place science

Courtyard “Views” (01-21-22)

Research conducted by a Kerimova-lead team indicates how different the space assessments of different user groups can be.  They determined via an eye-tracking based study that “Green zones and parking lots differentially affect the preferences of people who own cars and those who do not. . . . Two interest groups—. . . people who owned a car and . . . people who did not a car—observed . . . images of courtyards. Images were digitally modified to manipulate the spatial arrangement of key courtyard elements: green zones, parking lots, and children’s playgrounds.

The Power of Ambivalent Art (01-20-22)

Muth and Carbon studied ambivalent art (specifically photographs) and our responses to it.  First, a definition, “Ambivalence describes a conflict between contrasting valences, for example, when an image appears bitter but sweet.” The researchers conducted “two studies with artistic photographs examining the relationship between ambivalence and interest. The first study utilized explicit evaluations and revealed a positive relationship between estimated ambivalence and interest [more ambivalence, more interest]. . . .

Air Pollution, Interesting Effect (01-19-22)

Ming, Deng, and Wu determined that experiencing air-pollution has predictable effects on Earth friendly-type decisions, ones that design may need to help overcome.  The investigators found that “People are less willing to engage in PEB [pro-environmental behaviors] (e.g., purchasing pro-environmental products, recycling, sustainable travel, donation to environmental organizations) when air pollution is severe. . . . This is because the negative mood triggered by air pollution inhibits their willingness to engage in PEB.”

Newness is Nice (01-18-22)

Jie and Li link clues about product “newness” to selections made.  They found that “consumers exhibit mere newness preference across many product domains—preferring chronologically newer options over older options with no substantive benefits to newness. . . . consumers are willing to pay a newness premium even for mere newness. . . . Marketers can leverage mere newness preferences by using chronological cues to signal newness.

Supporting Team Autonomy (01-17-22)

Ramasubu and Bardhan’s work does not directly discuss providing workers with control of their physical environments, but the team’s findings can be extended to doing so.  The researchers report that they “assess the causal impacts of adopting an organizational policy that grants higher levels of autonomy to project teams. . . . we posit that an organizational policy that provides higher levels of autonomy for software teams engenders performance-enhancing adaptations through agile reconfigurations of project operations.

Good Breaks (01-14-22)

Eyal, and Robertson report on mentally refreshing breaks.  Among other material, they share that “Research shows that nature exposure is restorative for the mind.  One study reported better working memory scores after a walk in a natural environment, but not in an urban setting. . . . If you are stuck indoors, research shows that just looking at some photos of nature can help. . . .

Yes, Nudge (01-12-22)

Researchers confirmed that nudges, including design-based nudges, can influence behavior in intended ways.  A team lead by Mertens determined via a meta-analysis that  By making small changes in our environment, these interventions [nudges] aim to encourage changes in our behaviour, while preserving our freedom of choice. From adding informative labels to reorganising the food offer in a cafeteria, the overall effectiveness of these interventions has now been demonstrated by a scientific team from the University of Geneva (UNIGE).

Creativity and Movement (01-11-22)

Research linked creativity and walking some time ago.  Murali and Handel build on prior studies and report that “Creativity, specifically divergent thinking, has been shown to benefit from unrestrained walking. . . .  [during the Murali/Handel project, creativity test] scores were higher during walking than sitting. . . .  participants either walked freely or in a restricted path, or sat freely or fixated on a screen. . . . similar to unrestrained [or free] walking, unrestrained sitting also improves divergent thinking. . . .

William H. Whyte Bio (01-10-22)

The groundbreaking urban research of William H. is reported in American Urbanist:  How William H. Whyte’s Unconventional Wisdom Reshaped Public Life, by Richard Rein.  The text not only reviews Whyte’s process but also conclusions drawn from data collected.

Richard Rein. 2022.  American Urbanist:  How William H. Whyte’s Unconventional Wisdom Reshaped Public Life.  Island Press, Washington, DC.

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