Designing Our Built Environments with People and Nature in Mind

July 30, 2020
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Laying the Foundation: What is Choice Architecture?

Building the Evidence

Image Credit: iNudgeYou


Simple Steps to Reduce Urban Litter

As lockdowns ease and more people make their way outside for physically-distanced gatherings, we are seeing documented spikes in littering. A timely example of a way to combat this undesirable behavior comes to us from on the ground, quite literally, in Copenhagen. Behavioral scientists placed green footprint stickers leading to trash cans in order to make the path to the receptacles salient to pedestrians. Despite its simplicity, this intervention reduced littering by an impressive 46 percent.

Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons

Shorter Blocks, Better Walks

Unfortunately, the pandemic has limited some of our public transit options, making walkable spaces even more important. On top of this, choosing walking over driving can significantly reduce our environmental footprints and improve our mental health. Research shows that, on average, designing for shorter city blocks with high intersection-density (as opposed to “dendritic” or winding streets) can increase walking behavior. Just one example of this design comes from Portland, Oregon. There, you can find the “200 ft. block,” which helps ease pedestrian wayfinding, trip planning, and makes walking more visually interesting.

Using the Blueprint