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Fostering social interactions within communal spaces within high-rise residential buildings on UBC Campus Daneshpanah, Sepideh; Li, Peixian (Ariel); Grover, Raghav Apr 28, 2015

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 UBC Social Ecological Economic Development Studies (SEEDS) Student ReportAriel Peixian, Raghav Grover, Sepideh DaneshpanahFostering Social Interactions within Communal Spaces within High-Rise Residential Buildings on UBC CampusAPSC 598GApril 28, 201511761763University of British Columbia Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS Program provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or a SEEDS team representative about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report”.1Table of ContentsExecutive Summary............................................................................................................................. 2Acknowledgements ............................................................................................................................. 31 Introduction................................................................................................................................... 41.1 Objectives ........................................................................................................................................ 42 Literature Review ........................................................................................................................ 53 Research Approach...................................................................................................................... 83.1 Methodology and Instrumentation ................................................................................................. 84 Building Analysis........................................................................................................................104.1 Ponderosa Commons..................................................................................................................... 114.1.1 Discussion............................................................................................................................... 144.2 Marine Drive Residence ................................................................................................................. 164.2.1 Discussion............................................................................................................................... 194.3 Walter Gage Residence.................................................................................................................. 214.3.1 Discussion............................................................................................................................... 254.4 Academy Tower ............................................................................................................................. 274.4.1 Discussion............................................................................................................................... 304.5 Sitka Tower .................................................................................................................................... 314.5.1 Discussion............................................................................................................................... 335 Conclusions ..................................................................................................................................355.1 Indoor Air Quality .......................................................................................................................... 355.2 Thermal Comfort............................................................................................................................ 375.3 Acoustics Comparison.................................................................................................................... 385.4 Lighting .......................................................................................................................................... 395.5 Layout, Colors and Texture, Cleanliness, Seating and Access ........................................................ 415.6 External Factors ............................................................................................................................. 426 Recommendations for Developers.......................................................................................447 Limitations and FutureWork.................................................................................................468 References ....................................................................................................................................479 Appendix A-­‐ Ponderosa Commons .......................................................................................4810 Appendix B-­‐Marine Drive....................................................................................................5211 Appendix C-­‐Gage Towers.....................................................................................................5712 Appendix D-­‐Academy Towers............................................................................................6213 Appendix E-­‐Sitka Towers ....................................................................................................652Executive SummaryHigh-­‐rise residential buildings are becoming more and more common nowadays, be it in theUBC campus or in many of the cities around the World. Past research suggests that living inhigh-­‐rise buildings adversely affects people’s satisfaction level and social relations. High-­‐riseresidences also tend to generate many negative outcomes such as fear, dissatisfaction,behavioural problems, reduced helpfulness, poor social relations and hindered childdevelopment. The common spaces in these buildings have the potential to address these issuesby creating a feeling of community and bringing people together. These are the spaces whichare open to all building residents and can be used by people to sit, study, have a conversation,hold events, and for many other social uses. In this project we examined how the designfeatures and Indoor Environment Quality (IEQ) factors of these spaces affect the socialinteractions occurring in these spaces.In this project the social common space in 5 different high rise buildings were analyzed, 3 ofwhich are UBC student residences buildings: Marine Drive, Ponderosa Commons and WalterGage and the other two are strata owned Academy and Sitka towers. We adopted threeapproaches to study these buildings: Observations of design features and physicalmeasurements of IEQ features, On-­‐site Observations and Interviews and Survey Questionnaires.The research team spent approximately 8 hours in each of these spaces and observed andmeasured its design and Indoor Environmental Quality features such as lighting, thermalcomfort, indoor air quality and acoustics. We also observed the use of the space andinterviewed people. The survey conducted in received a response rate of around 10% fromeach building and providing us with some useful insights of occupant’s needs and satisfactionlevels. We conducted a descriptive analysis on our collected data and have been able to findsome interesting conclusions and useful recommendation for the developers of these buildings.In