environment behavior

River Restoration Important (09-21-18)

Cottet and her team evaluated how the components of urban views influence assessments of them.  The group studied “the influences of landscape composition on the landscape perceptions and valuations of city dwellers. . . . We considered three scenes located along a green promenade that borders an urban river. . . . The natural section of the river is where we observed distinct gaze behaviors that can be interpreted as signs of fascination, which is known to promote attention recovery.

Walking Speeds: Variability (09-19-18)

Bouterse and Wall-Scheffler investigated walking speeds in different parts of the world and their findings have implications for the design of circulation spaces such as sidewalks.  Their work also indicates how important it can be consider cultural, etc., group membership during the design process.  The Bouterse/Wall-Scheffler team reports that “While sex differences in the speed of paired walkers have been established by others, the dynamics of how walkers adjust their speed in more varied groups . . . remains unexplored. . . .

Trees in Schoolyards: Additional Research (09-18-18)

Trees in schoolyards have again been linked to improved academic performance.  Kuo lead a study, published in Frontiers in Psychology, which “investigated the link between greenness and academic achievement in 318 of Chicago’s public elementary schools. The district serves a predominantly low-income minority population with 87 percent of third-graders qualifying for free lunch during the study year (2009-2010). . . .

Treadmill Desks: Cognitive Effects (09-17-18)

Zhang and colleagues investigated the effects on cognitive performance of working at a treadmill desk. They tested executive function (specifically, inhibition, updating, and task shifting) when people were sitting, standing, and walking at a treadmill desk at two different speeds (a self-selected speed averaging 2.3 kilometers/hour and a faster one averaging 3.5 kilometers/hour).  For more on executive function, read this article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_functions.

Walkable Zones Near Workplaces (09-14-18)

Marquet and colleagues link working in a walkable area and employee physical activity.  As they report, via a study of employed women with an average age of 53 “wearing a GPS device and accelerometer on the hip for 7 days . . . .[they determined that] working in high walkable environments was associated with higher levels of moderate to vigorous physical activity while at work, and with higher moderate to vigorous physical activity gained within the work neighborhood. Increasing walkability levels around workplaces can contribute to increasing physical activity of employees. . .

Healthcare Art (09-13-18)

Nielsen and colleagues studied patient responses to art in hospitals.  They conducted “Fieldwork . . . over a two-week period. During the first week, dayrooms were configured without the presence of art and in the second week were configured with the artworks. Semi-structured interviews, observation, participant observation and informal conversation were carried out and were informed by thermal cameras, which monitored the usage, patient occupation and flow in two of the dayrooms.

Tree Cover, Road Density, and Academic Performance (09-12-18)

Donovan and colleagues investigated how tree cover and road density influence academic performance.  They “examined the association between individual [pupil]-level standardized . . . reading test scores and exposure to the natural environment using data from Portland Public Schools. . .19,459 students attending 90 schools for the reading model. . . . A 1-SDincrease in tree cover within 100 m[eters] of a child’s school was associated with moving from the 50th percentile to the 56th percentile on reading tests. . . .

Environmental Associations (09-11-18)

Nute and Chen investigated associations to architectural elements. Participants in their research project looked at line drawings of spaces; findings from a preliminary study indicate that “rooms that include sloping ceilings . . . and views of other spaces are positively associated with feelings of nostalgia. . . and optimism respectively. . . . A sloping ceiling was found to be positively associated with the past in general and with nostalgia in particular. . .

Natural Light and Health (09-10-18)

Boubekri and colleagues make a health-based case for designing access to natural light into structures.  As they report, “daylight . . . is vital to our lives. . . . impacting circadian rhythm and . . . producing vitamin D through our skin. . . . buildings play a significant role in controlling how much daylight people are exposed to. . . . Zoning regulations ought to be concerned with the fact that without sufficient daylight in the street, it is not possible to have sufficient daylight inside our buildings. . .

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