Category Archives: People-centric Design

If You Want To ‘See’ Why People Shun Boston City Hall – Eye Track it!

Piazza del Campo in Siena, Italy and Boston’s City Hall Plaza are often cited as the best and worst of what architecture can be. The Italian piazza with its crenelated city hall and tightly-aligned buildings has invited public gathering and … Continue reading

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Park Benches Where No One Sits

If the goal of the bench is socialization, safety, scenery and shelter, why do these benches face busy streets, blank walls and parking lots? Continue reading

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The Genetics of Garden Design

Architecture is not just about houses and buildings—it’s also about gardens and landscapes. In the Genetics of Design, we write about how design affects biology and how biology affects design. Well-designed spaces make people feel comfortable and safe. They mesh … Continue reading

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Eye Tracking Architecture: a Pilot Study at the IHCD

In our pilot study at the Institute for Human Centered Design (IHCD), we used eye-tracking technology to understand how people respond to the built environment. Thirty-three test volunteers, aged 18 to 80, viewed more than 60 images of elevations and … Continue reading

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Faces of Japan

Have you ever looked at a house and felt it was looking back? Did the windows, doors and threshold resemble a friendly face? Now that I’m attuned to our subconscious bias for faces, I’m on constant lookout for buildings that … Continue reading

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Planning for People

“First life, then spaces, then buildings–the other way around never works.” Jan Gehl While Boston celebrated the start of the American Revolution on Patriot’s Day this week, the city of Somerville, two miles west, started a different kind of rebellion … Continue reading

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People Need Green Space

In 1970, Joni Mitchell sang “they paved paradise to put up a parking lot” to decry the lack of green space in the built environment. Since then, architects, planners and builders have expanded parking lots, widened highways and removed green … Continue reading

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