general, we found that there is not a clear direct correlation between the design features,IEQ factors and the social interactions that occur in these spaces. However, somerecommendations can be logically deduced from our findings which are applicable to buildingssimilar to the buildings studied in this project. These conclusions and recommendations havebeen described in detail in the report.There exists a huge scope for further expanding on this study by studying more number ofbuildings and different common spaces in these buildings such as garbage sorting area andwashing rooms. In the last section of the report we have explained the limitations of this studyand some suggestions for future work.3AcknowledgementsWe would like to thank our course coordinator, Dr. Steven Rogak, for his continuous supportand guidance throughout this project. We also sincerely thank Dr. Karen Bartlett and Dr.Murray Hodgson, without their instrumentation support and critical feedback this projectcouldn’t have been completed. We thank Helen Lui, the client, and Hannah Brash, the projectcoordinator from UBC SEEDS for their support. We are also grateful to the building managers inthese 5 buildings, who provided the access, drawings for the buildings and emailed the surveysto building occupants.41 IntroductionThis case study project focuses on the relationship between building design and socialinteractions in communal spaces in high-­‐rise residential buildings. The design and indoorenvironment quality (IEQ) features of a space may influence the quantity and quality of socialinteractions between building residents as well as other users of the space. This researchproject will focus on assessing the design and indoor environmental quality features in fiveexisting high-­‐rise residential buildings on UBC campus: Walter Gage, Ponderosa Commons,Marine Drive (UBC Student Residences), Academy and Sitka Towers (Strata Owned CondoTowers). The spaces were selected after meetings with the respective building managers anddiscussions on the design ideology behind these spaces. The selected spaces have similarfunctions and are common spaces for use by building residents.1.1 ObjectivesThe main objectives of this study are:• To identify and assess the interactions taking place in the communal spaces anddetermine if and how the design features of the space affect social interactions.• To understand the impact of the Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) factors on theresidents use of the space.• To provide recommendations for future design of common spaces, in high-­‐riseresidential buildings, aimed at fostering social interactions in common spaces.52 Literature ReviewThe history of high-­‐rises may be traced back to the pyramids of Egypt (48 storey high) and thetower of Babel. However, people did not build any tall structures until the late 1600s.Therefore, living more than a few storeys up is a recent phenomenon. The social scienceapproach to architecture can be dated to middle 1960s. Also the perception of beauty can betraced to 2500 years ago (Gifford 2007).Gifford in his review in 2007 states that living in high-­‐rises have many negative outcomes suchas fear, dissatisfaction, behavioural problems, reduced helpfulness, poor social relations andhindered child development. On the other hand, tall buildings have smaller footprints leavingmore room for parks and green spaces. However, these green spaces are under-­‐controlled.High-­‐rises have easier access to transportation, are less noisy on the upper levels, havecontrolled entrances and have access to cleaner air in the higher levels. He mentions that theoutcomes of living in a high-­‐rise depend on various non-­‐building related factors, named“moderating factors”. These factors can be either associated with residents or context(environmental and neighbourhood).So far, five general methodological approaches have been used in research:1) Case study of one high-­‐rise (satisfaction or helping behaviour)2) Comparing high-­‐rises with low-­‐rise without considering moderating factors3) Comparing numerous high-­‐rises with numerous low-­‐rises considering at least somepotential moderators4) Comparing numerous high-­‐rises with numerous low-­‐rises considering many potentialmoderators5) Longitudinal design, assessing changes in the same group of residents over time (Gifford2007)Gifford believes that no study of high-­‐rises have met all the requirements of a true experiment,therefore no certain conclusions may be drawn. He thinks that to carry out such investigation isvery difficult and often researchers are forced to use non-­‐optimal research designs.Gifford in 2007 concludes that the literature suggests that living in high-­‐rise buildings adverselyaffects people’s satisfaction level and social relations. It is also found that it is not optimal forchildren, and the crime and fear of crime is higher. It is also probable that living in suchbuildings account for some of the suicides. He studied the influence of high-­‐rise buildingssatisfaction, preferences, social behavior, crime and fear of crime, children, mental health andsuicide. In his review, he accounted for moderating factors such as the socioeconomic status ofthe residents, their ability to choose a housing form, their stage of life, parenting, gender,neighbours and indoor intensity. He also concludes that living in high-­‐rises have differentconsequences, a few may be caused by the building itself and many are moderated by non-­‐6architectural factors. He also suggests that no solid conclusions can be drawn from theliterature as true experiments are impossible in housing research and are determined bymultiple factors. He stated that many but not all of the residents are more satisfied by low-­‐risesthan high-­‐rise buildings. High-­‐rises are found to be more pleasant for residents when they aremore expensive, located in better neighborhoods, and residents chose to live in them.Children’s outdoor activities are restricted in high-­‐rises or leaving them unsupervised causingbehavioural issues. Residents in high-­‐rises have fewer friendships and help each other less.Crime and fear of crime is higher and a small number of suicides may be associated with livingin tall buildings.In 2008, Amole conducted a study on residential satisfaction in students’ housing in Nigeria. Hespecifically examined the morphological configurations of the halls of residence and how itaffects residential satisfaction. He obtained the data from a closed-­‐ended self-­‐administeredquestionnaire distributed to a sample of 1124 respondents from all the halls of residences infour residential universities in South-­‐western Nigeria. The data included the objective andsubjective measures of the physical, social and management attributes of the halls ofresidences. The objective variables included the configuration of the halls, number of persons inthe bedroom, presence or absence of reading room, common room, kitchenette and a balcony.The subjective variables that Amole considered were comfort, bedroom furnishing, privacy inbedroom, the sanitary facilities, kitchenette, design and the location of the hall. Attitudes weremeasured on a scale from very poor to very good. The demographic variables were alsoincluded in the data obtained through the questionnaire. The variables were sex, age, level ofstudy, length of stay, and economic status. The data were analyzed using frequencies, factoranalysis