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My research


Mind Map My Research

 I am currently attending the MRes Arts Practice course at Chelsea College of Art and Design under the supervision of the Dr. Paul Ryan and Dr. Malcolm Quinn.

This course offers me the opportunity to develop a major individual research project. Initially I wanted to study how interior design can influence the productivity within an office environment. During my reading sessions in Design Psychology and Environmental Psychology, I realized a neglected part, which was the prison environment. I did not found studies about Youth Detention Centers in the literature of these two fields. I became curious why this subject was neglected. One of the reasons could be that these informations are restricted to the public; still in medical journals researchers can publish the findings they make.

One of the problems of our society is the failure of the prison system; therefore, I decided to investigate further.

Following, I post My Research Proposal.

A Methodological analysis of Environmental Psychology approaches to Institutions for Young Offenders

Research Interest

This research would investigate the effects of the environment on the moods, feelings and behaviors in Youth Detention Centers, more specifically which factors can help with the rehabilitation process or can be a trigger for violent behavior. The overall aim of the research is to study the approaches of the field Environmental Psychology in planning a Youth Detention Center. Environmental Psychology is the study of human behaviors in relation to their environments and vice versa (Kopek, 2006). This study will argue the need for research that establishes scientifically grounded guidelines to help interior designers plan better these environments.

As there are few studies done hitherto in this area, my aim is to try to find the tools for predesign research (PDR) in particular the needs assessments within similar environments; for example the Pediatrics Department within hospital design where children are confined for long periods of time.

My BA in Interior Design, BA in Psychology and the MRes course alerted me to the lack of knowledge in this field.

As Roger S. Ulrich said: …the amount of scientific research to date on psychologically supportive health design is limited, and studies still need to be done on many important issues. For many design questions, there is no sound research yet available (Ulrich, 1991).

Various factors are important; I will give some short examples of relevant discoveries that show how these factors can have an influence on youth. For example, visual stimulants in rooms intended for children are often designed to facilitate learning or play (Kopek, 2006); incidence of child abuse increased significantly, when residential density exceeded 1.5 persons per room (Zuravin, 1986 cited in Kopek, 2006, p.148); reducing visual boundaries by using more windows effectively prevents behavioral problems (Kopek, 2006) compared to Zero Tolerance policies that don’t reduce bullying effectively because they increase the negative feeling (Crawford, 2002 cited in Kopek, 2006, p.199). Visual monotony experienced over a prolonged period, frequently results in physiological and emotion stress, causing anxiety, tension, fear, and psychological ill health (Holahan, 1972). The role of nature in Prison environment is another aspect that I want to research. Views of most natural settings will have stress-reducing influences, whereas views of urban or built settings will tend to impede recuperation, especially if they lack nature content such as vegetation and water (Ulrich 1991).

According to a large-scale study led by Oxford University in 2008, there is a high prevalence of mental illness among incarcerated youth.

 Historical Context

The oldest experiments that have related behavior and environment are within the field of psychology. Psychologists in the 19th Century studied the effects of environmental perception related to light, color, sound and ventilation on behavior primarily within an industrial or school environment. Later, Florian Stefanescu-Goanga in 1911 in Leipzig under the supervision of Wilhelm Wundt studying the emotional color tone which he divided it into excitatory and soothing. Hugo Münsterberg a German-American psychologist asked under what psychological conditions an employer can secure the highest quality output of work by looking at the effects of changing the workspace environment.

Many consider Egon Brunswik the founder of environmental psychology. He first used this term in 1943 to describe the field of human-environment relationship. As an interdisciplinary field, many researchers contributed to environmental psychology e.g.Kurt Lewin (1943) a behavioral geographer and urban sociologist and Roger Baker (1947) an ecological psychologist. Abraham Maslow an American Psychologist; conducted a study in 1956 with photographs of people and found that observers responded more positively to the people photographed when the observers were in well designed rooms and more negatively when the observers were in poorly designed rooms.

 Contemporary Context

Professor Hillary Dalke’s The Colour Design Guide for the National Offender Management Service is a pioneering. It changes the standards for refurbishments in prison environment changing the colour palette and bringing novelty like the use of visuals like paintings in specific areas. Visuals are important in a Youth Detention Center as they stimulate the imagination of children and support their creative play.

