How Does Stress Shape Experience and Perceptions in Public Space?
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. Knowlton School of Architecture Honors Theses; 2020
Research on the how the urban environment effects mental health and wellbeing is in its infancy. Only in recent years have researchers began trying to understand the relationship between mental health and urban design (Khanade et al, 2018). Stress is a common mental health condition that many people living in urban environment face. With increased urbanization and the introduction of more urban stressors to peoples lives, understanding the connection of mental health and urban design becomes an important one. College students are a group that face stress at a high rate, due to the demand that academic performance creates, in addition to stressors of everyday life. Understanding the impact that design has on individuals stress levels, can lead to a set of informed guidelines to promote better mental wellbeing in public spaces. Analyzing public space in the context of The Ohio State University, a group of eleven undergraduate students completed a mapping exercise and interview to better understand perceptions of public space and the factors of spatial design that can mitigate stressed responses. A space where students felt a connection to nature, a sense of belonging, secure, engaged or could exercise a level personal control over the space, were found to be more relaxing than environments that did not allow for these conditions. Designers might benefit from approaches such as adding natural elements, creating architectural interest, and dedicating spaces for seclusion or interaction. It is in design interventions like these that we can take a step closer to creating synergies between mental health and urban design.
Academic Major: City and Regional Planning
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