and categorical regression. He found more than half (53%) of the respondentsdissatisfied with their residences in terms of their social qualities of the residences, especially,the social densities, the kitchenette, bathroom and storage facilities and some demographiccharacteristics of the students. On the other hand, the length of the hall was found to be apredictor of satisfaction (Amole 2009).Holahan in 1976 measured and compared the social behaviour in three contrasting sites in alow-­‐income neighborhood. The three sites were: old neighborhood of low-­‐rise tenant houses, atraditional high-­‐rise housing project, and an innovatively designed high-­‐rise housing project. Allthe three sites were comparable in age, size, socio-­‐economic status and racial background ofresidents. He found the old neighborhood to have the highest levels of outdoor socializing. Heused behavioural mapping to conduct this study, and collected data in each site on threeSaturday afternoons during summer. He measured 5 min time-­‐sample of the social behavior ofa sample of individuals outdoors, and also did a profile of the range of activities based on asingle observation of each individual. The behavioral mapping method that was used in thisstudy consisted of recording the number of individuals engaged in each of the behaviour types7on each site. A list of behavioral categories was selected through initial observations. Theyouth, below age 20, and adults were studied separately. Interactions were categorized asverbal and nonverbal (Holahan 1976).A study of informal learning space measured acoustical characteristics and architecturalfeatures that may influence people’s satisfaction of the space, which was captured from asurvey of 850 students (Scannell et al. 2014). It was found that more vegetation, the presenceof soft furnishings, and lower seating density increased some components of perceivedsuitability and well-­‐being. We will investigate these design features in our study.Another study done in high-­‐rise housing in Taiwan investigated the relation between thecourtyard design of high-­‐rise housing complexes and the social interactions (Huang 2006). Anon-­‐site observation approach was used in this study on three high-­‐rise residential buildings. Thedata collected through observations included the number of users, gender, age range,movement flow, location of activity and the type of activity (social or non-­‐social). To identifysocial activities, the researchers referred to the observable interactions amongst residentsincluding nodding, talking and friendly physical contact. The results indicated that the scenicand activity spaces had the highest percentage of social interactions.Some of the past studies done to study social interactions in cohousing units provide someuseful insights into the communal spaces. In terms of their position in the layout of thecommunity, facilities need to be central (Fromm 1991; McCamant and Durrett 1994)andaccessible (Fromm 1991; Hazzeh 1999; McCamant and Durrett 1994). As key activity sites,communal facilities should be placed on shared pathways within residential areas to maximizesocial interactions (McCamant and Durrett 1994). Visibility of communal facilities is alsoimportant to increase opportunities for surveillance, thus increasing use and opportunities forsocial interaction (Fromm 1991; Hazzeh 1999; McCamant and Durrett 1994).83 Research ApproachOn the basis of the literature review, it was concluded that some of the methods that can beadopted to study the social interactions are on-­‐site observations, survey questionnaires andinterviews. The important design features and IEQ factors for study were also developedthrough the literature review and discussion with Dr. Karen Bartlett who is a professor at theSchool of Population and Public Health at UBC and with Dr. Murray Hodgson who is a professorin the department of mechanical engineering at UBC. The following design features wereselected:• Lighting (natural and artificial)• Indoor air quality (CO2, Ultrafine particulate matter)• Background noise level• Thermal comfort (Wet and dry bulb temperatures, head vs. foot temperature, Relativehumidity, Radiant temperature)3.1 Methodology and InstrumentationThis research project has been divided into three different phases:1) Design and IEQ Feature Assessment: Initially the design features of the space and IEQfactors such as lighting, acoustic, indoor air quality, layout and thermal comfort weremeasured both quantitatively and qualitatively through real-­‐time measurements. Tomeasure the indoor environmental quality of the spaces, the following devices wereused:• Lighting: Lux meter to measure average lighting level in the space• Indoor air quality: Q-­‐track to measure CO2 levels and P-­‐track to measure ultrafineparticulate matter• Background noise level: Noise level meter to measure the background noise levelwhen the space is occupied• Thermal comfort: Questemp to measure wet and dry bulb temperature, globetemperature and relative humidity2) On-­‐site observation and interviews: During this phase each of the spaces was observedover a few hours distributed between weekday/weekend and day/night to identify thequantity and quality of the social interactions taking place in the space. In addition,short interviews with more open-­‐ended questions were asked during observationperiods.93) Survey Questionnaire: A survey questionnaire was developed with the objective ofcapturing occupants’ opinions on the Indoor Environment Quality (IEQ) of thesecommon spaces and their user of this space. Most of the questions in the survey werestructured asking about the occupants rating on the various IEQ factors based on aLikert scale (1-­‐7) where 1 represents Highly Dissatisfied and 7 represents HighlySatisfied. These questions were taken from the Occupant IEQ Survey developed at theCentre of Built Environment at UC Berkley (Zagreus et al. 2004)In addition to questionson IEQ, the survey had questions related to occupant’s use of the space for socialinteractions and also had some open ended questions asking people’s opinions on whatthey would like to change about the space. The survey was prepared in Google Formsand sent out via email to all the occupants. It was open for one week and a reminderwas sent out in the middle of the week.Once the data collection was complete, the on-­‐site measurements and observations data wascompared with the data obtained from the surveys and interviews. A descriptive analysisapproach was used to co-­‐relate the data and arrive at logical deductions.114.1 Ponderosa CommonsPonderosa Commons phase 1 consists of 3 buildings, while not all of them are UBC Residenceowned. Phase 2, where the common spaces are supposed to be, is under construction. So thereis no specifically designed social space in existing Ponderosa buildings. The space that wasstudies is the lobby in Arbutus Lounge in Ponderosa Buildings, which includes a casual sittingarea and a study area, as showed in Figure 4.1. Figure 4.2 shows the plan of the lobby, wherepink arrows indicate natural movement of people in the space. All the measurements andobservation data are illustrated in Appendix A.12Figure 4.1. Common spaces in PonderosaFigure 4.2. Arbutus lobby Plan13In the evening, the lighting is a big issue in Ponderosa. On the first day of measurement, theartificial lighting was below 100 lux on average. Although it was brighter on the second