Dr. Alan Dilani founded the International Academy for Design and Health (IADH) and published in 2008 the study A Health Promoting Prison Design that reviews literature of approximately 300 articles and other literature, with relevant connection to the physical environment, health, and behavior.

Methodology

During the predesign research (PDR) phase, when compiling the needs assessments a perception survey will be conducted to measure variables using a structured questionnaire. Measurements will use Likert Scale. In addition, interviews of the employees will also be conducted at selected Youth Detention Centre to solicit views from selected respondents especially the ones that spend most of the time with the children. These questionnaires will be developed during my PhD studies. Other data will be gathered from the scientific experiments conducted within hospital design. I will then conduct a small-scale study that will involve the redecoration of an important space for all inhabitants for example the recreation room within a Youth Detention Center. I will evaluate one or two factors like bullying cases or social interaction comparing the data prior with the Post-Occupancy Evaluation (POE). Even though it is a small-scale study, the results are intended to raise the possibility that some factors can have either a rehabilitative or an unhealthful effect. This study will argue the need for research that establishes scientifically grounded guidelines to help interior designers plan better this environments.

Ethical Dimensions of the research 

I will submit any ethical issues to the University’s Ethics Committees, and I will abide by their guidelines and decisions in every respect.

 Work Plan

  • Year one: research training, literature review, to help refine research question. Piloting the tools to be used.
  • Year two: Development of research techniques. Ethics Committee and Home Office procedures for approval. Main empirical phase.
  • Year three: Analysis, supplementary literature review. Completing writing up.

 

Main Study List and Bibliography

Augustin, S. (2009). Place Advantage: Applied Psychology for Interior Architecture.

New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons

Bechtel, R., Churchman, A., eds. (2002). Handbook of Environmental Psychology. Wiley

Bell, P., Greene, T. C., Fishbein, J. D., & Baum, A. (2001). Environmental Psychology (5th Ed.). Harcourt College Publishers

Dalke, H., Littlefair, P. J., & Loe, D. J. (2004). Lighting and Colour for Hospital Design. Funded by NHS Estates. London: The Stationary Office

Dalke, H., HOME OFFICE, The Prison Service (2007). The Colour Design Guide for the    National Offender Management Service. [Internet]. Available from:

<http://fada.kingston.ac.uk/includes/docs/staff/h_dalke/Colour%20Design%20Guide.pdf&gt;

[Accessed 10 February 2012]

David, D. (2010). Florian Ştefănescu-Goangă – Omagiu. [Internet]. Available from <http://danieldavidubb.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/florian-stefanescu-goanga-omagiu/&gt;

[Accessed 21 February 2012]

Dilani, A. (2008). Psychosocially Supportive Design: A Health Promoting Approach on Prison Environments. [Internet]. Available from:

<http://www.designandhealth.com/Media-Publishing/Book-Store.aspx&gt;

[Accessed 10 December 2011]

Fairweather, L., & McConville, S. (2000). Prison architecture: policy, design and experience.

Boston: Architecture Press

Holahan, C. (1972). Seating Patterns and Patient Behaviour in an Experimental Dayroom.  Journal of Abnormal Psychology. [Internet]. vol. 80, no 2, 115-124. Available from:

< http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/abn/80/2/115/>  [Accessed 20 February 2012]

Israel, T. (2003). Some Place Like Home: Using Design Psychology to Create Ideal Places.

John Wiley & Sons

Kopek, D. (2006). Environmental Psychology for Design. Fairchild Publications

Mahnke, F.H. (1996). Color Environment, & Human Response: An Interdisciplinary Understanding of Color and its Use as a Beneficial Element in the Design of the Architectural Environment. Canada: John Wiley&Sons

Maslow, A., Mintz, N. (1956). Effects of aesthetic surroundings: Initial effects of three aesthetic conditions upon perceiving “energy” and “well-being” in faces. Journal of Psychology, 41, 247-254

Ulrich, R. (1986).  Effects of Hospital Environments on Patient Well-Being. Research Report from Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Medicine, Vol. 9, No. 55.

