Archive for May, 2011

May 29, 2011

Playgrounds – City Oases for Children

In a paper titled “Is there a place for children in a city?” Arza Churchman (2003) asks the following question: Does the city, through its design and planning, and through the attitudes and behaviour of adults, transmit the message to the children that they are welcome, that they are an equal part of the society in the city? Just think of all the limitations children are faced with due to (reasonable!) safety concerns of their parents, limitations that become more and more constraining with each new generation. With significantly less privacy and freedom then before,  constantly supervised by adults (unless they’re “babysat” by TV of PC), the children of today may be receiving the message that the environment we’ve created is not a friendly place for them.

photo by guilmay

There are little oases amid the noisy confusion of life though, that celebrate children’s most important activity – play. It has been stated that independent and diverse play and exploration is important to children’s development, specifically their motor skills and physical health, cognitive development, social relationships with peers  and formations of connections with the natural world (Kyttä, 2004).

read more »

Advertisements
May 15, 2011

Red and Blue: Colors Affect Thinking

Psychologically speaking, colors represent such an important aspect of our environments, and are usually what we dwell upon the most when decorating our places. That’s why it is easy to understand the popularity of research about effects that colors have on people. However, among all there is to learn, I consider a systematic series of experiments based on theory such as this by Mehta and Zhu (2009) a rare, precious find.

Carefully selected colors; photo by IDA Interior LifeStyle

Authors aimed to investigate how red and blue affect performance on tasks that require different thinking processes, and to explain why those colors have those exact effects.

read more »

May 1, 2011

How Water Features Enrich Cities

Break the monotony of straight lines, smooth surfaces and neutral colors of an urban environment with a simple fountain or a pond, and you’ll see a big change in people’s behaviour. Ignoring other aspects of their environment that stress the importance of order, rules, organization and schedule, people instantly become playful and spontaneous. Water tempts us to stop and look at it, touch it, throw stones in it.. and be a kid for a moment.

Courtyard of Somerset House, London; photo by Marxpix

While we all know that aquatic environments are appealing to us, the study by White et al. (2010) answers the question how appealing they are compared to natural and built non-aquatic environments, and probably more important – how can water in built environments improve urban experience?

read more »