day, butstill it was not suitable for study. And some of the lights were not on, making the lobby dim.Figure 4.3 is the picture taken on March 16th.Figure 4.3. Lightings in Arbutus lobbyIn the day, the curtain walls allow much sunlight in. The illuminance level is not even distributedthroughout the space. The good thing is that the blinds on the south façade are controllable toavoid straight sunshine. Other observations of the internal and external factors are attached inAppendix A.During our on-­‐site observations, very little interactions and group studying were observed inthis space as can be concluded from Table 4.1. During the observation period, two people werestudying and four groups of people had short (under 10 minutes) conversations. Theinteractions were mostly casual talking. As can be observed from Table 4.1, a total of 5interactions were observed during approximately 6 hours of observation. The average time foreach conversation was around 12 minutes. The on-­‐site social interactions observation data hasbeen attached in Appendix A.According to interviews with people, it was found that people like the windows and opennessof the space as well as its quietness. However, they were dissatisfied with the small number oftables and outlets, poor lighting, dark colors, size of the space being too small, no close accessto food or drinks, and access to the space (two key cards are needed which makes it hard toenter if you have your hand full). Interviews show that people use this space for studying duringexams; also some social gatherings are organized in this space.The total number of responses for this survey was 29. The results indicated residents use thisspace mostly for general discussion and rarely for academic discussions. The average time spentby occupant in this space per day is around 10.46 minutes. As per the survey most of theoccupants have their conversations at the couches, chairs, near the elevator and the table area.The occupants in this building were not very satisfied with the air quality and seating in this14space. In comparison to other buildings, the occupants were least satisfied with the variousdesign features and IEQ factors of this space as can be seen from Table 4.2. The other findingsfrom the survey are summarized in Appendix A.Some of the insightful comments in the survey from residents are mentioned below:“I would like the study space to be separate from the couches and the couch/ tv area to be moreinteresting and comfortable. It would be nice for that space to make me want to spend timethere. The study space is the only time I am downstairs.”“Open the stairs so that people can walk upstairs. Have floor lounges on every floor like in firstyear residences or else we don't even see anyone.”“Add more chairs! Also increase lighting level, as at the evening you literally can't stay therebecause your eyes hurt from the dim light. Also way too often there is some vent turned on, itmakes too much of nice [sic] and the space is too cold (windy??) because of it, makes itunpleasant to stay there :(““It is unfortunate that I have to walk to Marine Drive Commons to study, socialize, recharge mylaundry card, pick up mail, etc. etc. Also, there is a lingering garbage room scent more than 50%of the time due to bad ventilation and close proximity to the garbage room”“Having a lounge beside a study space is not a good idea. I don't feel comfortable havingconversations when people are trying to study!”“There have been weeks at a time where it smells for days, not just one hour out of one day.When it's like this, I barely want to be in that space, let alone socialize in it. Also, the acousticsare a bit loud, so if I want to have a private conversation, I obviously wouldn't do it there. Ifthere's lots of people studying, it can also get a bit noisy.”“During the winter when I was seating in the desk area behind the elevators, it was too cold tostudy even with all the windows closed.”4.1.1 Discussiona) Space ConflictThere is a conflict in this space between the lounge and the study space, both of whichare combined into one. As suggested by the survey the satisfaction of the residents ofthe residents with the general layout is 4.17 and the comments state that people aregenerally do not feel comfortable in having a conversation here when people arestudying. As a result even though the lounge is beautifully designed with comfortablecouches and a TV, it is rarely used by the residents for social interactions. This issupported by our observation data where the space was mostly being used as a studyspace.15b) Air QualityThe ventilation system in this space was not very effective as during our observationswe noticed a bad smell in the space. As indicated by the feedback of the residents, thepoor air quality of this space is one the most interfering factor with their use of thespace and it has a rating of 3.79, which is the lowest amongst the other factors. Theresidents have also complained about this “garbage” smell in their comments about thisspace.c) Seating AreaAs per our observation this area had comfortable couches and seating, but the totalnumber of seating was 18 which is low considering the number of residents who live inthis building (605) The seating area in this space got a rating of 3.9 and this is mainlybecause the residents need more seating in this space especially for study purposes.Overall, the seating area in this space is one of the most enhancing design features ofthis space which encourages use of this space for social interactions.d) Thermal ComfortThe observations indicate a temperature of 20.5 degrees in late summer evenings,which is inside the thermal comfort zone of people. However in winter it is anticipatesthat the place gets cold due to its low wall/window ratio. This can also be ascertainedfrom the survey results, as thermal comfort is one of the important factors thatinterfere with residents’ use of this space, which has also been mentioned by theresidents in their comments.e) LightingThis space has poor lighting especially during the night, and the dark wall colors furtherreduces the light in this space. The satisfaction rating of the lighting is 4.62 and thecomments of the residents suggest that the low lighting in this space interferes withtheir use of this space for academic purposes.f) AcousticsThe acoustics of this space has also been voted as an interfering factor for the use of thisspace, the satisfaction level for noise is 4.03. However, the observed noise level of 56.3dBA is low because during our observations there were not many people using thespace. The low ratings for the noise level are probably due to lack of sound absorbingsurfaces in this area and also there are some construction sites very near to this space.The low wall/window ratio also results in less sound absorption.g) Natural DaylightingThe abundance of natural daylighting and the large windows in this space were some ofthe good design features in this space. As per the survey results natural daylighting wasone of the important encouraging factors for the use of this space.18This space was found to be mostly used as an individual casual study area and not as a socialspace, and was used mostly during the late night hours. The first few people in the spacestudying quietly were giving the others the impression that this space is a quiet study area.However, some interactions were observed mostly in the hallway and at the vending