Ulrich, R. S. (1992). Effects of Interior Design on Wellness: Theory and Recent Scientific Research. [Internet]. Vol. 3, pp. 97-109. Available from: <http://www.majorhospitalfoundation.org/pdfs/Effects%20of%20Interior%20Design%20on%20Wellness.pdf > [Accessed 15 February 2012]

Steve Liss, Little Kid Alone,2009

Several states in the USA sentence children age 13 and 14 to life imprisonment without possibility of parole. According to The Equal Justice Initiative, USA is the only country in the world that has such cruel and unusual punishment for children and that it violates the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

I chose to post the following article because it is very important to know the minimum age that a young person is held responsible for committing a crime. The minimum age differs in most of the countries but what I found shocking was that in some countries the minimum age is 6 years old. Prisons today are not a proper environment to help a child rehabilitate and get him back to society. This age is critical in their development as adults. I agree with what professor Nick Tilley, Director of the UCL Security Science Research Training Centre said in one of his lectures punishment is not the solution.

The following article states the age of criminal responsibility in different countries.

The following article is taken from Unicef website

Children below a certain age are too young to be held responsible for breaking the law. That concept is spelled out in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which calls for nations to establish a minimum age “below which children shall be presumed not to have the capacity to infringe the penal law.” But the Convention does not set a specific age, and it varies greatly.

International standards, such as the Beijing Rules for juvenile justice, recommend that the age of criminal responsibility be based on emotional, mental and intellectual maturity and that it not be fixed too low.

The Committee on the Rights of the Child, which monitors countries’ implementation of the Convention, has recommended that the age be guided by the best interests of the child.

In the US, the age of criminal responsibility is established by state law. Only 13 states have set minimum ages, which range from 6 to 12 years old. Most states rely on common law, which holds that from age 7 to age 14, children cannot be presumed to bear responsibility but can be held responsible.

In Japan, offenders below age 20 are tried in a family court, rather than in the criminal court system. In all Scandinavian countries, the age of criminal responsibility is 15, and adolescents under 18 are subject to a system of justice that is geared mostly towards social services, with incarceration as the last resort. As of April 1997, only 15 juveniles were serving a prison sentence in Sweden.

In China, children from age 14 to 18 are dealt with by the juvenile justice system and may be sentenced to life imprisonment for particularly serious crimes.

In most countries of Latin America, the reform of juvenile justice legislation is under way. As a result, the age of adult criminal responsibility has been raised to 18 in Brazil, Colombia and Peru. Children from age 12 to 18 are held responsible under a system of juvenile justice.

The wide variation in age of criminal responsibility reflects a lack of international consensus, and the number of countries with low ages indicates that many juvenile justice systems do not adequately consider the child’s best interests.

Age of criminal responsibility is just one variable influencing how juveniles are treated by justice systems. Other variables include whether there is a separate  juvenile law based on child rights; whether a young person is subject to punitive sanctions or only to socio-educational measures; and whether the country has separate court systems and jails for young people. A juvenile justice system  provides legal protections and an objective standard for treatment. In its absence, young people may be handled by the adult criminal justice system or be held in ‘protective’ custody, where they have no legal protections and may  face arbitrary or harsh treatment.

Age of criminal responsibility
Minimum age at which children are subject to penal law in countries with 10 million or more children under 18 years old

Mexico

*6-12

Bangladesh

7

India

7

Myanmar

7

Nigeria

7

Pakistan

7

South Africa

7

Sudan

7

Tanzania

7

Thailand

7

United States

**7

Indonesia

8

Kenya

8

UK (Scotland)

8

Ethiopia

9

Iran

***9

Philippines

9

Nepal

10

UK (England)

10

UK (Wales)

10

Ukraine

10

Turkey

11

Korea, Rep.

12

Morocco

12

Uganda

12

Algeria

13

France

13

Poland

13

Uzbekistan

13

China

14

Germany

14

Italy

14

Japan

14

Russian Federation

14

Viet Nam

14

Egypt

15

Argentina

16

Brazil

****18

Colombia

****18

Peru

****18

Congo, Dem. Rep.

