Gehl’s keynote reminds us that at the heart of the seemingly conflicting forces between designing for objects or for people is the historical lack of knowledge about how people experience space, how they are affected by space, and how they interact with space. Human-centered design has long been a value for EDRA, and this year saw an increase in tools and methods being developed to study such human experiences, often in new digital ways and across various types of spaces and building sectors.
Eve’s interests lie at the intersection of architecture, anthropology and urbanism, and she is particularly interested in the relationship between the materiality of the built environment and how it shapes, and is shaped by, the diversity of human activity. She maintains an interdisciplinary research approach in all of her work, drawing from methods and theories from various disciplines.
Amusement parks, festivals, and fairs are full of activity. People, music, laughter and screams, and food all contribute to festivity. However, the resulting increased levels of sensory stimulation can be stressful especially for those who are hypersensitive, such as individuals with autism, their families. The Texas State Fair now offers Sensory-Friendly Mornings to better accommodate for those with sensory-related concerns.
At the high tide of evidence-based design, there was a rush to prove how design improved outcomes. In itself this is a powerful idea- because design can, and does, improve outcomes. But it rarely does so in isolation of people, and process. In other words, in the context of architecture, determining how our built environments can "cause" improvement in key outcomes (satisfaction, safety, loyalty, productivity etc. etc.) is very, very tricky.
We are excited to welcome Erin Peavey as a visiting scholar to CADRE/HKS, Inc. Trained as an architect and design researcher, she has spent her career bridging the gap between research and practice. Most recently with HOK in New York, she was a medical planner and senior researcher, working closely with clients on planning and design for a range of large and small scale projects.
Biomimetic designs directly use patterns and systems found in nature, while biophilic designs aim to connect human beings to the natural world. In the face of design challenges, biomimicry argues that nature has already found suitable solutions and that the process of investigation, understanding, and application of the right solution will benefit a design.
I worry more that "research says" can become a smokescreen, a justification tool, not the medium for improving and assimilating the available knowledge that makes us better at what we do. And that worry stems from the fact that we hear more and more about research as a means to garner proof, and convince masses, not as an ethic to make us better.