machine.The duration of the interactions was quite long (about 30 minutes) and the interactions weremostly casual talking. As can be observed from Table 4.1 the total interactions were 6 during 8hours of observation period and the average duration of the interactions were around 14.5minutes. The on-­‐site social interactions observation data has been attached in Appendix B.The total number of responses for this survey was 177. The residents use this space mostly forgeneral discussion and academic discussions. The average time spent by occupant in this spaceper day is around 37.8 minutes. As per the survey most of the occupants have theirconversations at the couches, study rooms, near the fireplace, and the table area. Theoccupants of this building were mostly satisfied with the various design features and IEQ factorsof this space. In comparison to the spaces in other buildings they were less satisfied with thelighting, seating, colors and cleanliness in this space as can be seen from Table 4.2. The otherfindings from the survey are summarized in Appendix B.Some of the insightful comments from residents are mentioned below:“Vary the furniture-­‐ add larger tables but keep the couches next to the fire place. Make it morelike a living room.”“I think there needs to be more outlets around if possible. Also the small rooms smell badsometimes.”“Nothing much. I love that they have comfy sofas for me to just sit down next to my friends andtalk about intimate conversations. The worst place to talk are the tall seats across theballroom.”“If it had a restaurant connected to it -­‐ ie: if the Point Grill was attached to it instead of inanother building. I use it most frequently for the services and amenities provided there -­‐ fitnessroom, study room -­‐ which tend to be solo activities.”“The meeting rooms don't have good acoustics (noises bounce off walls a lot) and makes it hardto study when people are socializing in these areas. The atmosphere of the meeting roomsaren't that conducive to studying/hanging out in (possibly because of the acoustics and alsomaybe because of the SUPER squeaky chairs).”“I would make the comfortable seating area closer to the door because having to walk all theway to the back of the building makes me not want to sit there”19“WATER FOUNTAINS! It's hard to fit a waterbottle under the tap in the bathroom, and you can'tcontrol the temperature of the water. This is irritating if I'm studying late at night and don'twant to lose time running back to my room.”“Two problems: 1)It is a far too open, dark, uninteresting room with the atmosphere of a schoolcafeteria after everyone has left. 2) it is in no proximity whatsoever to anything of interest.There's is [sic] two vending machines and these cold, un-­‐welcoming study rooms, and that's it.Social interactions are not a planned event for the purpose of interacting. People meet forsomething. For a coffee, for a stretch out in the sun, for a beer, to be away from something. Theonly comparative advantage the commonsblock could have is I offer a cozy, nice space wherepeople feel welcome and well. But instead of using it's proximity to nature, the feeling of spacein the room is that of being separated of said nature. The room is a big, long, tunnel connectingthe seating area with an empty hallway instead of opening space into nature.”“Although I do not personally use this space often, I feel that it is absolutely perfect for socialinteractions, and would not change anything ““It needs a more inviting, warm environment. A more modern, welcoming vicinity with morecomfortable chairs and an area to purchase food/drinks. A lot of people will meet over a coffeeor lunch; however, since neither of these things are available there, they will more more likely togo to the Point or the Sub.”“In winter, the big study room and the red couch area can be a bit cold since air from theoutside goes in frequently.”“It might be nicer if there was some sort of separation between a quiet and non-­‐quiet area, sothat I don't feel bad talking around people that seem to be studying.”“1. Need a water fountain or water cooler. 2. Better table layout. 3. Semi-­‐organized events. 4.Usually hard to find a spot”4.2.1 Discussiona) LocationThis space is not connected to any of the buildings and is located at the far end ofCommonsblock. This inconvenient location has been a major factor that interferes withthe use of this space.b) CaféThis space just has 2 vending machines and doesn’t have any water fountains. Assuggested by the comments of the residents, the space should have water fountains anda café.c) User Control20As per the observations, the furniture in the space was adjustable and space users had acontrol on the temperature of this space. The survey results also show the sameopinion; the residents are generally satisfied with the thermal comfort (5.17/7) and thegeneral layout (5.75/7) of this space. These two factors have also been rated as thespace enhancing factors for social interactions.d) Natural daylightingThe space was observed to have good natural daylighting and furnishings. Thisobservation is supported by the survey results as well since the natural daylighting andfurnishings have been voted as one of the space enhancing design features.e) Use of spaceIt was observed that the space was mostly being used as a study space and wasgenerally very quiet. As a result the residents perceived this space as a study space andfelt uncomfortable to have conversations in this space.f) Seating AreaAs per our observation this area had comfortable couches and seating, but the totalnumber of seating was 30 which is low considering the number of residents who live inthis building (1634). The seating area in this space got a rating of 4.19 and this is mainlybecause the residents need more seating in this space especially for study purposes.Overall, the seating area has been rated as both an enhancing design feature becauseit’s comfortable and most interfering design feature due to its low number.g) AcousticsThe acoustics in this space has been rated as an interfering factor for social interactionsand has received a satisfaction rating of 4.42. These results conflict with the measuredvalue of acoustics (48 dBA) which is really low and should not interfere with people’sinteractions.214.3 Walter Gage ResidenceThere are 3 towers in Walter Gage residence, connected with each other by a common space inthe middle. The researched space is the connection area (Figure 4.7). Two night measurementsand a day lighting measurement were conducted. The measured IEQ factors and theobservation data for other internal and external factors are in Appendix C.22Figure 4.7. Common space in Walter Gage23Figure 4.8. Gage lobby PlanThe light mainly comes from artificial lighting, even in the day. The only source of naturallighting is the skylights (Figure 4.9). There is a TV, which is usually on in the evening. A smallshop is just a few steps away from the seating area (Figure 4.11).Figure 4.9. Natural lighting in Gage Figure 4.10. TV in the area24Figure 4.11. ShopOther issues are noted down in Error! Reference source not found..The Walter Gage residence was found to have the most number of interactions among thethree student residences. This common space is connecting the three Walter Gage towers withover 1300 student residents. This area has plenty of space for group meetings and is mostlyused for group and individual studying.According to