UBC Graduate Research

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


High-­rise residential buildings are becoming more and more common nowadays, be it in the UBC campus or in many of the cities around the World. Past research suggests that living in high-­rise buildings adversely affects people’s satisfaction level and social relations. High-­‐rise residences also tend to generate many negative outcomes such as fear, dissatisfaction, behavioural problems, reduced helpfulness, poor social relations and hindered child development. The common spaces in these buildings have the potential to address these issues by creating a feeling of community and bringing people together. These are the spaces which are 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 design features and Indoor Environment Quality (IEQ) factors of these spaces affect the social interactions occurring in these spaces. In this project the social common space in 5 different high rise buildings were analyzed, 3 of which are UBC student residences buildings: Marine Drive, Ponderosa Commons and Walter Gage and the other two are strata owned Academy and Sitka towers. We adopted three approaches to study these buildings: Observations of design features and physical measurements 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 and measured its design and Indoor Environmental Quality features such as lighting, thermal comfort, indoor air quality and acoustics. We also observed the use of the space and interviewed people. The survey conducted in received a response rate of around 10% from each building and providing us with some useful insights of occupant’s needs and satisfaction levels. We conducted a descriptive analysis on our collected data and have been able to find some 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, some recommendations can be logically deduced from our findings which are applicable to buildings similar to the buildings studied in this project. These conclusions and recommendations have been described in detail in the report. There exists a huge scope for further expanding on this study by studying more number of buildings and different common spaces in these buildings such as garbage sorting area and washing rooms. In the last section of the report we have explained the limitations of this study and some suggestions for future work. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS 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 the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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