 *Most states 11 or 12 years; age 11 for federal crimes.
**Age determined by state, minimum age is 7 in most states under common law.
***Age 9 for girls, 15 for boys.
****Official age of criminal responsibility, from age 12 children’s actions are subject to juvenile legal proceedings.
Sources: CRC Country Reports (1992-1996); Juvenile Justice and Juvenile Delinquency in Central and Eastern Europe, 1995; United Nations, Implementation of UN Mandates on Juvenile Justice in ESCAP, 1994; Geert Cappelaere, Children’s Rights Centre, University of Gent, Belgium.

 

 Conclusion   

To be noticed that in Iran the minimum age to be held responsible for breaking the law differs from girls to boys. The girls are punished from 9 years old and the boys only from 15 years old. It would be interesting to question why they punish them differently. The article does not give any information regarding this fact. Another interesting fact is that in Columbia and Brazil which are among the most dangerous countries in the world the criminal responsibility starts from 18 years old. This difference of minimum age for imprisonment in different countries and the sex related difference need further investigation.

Bibliography

EJI (2009) EJI Continues Challenges to Death-in-Prison Sentences for 13- and 14-Year-Old Children [Internet]. Available from <http://eji.org/eji/node/291>%5BAccessed 20 February 2012]

Unicef Old enough to be a criminal?. [Internet]. Available from

<http://www.unicef.org/pon97/p56a.htm>%5BAccessed 20 February 2012]

Research Bureau


Mind map of Research Bureau course

During the first semester, we had a course called Research Bureau, which consisted in a series of lessons with special guest to help us understand better what art and design research is. Among the guests, we had artists and professors that were giving us examples from their own research.

Three courses helped me to gain new knowledge for my research. These were Documents and Archives, Ethics and Research Organization. The rest of the courses were uninformative for my subject. It was fruitful for me to participate at the other lessons as well to see examples of Practice-Led Research, Research-Led Practice in the Creative Arts.

Documents and Archives

During this lesson, Professor Paul Colwell presented us his work Morandi’s Legacy: Influences of British Art. By his examples, he gave us a list of archives that we can use:

×         Library search

×         Museums or Collection search

×         Travel as search method

×         Case studies

×         Interviews

×         Writings

×         Studio practice

×         Curatorial Practice

×         Dissemination as embedded within research

It was interesting to see how different mediums can help you with your research. He went deep into the case study and he travelled to the sites where Morandi painted. Sometimes if necessary, a researcher has to travel if it helps him with his research. An interesting point he made was to search for the most quoted books in our field.

His work was very well structured and I could understand easily his methods. Although, interesting and I learned some new information it was still a studio practice research and not applicable to my work. I realized that if the course had had a guest that made research in design would have helped me understand better how I can construct my methods.

 Ethics

In this lesson, we had as guest Professor Stephen Scrivener. He was very clear about the origins and principles of research ethics and he gave us a few examples from psychology. Most of them were outdated but I understood that he wanted to point out why ethics is so important when we work with people and how we should not call the people who are our interlocutors or interviewees, subjects as once in psychology experiments. He pointed out some mistakes we can do in interviews.

I believe this was an important lesson as during our research we have to know about the rules of the Research Ethics Committee before we plan our methods.

     Continuing my master course, I realized that we only had that one lesson in ethics and I personally could have use more. As research methods, we will only have three lessons about interviews within the Arts Educated Seminar course with Dr Linda Sandino. For my study project, I need more research methods courses. This is lacking for me within the MRes course but as I understood, the artists have to tailor their methods so for the rest of the class a course on research methods would not be necessary.

Research Organization

Professor Oriana Baddeley presented us ways to “couture” our methodology. She told us about the importance of knowing the critical debate in the field. For this, of course we have to be up to date with all relevant articles in our field of inquiry. She exemplified by her own work when studying Latin America when she needed to read a book related to Arab culture to help her understand better the native point of view of a non English writer and how he treats the subject.

I followed with interest the other lessons, which I am not presenting, as they were arts and performance related. Again, I am stating that although uninformative for my project it was interesting to see different research in art and the different ways in which each research finds its path.