the interviews, residents like the different kinds of seating available, noisiness(they are more comfortable studying in noise), soft couches, ventilation and close distance tothe exterior door. They are willing to have more outlets for laptops and more tables. Theyusually use the space for casual talks, watching movies group and individual studying. The totalnumber of interactions observed in this space during approximately 8 hour of observation was29 and the average duration of the interactions were 56 minutes. This space had the mostnumber and type of interactions in comparison to other spaces. The on-­‐site social interactionsobservation data has been attached in Appendix C.The total number of responses for this survey was 151. The residents use this space mostly forgeneral discussion and academic discussions. The average time spent by occupant in this spaceper day is around 42.8 minutes. As per survey most of the occupants have their conversationsat the couches, lounge, near the fireside and the table area. The occupants of this building weremostly satisfied with the various design features and IEQ factors of this space. In comparison to25the spaces in other buildings they were less satisfied with the seating and noise level in thisspace as can be seen from Table 4.2. The other findings from the survey are summarized inAppendix C. Some of the insightful comments from residents are mentioned below:“I very much like and enjoy the common area. It is an excellent place to socialize, but not exactlyan ideal location to study. This is due to the abundance of distractions (noise, people to talk to,etc.), however the quiet areas nearby fulfill this need.”“I would prefer to not have study tables in Fireside Lounge as to increase its use forconversations or general hangout space as I feel uncomfortable socializing in a space where Iam surrounded by people studying.”“Some of the seats don't have backs which is awkward for studying or just sitting for longperiods of time. Sometimes the smell of smoke drifts in from outside. Not always free seats ortables”“Most people use it for studying so there is hardly any social interaction happening. This appliesto me as well. If it was less deemed as a studying area and more of a hangout area, playingsome soft music would be nice for a change.”“The lounge has limited space to study. There's rooms to seat but not enough tables”“More seating space, tables for studying, noise reduction”“Firstly, it looks too hotel. Like boring cheap hotel. Can't they get different colored couches orsomething? Secondly, there's never enough space/seating. Often I just wont go down because Idon't think I'll be able to get seats”4.3.1 Discussiona) AcousticsAgain, the acoustics issue here is tricky. All the students that we interviewed like thenoise in the space, which they think is necessary for their study. However, as per theresult of survey, acoustics turns to be the second worst feature in this space. This isbecause the tolerance of noise level differs from person to person. The people weinterviewed were using that space at that time, which is a result of loving the space,while the students who filled out the survey may not use the space at all. That’s why wereceived conflicting feedbacks in interviews and surveys.b) Seatingi) General LikingThe interesting thing is that seating became the feature that people like most, aswell as the one people dislike most. For example, one student mentioned in theinterview that she likes the variety of types of seats in the space while one studentin survey complained about the seats without backs, as they are not comfortable for26study. The perceived reason for this contradicting finding may be two-­‐fold. First, theflavour of seating really depends on people. Second, different interpretation of thefunction of the space somehow determines people’s favour of seating. To those whouse the space for study, some of the seats are not suitable, but to those who regardthis space as a hangout space, the seats are well-­‐designed in terms of flexibility andsense of variety.ii) Available SpaceMost of students think there should be more seating. Given the fact that no Wi-­‐Fiexists in students’ rooms except the common space on the ground floor, 68 seatswith over 1300 residents are not enough at all.c) Layout and furnishingsDespite some feedbacks on “boring cheap hotel” type of furnishing, most of the peoplefind the space attractive because of the layout and furnishing. The space creates a senseof openness and inviting.d) Not clear function of spaceThe designed function of this common space is not clear. There are study rooms aroundthis central area however people don’t go to the quiet study rooms often. There is also alounge nearby, however the table and chairs in the lounge tend to make it a studyspace. The researched space should serve as a hangout area for social interactions, butmost of students regard it as another study area (according to observations and survey).The ambiguity of the function of the space does create conflicts. The students who havetalks in this space feel uncomfortable socializing when surrounded by people studying.Meanwhile, the studying students feel distracted by the noise and people walking by.e) Food serviceMore than one person mentioned the good to have the shop besides the commonspace. According to our interviews and observations, students tend to buy some snacksas a break of study. Proximity to shop and vending machine increases the time thatpeople spend in this space (42.8 minutes, which is the highest among all the fivebuildings).f) Access to the spaceLast but not least, the most influential factor that contributes to the highly usedcommon space in Walter Gage is that the common space is the connection of the threetowers. Everyone must walk though this space to get into and out of their homes. Theeasy access, or let’s say, the required access to this space increases the usage of thecommon space.274.4 Academy TowerAcademy Tower is a Polygon high-­‐rise residential development which is owned by Strata. Thisbuilding has 132 residents. Due to some security and privacy issues, the research team hadlimited access to the building. Therefore, only two day measurements were done in Academy.The measured IEQ factors and the observation data for other internal and external factors arein Appendix D.Figure 4.12. Academy Lobby28Figure 4.13. Academy lobby planOn the second measurement day, the team noticed new signs in the space which limited theuse of the space by the residents. The signs state the space is “for meeting only” and “It is notto be used as a personal study/work/play area” on the table. (Figure 4.14)Figure 4.14. Signs on the Table29Another interesting finding is that there is no mailbox or unit number with “4” which is a badnumber in the Chinese culture due to its same pronunciation of the character “death”. (Figure4.15). Also, all the signs and notices were written in English and Chinese. This implies that themajority of the residents are Chinese.Figure 4.15. Mail boxes without number “4”Very little social interactions were observed in the lobby area of Academy tower. People weremostly passing by to reach the elevator. When people were together, they had short talks whilewaiting for the elevator. The space was full of signs that discourage social interactions. Thesigns require people not to make noise in the lobby to avoid disturbance for ground floorresidents, also