environment behavior

Outdoor Beauty (09-07-18)

Seresinhe, Preis, and Moat wondered what made an outdoor space beautiful.  To answer their question the team “explore[d] whether ratings of over 200 000 images of Great Britain from the online game Scenic-Or-Not, combined with hundreds of image features extracted using the Places Convolutional Neural Network, might help us understand what beautiful outdoor spaces are composed of. We discover that, as well as natural features such as ‘Coast’, ‘Mountain’ and ‘Canal Natural’, man-made structures such as ‘Tower’, ‘Castle’ and ‘Viaduct’ lead to places being considered more scenic.

Streetside Landscaping (09-06-18)

Lusk, Filho, and Dobbert studied the landscaping preferences of pedestrians and bicyclists.  The team report that “To increase levels of biking while improving safety, cities around the world have started building barrier-protected bicycle-exclusive cycle tracks between the sidewalk and the street. . . . pedestrians and cyclists [were asked about] their preferences about whether trees should be planted and . . . preferred locations on the sidewalk/cycle track they were using. . . . trees were preferred.

Neighborhood Design and Children’s Cognitive Performance (09-05-18)

Flouri and colleagues set out to learn how exposure to nature affects children’s spatial working memory, which has “a strong correlate of academic achievement.”  The researchers compared the spatial working memories of nearly 5,000 11-year olds living in neighborhoods that were relatively more or less green.  The research team found that when“Greenspace was measured as the percentage of greenery in the child's ward.  Even after controlling for confounders [poverty, parental education, sports participation, neighbourhood deprivation, and neighbourhood history], lower quantity of neighbourhoo

Personality-Aware Workplace Design (09-04-18)

Lindberg, Tran and Banasiak used an online survey to study how personality influences responses to office design.  The research team defined extraversion as “the degree to which one is outgoing and social, while neuroticism is a measure of negative emotionality (versus emotional stability and even-temperedness) and is positively correlated with anxiety and unhappiness.”  The Lindberg lead team determined that “difference in exposure [to others, as in an open workplace] had relatively little effect on perceived control for individuals in the low neuroticism category, but individuals in the h

Broadening the Definition of “Workplace” (08-31-18)

Spaces outside traditional workplaces once seen as “novel” or “unusual” places to work are increasingly being accepted as customary work environments. Jain, Clayton, and Bertle reported on August 30 at the Royal Geographical Society Annual International Conference that “commuters use free Wi-Fi provision on their journey to and from work to 'catch up' with work emails, paving the way for the commute to be counted as work. . . . A total of 5000 passengers [on British trains] were surveyed. . . .

New Work Neighbors a Plus (08-30-18)

Research continues to indicate that work groups’ relative locations influence the performance of employees.  Sunkee Lee, a Carnegie Mellon University professor, studied a corporation in South Korea (whose employees had assigned seats) that relocated:  “In the old building, six teams . . . were seated in one area, while six other . . .teams sat in another one; the two groups were separated by a common entrance. . . . in the new location . . .nine of them were situated in one open area and three in another, with a common entrance in between.

Kids and Light (08-29-18)

Hartstein and colleagues learned that preschool-age children, older children, and adults can respond in similar ways to lighting.  The researchers determined that “studies show that exposure to higher correlated color temperature (CCT) ambient light, containing more blue light, can positively impact alertness and cognitive performance in older children and adults. . . . In this study, healthy children aged 4.5–5.5 years . . . completed measures of sustained attention and task switching twice while being exposed to LED light set to either 3500K (a lower CCT) or 5000K (a higher CCT).

Math and Urban Design (08-27-18)

Researchers used mathematical models to investigate planning issues in poor urban neighborhoods.  The team “used satellite imagery and municipal data to develop mathematical algorithms that reveal slums and planned neighborhood are fundamentally different.Their models clearly identify distinctions between the informal arrangement of underserviced urban areas and the formal structure of city neighborhoods. . . . the physical layout of some unplanned neighborhoods does not allow space for sewer lines, roads or water pipes.. .

Open Bench Seating: Stress and Activity Implications (08-24-18)

Researchers linked working in open bench seating areas to users’ daytime stress (perceived and physiological) and activity levels. A group lead by Casey Lindberg determined that “Workers in open office seating had less daytime stress and greater daytime activity levels compared to workers in private offices and cubicles. . . .That greater physical activity at the office was related to lower physiological stress during after-work hours outside the office. . . .


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