A Digital Pre-Occupancy Architectural Toolset for Reducing Stress Levels in Urban Environments

Saleh Kalantari


This research examines the effects of the built
environment on human stress and anxiety levels, by measuring
the responses of participants as they interact with various
architectural design features using Augmented Reality
technology. Architectural form-making is becoming more
dynamic and expressive in today’s world, deviating from
traditional designs, especially in urban contexts. Current
technology enables such forms to be created, but prior to their
construction there is no easy way to determine how they might
affect the stress levels of the people who experience the
redesigned environment. The physical geography of cities is
already known to have an effect on human well-being, and
specific design issues have been correlated with negative health
outcomes, including increased levels of anxiety. However, the
positive or negative changes that can be induced through new
designs are often just a matter of speculation. Our research helps
to address this issue by developing a prototype interface to
evaluate human-experience factors during the design review
process. We conducted a pilot study to evaluate biometric data
obtained from participants through an Augmented Reality
experience, and parsed that data with respect to the participants’
personal backgrounds and other demographic information. The
prototype toolset was developed based on three different
architectural variables—shape, height, and visual pattern. The
results from the experiment indicate there is a relationship
between these architectural forms and stress levels. This research
contributes to design pedagogy and practice, and it helps to show
how continuous parametric form generation can be used to better
reduce anxiety levels in future urban environments.


component; Stress Reduction, Augmented Reality, Shape, Height, Visual Patterns

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