Another Design Research Resource

June 8th, 2006 by Peter Schmelzer

I’ve been reading research summaries for many months now, and I thought I’d share the resource.

InformeDesign is the name of the source, generated by the University of Minnesota. It’s free to everyone.

Basics: InformeDesign collects and summarizes design-related research and makes those summaries available. Links are then provided to the research papers for those interested in more depth. Summaries are categorized for easy reference, and a weekly e-mail message lists new additions to the database.

I really like this service. It helps keep me informed about the latest research in a quick and convenient format, and I can speedily peruse areas of interest and pertinence.

Here are links to two recent summaries that caught my eye:
Built Environment, Walkability, and Neighborhood Selection
Neighborhood Design and Physical Activity

Why did they grab me? The way we shape our neighborhoods, sidewalks, and streets affects our lives in many ways. The recent obesity epidemic may, in part, be due to our dependence on automobiles, for which we have designed our cities. Research is beginning to show that neighborhood design for pedestrian activity can result in higher levels of physical activity (walking in particular).

Walking has individual health benefits and can improve the sense of comunity. It can also make our neighborhoods safer. What exactly this means in terms of insurance rates, reduced crime, citizen satisfaction and quality of life is tough to measure, but they can only improve as I see it. Design plays a key role in the big picture.

Anyway, if you are interested in design, check out InformeDesign.

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