Creative Prison

Rideout (Creative Arts for Rehabilitation) is an activist arts group established in 1999 in order to develop innovative, arts-based approaches to working with prisoners and staff within U.K. prisons. They explore the impact of criminal behaviour on offenders, their families and others. Primarily as they say, this is achieved by working with offenders, looking at the causes and consequences of the actions that have led them to prison.

The programmes that interest me most are the ones that as they have described on their website analyse the offending behaviour researching the personal histories of the inmate.

They use a similar method as Design Psychology methods for analyzing the data, to be able to create health-promoting interiors for the offenders. In order to do that you need to know a lot of information about the occupants of that space, their wishes and needs during their stay in prison. This organization can raise awareness on the conditions the actual inmates are jailed and how artist, architects and designers can work together to make better and more efficient environments for the prisoners.

More information available at http://www.rideout.org.uk/purpose.aspx

Creative Prison

Rideout (2007) Creative Prison Project, 3D drawing

Inmate sketch for visitors centre

On their website, they wrote the following lines related to Creative Prison project: The idea for the Creative Prison project was born partly out of private frustration, and partly out of acknowledgment of a public failure. The failure is the failure of the prison system in the U.K. Working within prisons one is constantly coming up against the problem of space – a lack of it, and poor design. Recognising that the large majority of our prisons were built for an earlier idea of criminal justice in which punishment was everything, we became interested in talking to prison staff and prisoners about what a different kind of prison might look like. This imagined prison would place rehabilitation and education at its centre.

They teamed up with architect Will Aslop and sculptor Jon Ford for this project. They selected the inmates of HMP Gartree prison in Liecestershire to participate at the design process. The prisoners were asked to design their fantasy prison through various exercises and after Will Aslop draw from those ideas a fictional facility.

The results were showed in an exhibition called “Creative Prison” at the Yard Gallery of the Architecture Foundation in London. The exhibition comprised the designs of Will Aslop, sculptural interpretation of the designs made by the inmates under the guidance of sculptor Jon Ford, a short film showing the interior of the imagined prison and another video of Shona Illingworth showing a more actual representation of the prison environment.

This project is a benchmark for the projects to come related to prison design as it takes in consideration the desires of the inhabitants and their wishes. It does not base the planning on a standardized way that some professionals think it is the right way. Of course, this was a fantasy project; still we can learn from it and start working with inmates themselves to achieve more humane solutions to accommodate them. It would be interesting to do a similar one with the children jailed in Youth Detention Centres as the children have different need and if asked to participate from the puzzle that they will draw we can subtract some important information about their needs that most of the time are neglected. This project was interesting but cannot be put in practise so if we get inspired from it maybe we will design better prisons in the future.

The biggest issue is that lot of prisons are managed by private corporations so the profit comes first. There is only one conference where the developers meet every year and each time is held in a different country Prison Planning, Design and Development Conference. The entrance is exclusive for specialists and very expensive. It would be interesting if they would involve architecture and design schools to participate to projects. A few days workshops for the student in design and architecture meeting with Crime Science students might produce some interesting ideas for the developers.

Bibliography

Finoki, B. (2007) Fantasy Psison.[Internet] Available at: <http://subtopia.blogspot.com/2007/02/fantasy-prison.html>%5BAccessed 21 February 2012]

<http://www.rideout.org.uk/creative_prison.aspx>%5BAccessed 21 February 2012]

<http://www.rideout.org.uk/purpose.aspx&gt; [Accessed 21 February 2012]


During the first semester my colleagues and me were engaged in a project ‘Art and Design Research: Where Do I Start?’ that we were to develop into a symposium and organize a presentation. The location of the symposium was the Green Room at Chelsea College of Art and Design and we had as a keynote speaker Dr Sophia Lycouris, Reader, and Director of Graduate Research School, Edinburgh College of Art. Each of us had to present something that inspired us from the research journal so we divided the subject among us as follows:

Loredana Todor:  Research Organization

Helen Turner:  Innovative Art Research: Digital Media

Jina Lee:  Reseacher as Archivist

Lydia Parusol:  Ethics in Art & Design Research

Katie Elliott:  On Liveness & Theatrical Bodies

Shabnam Ranjbar and Sophia Demetriou:  Studio Practice

Sharon Phelps:  Exhibiting Research: ‘The Indiscipline of Painting’ at Tate St Ives

Emily Ludolf:  Art research in context

My task was to make the flash presentation for everybody so the presentation would look like a whole. I chose for the first page a notice board design as we still pin down answers to this question.