the table was said to be used only for building meetings and not for studypurposes. The bench in the lobby seats at most 4 people and is very uncomfortable. Theamount of natural lighting and views are very pleasant, but people do not use the space for anypurposes other than waiting for a few minutes. As can be seen from Table 4.1, the total numberof interactions observed in this space during approximately 8 hour of observation were only 4and the average duration of the interactions were 4 minutes.The total numbers of responses for Academy survey were 16. The residents normally used thisspace sometimes for general discussions and never for academic discussions. The average timespent by occupant in this space per day is around 13.3 minutes. As per the survey most of theoccupants have their conversations at the conference table and on the bench. The occupants ofthis building were mostly satisfied with the various design features and IEQ factors of thisspace. In comparison to the spaces in other buildings they were less satisfied with the layout,30thermal comfort, access and cleanliness. Other findings from the survey are summarized inAppendix D. Some of the insightful comments from residents are as follows:“Try not to impose unreasonable rules on using communal space, such as forbidding individualprivate study by tenants”.“Try to have similar layout as in the neighboring Sage and Wesbrook which appear to makemuch better use of communal space”.“Providing some magazines or newspapers to make better use of the decorating bookself, andhence to motivate tenants to take a relaxing brief stay there.”“For more social interaction, add something fun. A foosball table or pool table. Maybe awatercooler. The one large table can be intimidating to sit at if there are already 2+ peoplesitting there. Especially how it's tucked in the corner like that. People will first sit at theoutermost, closest seats. As a stranger, it's awkward to slip in behind them and sit on the otherside of the table.”“More separation from the adjacent living spaces -­‐ the noise travels quite easily and disturbsresidents -­‐ the space that was supposed to be a gathering place had been restricted and andbasically decoration -­‐ it would be nice if the doors to the pond opened for air”4.4.1 Discussiona) LayoutAlthough the table in the lobby is a nice place to sit, the first people usually sit on theoutermost chairs, limiting the use of the other chairs at the corner by the otheroccupants. The table is confined at the corner and there is not enough space around it.b) SeatingThe seating in this space consists of a bench and a table with eight chairs. The bench isvery uncomfortable, however the table is a nice place to sit and study or read. Accordingto survey, the residents would like to have magazines and newspapers in the bookshelfto be able to sit at the table and read. However, the signs on the table limit the use of itto meetings only.c) AcousticTo make the best use of the space, the lobby area is very close to the ground floor units.There is no acoustic separation and the noise travels in the lobby, which is found verydisturbing by the residents. The signs in the lobby that limit the use of the space areaimed to minimize the noise travelling to the units. It is recommended to allow foradequate distance between the common areas and the residential units as well asseparating these areas acoustically, so the residents can use the common areas freely atany time.314.5 Sitka TowerSitka tower with 68 residents was also studied. Same as Academy building limited accessallowed for only two day measurements in this building. Same as Academy building limitedaccess allowed for only two day measurements in Sitka. The common space that was studied isthe lobby area (Figure 4.16). Figure 4.17 shows a layout and location numbers in this space. Themeasured IEQ factors and the observation data for other internal and external factors are inAppendix E.32Figure 4.16. Sitka lobbyFigure 4.17. Layout of Sitka lobby33This space was found to be mostly used as a waiting area. A few interactions were observedduring the observation periods. They were mostly short talks while people were waiting for acab or a friend. According to interviews with people, they use the space to catch up with afriend or wait for a cab. The space is not very often used, but the sofas are found to becomfortable. The openness of the space was found to make a seated person uncomfortablewhen others pass by. As can be seen from Table 4.1, the total number of interactions observedin this space during approximately 8 hour of observation were only 4 and the average durationof the interactions were 4 minutes.The total number of responses for this survey was only 9. The weighted average of thesatisfaction levels (1-­‐7 as Highly dissatisfied to Highly Satisfied) for different design features isshown in Figure 13.1. The space is rarely used by the residents. The average time spent byoccupant in this space per day is around 7.35 minutes. As per the survey, most of the occupantshave their conversations at the lobby couches and some even use the outdoor space for theirconversations. The occupants of this building were mostly satisfied with the various designfeatures and IEQ factors of this space. In comparison to the spaces in other buildings they wereless satisfied with the cleanliness and maintenance as can be seen from Table 4.2. The otherfindings from the survey are summarized in Appendix E.Some of the insightful comments from residents are as follows:“I don't use this space, and don't have the need or desire to. However, I do like the garden spaceoutside”“The color in the lobby area is cool. I cannot imagine to seat there just to enjoy my time! Alsothere is a small lobby for this big building. The second lobby (In front of post boxes) is just wasteof space. Nobody can feel comfortable to seat because of layout.”“I would make one part more private, they are too open to everyone walking by for an actualconversation. A workout space would be amazing.”“I think it's really beneficial in terms of having a physical space in the building that is prioritizedfor socializing because does it not only make things convenient but also is comforting knowingthat there is a space available if I ever needed one for whatever reason.”4.5.1 Discussiona) Layout and sizeThe lobby area at Sitka consists of two sections. The first section is by the entrance andanother section is located in front of mailroom. The first section is thought to be too openfor people to feel comfortable to sit down and talk. The second space is not a desirablespace for residents to use as it is located in front of mail boxes and elevators where peopledo not feel comfortable seating there. Also, the lobby area is thought to be very small34compare to the building. However, the garden, which has benches and is accessible fromthe lobby, is sometimes used for socializing. Surveys show that people like the garden morethan the lobby itself.b) FurnishingsAlthough the couches in the lobby are comfortable, the colors used in the space are notinviting, as they are mostly cool colors.c) Benefits of having a space for social interactionsPeople in this building are interested in having a space dedicate for social interactions. Theyalso think that a workout space might serve both functions: exercising and socializing.446 Recommendations for DevelopersFrom this study, we concluded that there is not