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Data-driven methods to understand connection to nature in buildings to support occupant wellbeing

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Title picture data-driven methods to understand

Research Team

Our Motivation:

"Humans have a biologically-encoded affinity with nature, and connecting to nature has been shown to support human wellbeing. As we spend significant amounts of time indoors, designing built environments that reflect or promote a connection to nature is essential. Design tools are needed that quantify different levels of connection to nature in buildings in order to advance our understanding of how much nature is required to achieve desired wellbeing outcomes."


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Research Contribution

 Evaluate capabilities of computer vision and parametric analysis to measure a building’s connection to nature on a continuous scale.

Assess the role of different dosages of nature on wellbeing outcomes.

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Practical Problem

Research on the impact of the built environment on occupant wellbeing has largely employed discrete approaches to quantifying different built features (e.g., having a window vs. having no window).

As a result, our understanding of how much connection to nature indoors is needed to start seeing positive effects on wellbeing outcomes is limited.

At the same time, we do not have design tools that can measure the presence and amount of connection to nature in a space on a continuous scale.

These limitations prevent building designers, owners, and users from understanding and improving the role that their built environment has on their wellbeing.

Conceptual Problem

There are no tools for designers to quantify access to nature indoors in order to understand how design choices impact the support of occupant wellbeing.

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Assess the capturing of the presence of nature in indoor environments using computer vision and parametric analyses.

Assess the impact of nature dosage on wellbeing outcomes of interest using mixed-method human subject experiments.

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Added Value For The Industry

Our work will identify promising methods of quantifying the level of connection to nature offered by a building.

These methods will advance our understanding of the amount of design elements needed in built environments to ensure positive effects on occupant wellbeing.

These advances will inform the design and retrofit of buildings to support human wellbeing.

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Cooperation Partner


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Summer 2022

Review and select tools for analysis


Fall 2022

Evaluate tools in controlled settings



Analyze existing data to assess wellbeing in different dosages

Winter 2023

Evaluate the performance of tools


Assess the impact of nature dosage on wellbeing

Spring and Summer 2023

Apply tools and conduct human subject experiments

If you want to participate in the project please reach out to Eva Bianchi

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