Presentation page of the Symposium

For the menu page I chose to design a women’s head as all of us student in the MRes course this year are women.This head had it’s ‘wheels’ running when she thinks of answering the question Art and Design Research: Where Do I Start? All of us could start from different point. Sophia Demetriou starts from her practice as a sculptor while I start from my field of Inquiry.

 

Menu Page

The Menu page

My part of the presentation was Research Organization and I will post it here as many researchers might start from the field of inquiry as I did.

Slide 1

Mind Map

Mind Map for Research Organization

I chose to make a mind map of the Research Organization to show better a few and important sub points like:

  • Know your field of inquiry
  • Related disciplines
  • Critical debate in the field
  • Couture your methodology
  • Using non-related disciplines books
  • Analyze your research materials

 

Slide 2

Field of inquiry

Pictures of students

The most important prerequisite when doing research is to know well you field of inquiry (in my case is Design Psychology) and the related disciplines. By doing so, you will find unexplored areas that need further investigation.

Slide 3

Critical debate in the field

You have to know the critical debate in the field. What are the different positions that experts take on the latest discoveries made in your field. How they debate it and what is your point of view regarding the subject.

You have to develop the most important skill. This is the ability to think critically about your research subject and to present a well-constructed argument. It may take some time to arrive at your final position. Along the way, it may seem that there is good evidence to support many alternative points of view. You may feel that everything you read sounds right  or that nothing sounds right. However, at some point, you hope to arrive at your own research question to explore further.

 

Slide 4

 Large amount of information

Usually in the beginning of your research, you will find out that there are multiple ways to do your research and sometimes it can be confusing. You will have to leave yourself the possibility to follow different directions.

Slide 5

‘Couture’ your methodology

You will than, have to ‘Couture’ your methodology to you research. ‘Couture’ your methodology is a term I borrowed from Professor Oriana Baddeley that I loved. It means to tailor the methodology in a way that is suitable for your research.

Slide 6

Non-related discipline books

Orientalism and The Craftsman Book Covers

Sometimes a way to find your research path may even include discoveries while reading books from non-related disciplines.

For example, Professor Oriana Baddeley told us that for her work studying The Art of Ancient Mexico she read Orientalism by Edward W. Said to help her understand better how Europeans may have misinterpreted the Mexican artifacts when they discovered them.

Another example is that of Marion McLaren a guest we had in one of our lessons. She told us that she read a book outside her expected bibliography, a book she found in her local bookstore and that the book opened up many directions for her. The book is The Craftsman by Richard Sennett.

In my case the movie The Town (2010)* directed by Ben Affleck made me think more about the history of the youth that have problems with the law. Mostly the environments they grow in, the houses they lived in and the schools they have attended before becoming juvenile offenders.

* One blue-collar Boston neighbourhood has produced more bank robbers and armored car thieves than anywhere in the world. “Bank robbery became like a trade in Charlestown passed down father to son.” Federal agent – Boston Robbery Task Force.

“I’m proud to be from Charleston. It ruined my life, literally, but I’m proud”. Charleston Man – Boston Globe

In the film The Town (2010, 00.50 mins.)

Christopher Day wrote in 1990 in his book Places of the Soul: Architecture and Environmental Design as a Healing Art: Surrounded by harsh hardness, the aesthetic sensitivities, and with them the moral discernments are blunted. Surrounded, as most of the time, by lifeless man-made mater is no wonder that the attitude of trying what you can get has grown so strong that is even enshrined politically...It is no wonder that places like this (referring to the picture below) have become notorious for their crime rate. The issue is less that of easy opportunity, but of faceless, depersonalized, uncaring, insensitive harshness.

Slide 7

 Explore your research material

Computer desktop

Sometimes just by exploring your research materials you discover new relationships, or issues/key points to help you with your research.

You can do it on the computer as most of us do but sometimes is more effective to lay all the printed materials on the floor and try to reorganize them in categories. This exercise can make you spot missing links and help you come up with new associations and ideas in your research.