a clear direct correlation between the designfeatures, IEQ factors and the social interactions that occur in these spaces. However, somerecommendations can be logically deduced from our findings which are applicable to buildingssimilar to the buildings studied in this project. One of the most important recommendations isthat the function of the space should be clearly defined so people perceive it as a social space.To foster the interactions, there should be a medium in the space which encourages people tointeract and use the space; this can talk the form of a small café, gym or children’s playroometc. The space should be centrally located, have adequate lighting and ventilation. In additionto this, the residents should be able to control the space by adjusting their thermal comfort orrearranging the layout of the furniture. It would be better if the designer could have an idea ofthe target residents’ needs before designing the common spaces in residential buildings.The detailed recommendations are explained below:• Clearly define the function of the common spaceThe function of a common space should be clearly defined whether it’s for study or socialinteractions. In case a common space has multiple purposes the different spaces should beseparated from each other to provide acoustical privacy and to provide appropriate type offurnishings (fewer seats for a social space, more seats for study area). Holding more socialevents in these spaces or having some board games attached to the table can make thefunction of these social spaces more clear.• The size of the common spaceDesign larger communal spaces so people feel comfortable to sit down and use the spacewhile others are using it.• Provide a medium for social interaction in the spacePeople are encouraged to meet and interact over something be it for a coffee, for a snack,going to a gym, studying together or taking their child out. Having an add-­‐on to a commonspace like a café, games room, gym or children’s playroom may increase the socialinteractions in that space.• Resident control over the spaceThe users of the space are more satisfied with their space when they have some degree ofcontrol over it. Some examples are as follows:Ø Different types of furniture which residents can move according to their needsØ Control over the temperature and their thermal comfort such as being able toopen the windows or open/close shadesØ The power to control the lighting according to their activity in the space. Havinglocal lighting as well as adequate background lightingØ Control over ventilation such as having operable windows in the common spaces45• Location of the common spaceThe space should be centrally located so that it is easily visible and accessible to all theresidents, and they do not have to make an “effort” to go there.• Provide acoustical privacy in the spaceSeparate the communal spaces acoustically from the residential units so that residents canfreely use the space.• Outdoor common spacesHaving outdoor spaces is appreciated by residents, however will interfere with the use ofthe indoor common space.• VentilationPeople do care about ventilation according to comments from the survey. Good ventilationwill increase the usage of a common space.• Sufficient LightingThe lighting in the space should be appropriate and as per the requirements for the space,they may exceed the requirements but should not be below it. Lighting should be givenspecial consideration especially if a study space is being designed in the common space.However, the presence of natural daylighting seems to have no correlation with the use ofthe space.• Design for target residentsTarget residents should be defined and analyzed before design the common space inresidential buildings, since the culture among residents influence the usage of a commonspace. In general, students require more space for study, while families and professionalworkers don’t need study spaces. The buildings for undergraduate students should havemore social space compared to those for graduate students.467 Limitations and Future WorkThe study on environmental psychology has many limitations. In this study, limitations were asfollows:1) Limited access to the spaces in Condo towers2) Time distribution of measurements3) Limited measurement period4) Non-­‐building related factors affecting the results5) Limited number of studied buildings, especially for condo towers.In addition to the design and IEQ features, there are many other factors that may also influencesocial interactions, including personal and cultural factors, social factors, and time period thecommunity has been in existence (Clitheroe et al. 1998). These factors have not been taken intoaccount in our study due to time limitation.In order to ensure the well-­‐being of communities, the designers need more certain answer tothe question ‘what enhances social interactions in a space’ to be able to design spaces thatfoster social interactions and consequently the mental well-­‐being of the human being. More in-­‐depth study in environmental psychology will help answer this question. A more detailedanalysis of the culture of these buildings can be included as a part of future research. It issuggested that future research be done in this area with a larger number of high-­‐rises and for alonger period of time. Some other common areas such as garbage sorting areas and washingareas should also be explored. It will be beneficial to have a large sample of buildings andobservations so that the results with statistical power can be obtained. In this study, it was alsofound that interviewing residents as well as the survey questionnaire could be very helpful ingiving the researchers some insight about the needs of the residents.478 ReferencesAmole, D. (2009). “Residential Satisfaction in Students’ Housing.” Journal of Environmental Psychology, 29, 76–85. Clitheroe, H. C., Stokols, D., and Zmuidzinas, M. (1998). “Conceptualizing the context of environment and behaviour.” Journal of Environmental Psychology, 18, 103–112. Fromm, D. (1991). Collaborative Communities: Co-housing, Central Living, and Other New Forms of Housing with Shared Facilities. Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York. Gifford, R. (2007). “The Consequences of Living in High-Rise Buildings.” Architectural Science Review, 50(1). Hazzeh, T. A. M. A. B. U. (1999). “Housing Layout , Social Interaction , And The Place Of Contact In Abu-Nuseir , Jordan.” Journal of Environmental Psychology, 19(1), 41–73. Holahan, C. J. (1976). “Environmental Effects on Outdoor Social Behavior in a Low-Income Urban Neighborhood: A Naturalistic Investigation.” Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 6(1), 48–63. Huang, S.-C. L. (2006). “A study of outdoor interactional spaces in high-rise housing.” Landscape and Urban Planning, 78(3), 193–204. McCamant, K., and Durrett, C. (1994). Cohousing: A Contemporary Approach to Housing Ourselves. Ten Speed Press, CA. Scannell, L., Hodgson, M., Villarreal, J. G. M., and Gifford, R. (2014). “The Role of Acoustics in the Perceived Suitability of , and Well-Being in , Informal Learning Spaces.” Building & Environment. Zagreus, L., Huizenga, C., Arens, E., and Lehrer, D. (2004). “Listening to the occupants : a Web-based indoor environmental quality survey.” Indoor Air: International Journal of Indoor Environment and Health, 14(Suppl 8), 65–74.   

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