Buildings and cities can affect mood. This is caused by special cells in the hippocampus region of our brain that are in harmony with the geometry and arrangement of the space we inhabit. But this is rarely known by architects in urban areas. They often pay little attention to the potential cognitive influence of the design they create on the mood of the people who see it. The need to design something unique and individual tends to override consideration of how it can shape the behavior of people
The Conscious Cities Conference in London said that the shape of a building greatly influences cognitive function and mood. The conference brought together architects, designers, engineers, neuroscientists and psychologists, all of whom were increasingly crossing at an academic level, but were still rarely used. One conference speaker, Alison Brooks, an architect who specializes in housing and social design, told BBC Future that psychology-based insights could change the concept of how cities are built.
“If science could help the design profession justify the value of good design and craftsmanship, it would be a very powerful tool and quite possibly transform the quality of the built environment,” she says. Greater interaction between these disciplines, for example, will reduce the possibility of repeating bad stories about architecture such as the 1950 Pruitt-Igoe housing complex in St. Louis, Missouri, which has 33 unattractive apartment blocks that designed by Minoru Yamasaki. He was also behind the construction of the World Trade Center and quickly became famous for the level of crime, slums, and social problems there. Critics argue that the vast open spaces between the high modernist building blocks prevented residents from socializing, especially because crime rates began to rise. The building was finally demolished in 1972.
Pruitt-Igoe is not an Unnatural Building.
The lack of behavioral insight behind the modernist housing project at the time, with feelings of isolation from the wider community and public space was not understood.
Today, thanks to psychological studies, we have a much better idea of the type of urban environment that people like or look attractive. Some of this research has tried to measure the physiological response of subjects in the actual place, using devices that can be worn like a bracelet that monitors skin conductance (a sign of physiological stimulation), smartphone applications that ask subjects about emotional states, and electroencephalogram (EEG) of their headsets which measures brain activity related to mental state and mood.
Researchers are now discovering that modern buildings have an impact on the psychological condition of the people who live around them. "This adds to the information that is difficult to obtain," said Colin Ellard, who examined the psychological impact of design at the University of Waterloo in Canada. "When we ask people about their stress, they say it's not a big problem, but when we measure their physiology, we find that their response is outside of the graph”.
City Designs Influences the Body
The difficulty is that your physiological state is a disease that affects your health. A closer look at this physiological state can explain how the design of cities affects our bodies.
One of Ellard's most consistent findings is that people are greatly affected by building facades. If the facade is complex and interesting, it will affect people positively, but negatively affect if the facade is simple and monotonous. For example, when he passed a group of goods at the front of the Whole Foods grocery store in Lower Manhattan, their passion and mood dropped, according to bracelet readings and emotional surveys on the spot at that moment. They also accelerated their steps as if they wanted to get out of the death zone immediately. They take quite a lot when they arrive at restaurants and shops, where (not surprisingly) they report feels much livelier and warmer.
City writer and specialist Charles Montgomery, who collaborated with Ellard in his study in Manhattan, said that this refers to "the catastrophe that arose in street psychology". In his book Happy City, he warns: "When suburban retailers began to colonize the city center, souvenir shops are on each block and privately-run buildings and shops are replaced by spaces empty and cold which erases the edge of the streets filled with hospitality”.
Source retrieved from: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20170605-the-psychology-behind-your-citys-design