommer, Corcoran, Hill-James, and Langton conducted a study, published in PLoS One, which determined that “26% of people visiting parks during early months of the COVID-19 pandemic had rarely – or never – visited nature in the previous year. . . . According to the findings, nearly 70% of park users increased their visits to local nature. . . . . While 27% of people reduced their group size when visiting nature, another 11% of visitors increased their group size.
Triugakos, Chawla, and McCarthy evaluated stress levels among employees during the pandemic and the effects of hand washing on those stress levels. They determined that “there is little understanding of how COVID-19 health anxiety(CovH anxiety)—that is, feelings of fear and apprehension about having or contracting COVID-19—impacts critical work, home, and health outcomes. . . .
Saunders and colleagues report that wearing facemasks impedes communication; design may, via whiteboards, new signage, etc., partially compensate for this impairment. As the Sanders team reports, “An online survey consisting of closed-set and open-ended questions [was] distributed within the UK to gain insights into experiences of interactions involving face coverings, and of the impact of face coverings on communication. . . . With few exceptions, participants reported that face coverings negatively impacted hearing, understanding, engagement, and feelings of connection with the speaker.