Slide 8

Mind mapping everything

To conclude, in my experience even though we may have skills for organizing our research, it is best to make mind maps* for every stage of it to make sure we are not letting out some important parts. Mind maps will change during the process of research as we come up with new ideas but we will have a base to go to, should we need to.

* Tony Buzan is the most famous proponent of the techniques of Mind Mapping. A mind map can be handmade or generated by a computer and it looks like a diagram with words, ideas, drawings arranged around a central key word or idea. All the information is intertwined.

Design Psychology

Design Psychology is one of the fields I study and it is defined as the practice of architecture, planning, and interior design in which psychology is the principal design tool.

This interdisciplinary field had its conception only in 2000 being a relatively new field. Its founders are Dr Toby Israel and Dr Susan Lee Painter. The purpose of Design Psychology, says Dr Toby Israel is to create environments that reflect the individual or group as well as encourage positive change.

Dr Toby Israel is an environmental/design psychologist and has over 25 years of experience in design, psychology, the arts, and education. In 2003, she published a book entitled:  Some Place like Home: Using Design Psychology to Create Ideal Places. In this book, she introduces the new field, using in-depth interviews with famous designers and architects to examine how places from the past contain the seeds of future choices for home locations, dwellings, and interior design. The last part of the book she focuses on practical application of Design Psychology by showing examples of residential, corporate, and institutional projects created via the Design Psychology process. This book is the only one published hitherto in the field.

This new field can help architects and designers have a better understanding of the emotions, feelings and the memories that places we inhabit trigger. By understanding better these principles and by developing better ways of analysing the occupants of spaces we can plan better interiors. Designers and architects have to be more aware of the psychological and social dimension of the places they are designing. Here I can give an example where even great architects sometimes forget to calculate the impact of the building on the population and how a design can prologue trauma and not promote healing. The project called Thinking Big – A Plan for Ground Zero and Beyond, commissioned by New York Times with its architecture critic Herbert Muschamp as curator, involved 15 famous architects that were asked to rebuild ground zero in New York. Peter Eisenman an american architect proposed the building of three office towers that looked like partly collapsed structures.

Peter Eisenman, 2002, Office towers proposal

In the NYT Flash Presentation of the project Eisenman described the buildings like this: You get the effect of …a moment of frozen time, where the buildings are collapsing, and what we tried to do was record in the buildings that moment, a moment of impact on the surrounding buildings that would be recorded as part of the memorial. He forgot to think that having this project built they would actually froze the first 24 hours. As a comment to such project, Toby Israel affirmed that these buildings would enshrine and extend our trauma rather than heal the American psyche. And she concluded with a question: How could designers come to propose such a disjuncture between people and places?

Dr. Susan Painter is a developmental psychologist and designer psychologist and is a principal at Forrest Painter Design, a Venice, California Design Psychology practice. She teaches a Human Factors in Design course at UCLA. The course focuses on teaching the designers to fulfil the psychological needs of clients and users of space, rather than simply using aesthetic factors to serve as the basis for design. The students learn how to observe and they learn interview methods derived from psychological research to find out how people really use space. This is particularly important in the design of schools, hospitals, residential communities for the elderly, and other projects where people are under high levels of stress.

Design Psychology is an important field because it sets a benchmark for new methods in interior design. My research involves the designing of Youth Detention Centres; the recent methods from Design Psychology cannot be applied in this project but can give an example of how the interrelation between the methods used in psychology, and interior design intertwine.

Because of ethics considerations I cannot interview the young from the Youth Detention Centres or the workers there. I will focus more on research already done in hospital design and the design of schools that can be applied to Youth Detention Centres as well.

 

Bibliography

<http://www.designpsychology.net/dpsycho.html>%5BAccessed 20 February 2012]

Eisenman, P. (2002) The Master’s plan. The New York Times [Internet] Available from:

<http://www.nytimes.com/packages/html/magazine/20020908_911_PLAN/>%5BAccesed 20 February 2012]

<http://www.forrestpainterdesign.com/FPD/Home.html>%5BAccessed 20 February 2012]

Israel, T. (2003) Some Place Like Home: Using Design Psychology to Create Ideal Places. John Wiley & Sons.

