The Downside of Building Up: An Exploration into the Psychological and Physiological Impacts of Exposure to High-Rise Buildings
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Cities are densifying at a rapid rate and, accordingly, are constructing high-rise buildings to accommodate more people. The aim of this dissertation was to quantify the physiological and psychological impacts of being in the presence of high-rise buildings. Study 1, which used computer-generated environments and immersive virtual reality, demonstrated that environments populated by high-rise buildings were rated as more oppressive and less open than environments populated by low-rise buildings. In Study 2a, using similar measures, the effects of high-rise buildings a real-world setting in Central London were examined, finding that people rated the high-rise building to be less open and rated themselves to be less happy when exposed to them, as compared to being exposed to the low-rise building. In Study 2b, 360-degree video of the same setting was used in Study 2a and which participants were exposed to using a head mounted device. Participants rated the high-rise building environment to be less open, less friendly and rated themselves to feel less happy and have less sense of control, as compared to low-rise buildings. In Study 3, 360-degree photos were used to examine the effect of distance from high-rise buildings on valence, arousal, sense of control, and openness ratings. Results from Study 3b indicated people were happier, calmer and had a greater sense of control, the further they were from the high-rise. Study 4 examined how exposure to multiple high-rise buildings affected electrodermal activity and valence, arousal, sense of control, and openness. Exposure to high-rise buildings yielded higher electrodermal activity. Taken together, these experiments suggest that exposure to high-rise buildings can have a negative impact on cognition, affect, and physiology. Furthermore, these experiments provide an array of methodologies that can be used to understand the psychological impacts of urban design, a topic which warrants further inquiry as our world continues to urbanize.
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Robin Mazumder (2020). The Downside of Building Up: An Exploration into the Psychological and Physiological Impacts of Exposure to High-Rise Buildings. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/16504