Colour psychology


Whornwell, P. & Carruthers, H. The Colors We Feel Graphic

Color psychology studies the effects of color on mood, emotion and behavior.

The influence of color on our moods and emotions is being studied since the beginning of the 20th century. The Romanian psychologist Florian Stefanescu-Goanga under the supervision of Wilhelm Wundt conducted an experiment in Leipzig during 1908-1911. This experiment became his PhD thesis and it was titled Experimentelle Untersuchungen zur Gefühlsbetonung der Farben (Experimental studies on the emotional tone of the colors). In the study, he divided colors into excitatory and soothing. The study had a great success at that time being published not only in Germany but also in France, URSS and USA.

The renowned American color authority Faber Birren made relevant studies on colour. The ones I am interested for my research are Color Psychology and Color Theory (1950) and Color and Human Response (1978). He once wrote: The story of color is almost the story of civilization itself.

A more recent book published is Color Environment, & Human Response: An Interdisciplinary Understanding of Color and its Use as a Beneficial Element in the Design of the Architectural Environment  by Frank H. Mahnke (1996). The author is President of the IACC – International Association of Color Consultant/Designers since 1988. The book is a guide for interior designers and architects discussing the psychological and physiological effects of color, light, and the human reactions to the built environment. It includes information and studies on different spaces including Health Care Facilities, Mental Health Centers and Psychiatric Hospitals. I am interested in hospital design and in particular the human response to environment when confined in a place for a long time. Most of the studies relating a confined person and it’s responses to the environment have been conducted within Health Care Facilities on patients that needed hospitalization for longer periods.

Psychological Impact of Color on Young Offenders

For my research, I am interested how color psychology can help in the rehabilitation process of young offenders. I aim to investigate how environmental color relates to states of mind and the emotional reactions such as stimulation, calm or depression, the levels of energy or exhaustion and the role of color in treatment of physical and mental illnesses.

The most recent study done for colour in UK within the prison environment is the one made by Professor Hilary Dalke The Colour Design Guide for the National Offender Management Service for the Home Office. The project started in 2001 and it lasted five years. It is a guide for architects and designers with the new colours and materials that can be used in prison environments. The study included the refurbishment of 12 prisons from which only one was a Youth Detention Centre. This study is a major achievement as it helped with the change in the colours and materials architects and designers can use in these facilities. The ‘wood effect’ flooring described by prisoners interviewed as ‘normal’ is permitted after this study. I do not have access to this study to know more about it so it is impossible for me to analyse the changes it brings to Youth Detention Centres.

The colour palette for children is very different than the one used for adults. When I think of an ideal place for children, I think of the movie Toys with Robin Williams. The paintings of Fortunato Depero can inspire us as they inspired Ferdinando Scarfiotti the Production Designer of the film. Alternatively, we can get inspired by the style of Theo van Doesburgin his design of Ciné-dancing in L’Aubette, Strasbourg. We have to be cautious with strong colours , but this can be used in specific areas or in small areas of a space especially in children spaces.

Fortunato Depero

Corteo della gran bambola

1920

Theo van Doesburg

Ciné-dancing (cinema-dance hall; also called Grande Salle or Ciné-bal) in L’Aubette, Strasbourg,

executed 1927-1928,

restored 1989-1994

 

 

Bibiography

 Birren (1963 cited in Mahnke, 1996, pp.29)

Dalke, H., HOME OFFICE, The Prison Service (2007). The Colour Design Guide for the    National Offender Management Service. [Internet]. Available from: <http://fada.kingston.ac.uk/includes/docs/staff/h_dalke/Colour%20Design%20Guide.pdf&gt; [Accessed 10 February 2012]

David, D. (2010)Florian Ştefănescu-Goangă – Omagiu [Internet] Available from <http://danieldavidubb.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/florian-stefanescu-goanga-omagiu/&gt; [Accessed 21 February 2012]

Mahnke, F.H. (1996) Color Environment, & Human Response: An Interdisciplinary Understanding of Color and its Use as a Beneficial Element in the Design of the Architectural Environment. Canada: John Wiley&Sons

Toys (1992) Directed by Barry Levinson. Twentieth Century Fox: USA [Video: DVD]