August 5th is National Health Day in Brazil. Our readers have already expressed their opinion on how psychology is essential to build healthy and pleasant spaces to live in, and for this reason, we decided to explore the impacts of the spatial experience on each person's well-being, improving quality of life and reducing mental stress. In other words, architecture not only contributes to physical health through ergonomics but also affects our emotional comfort.
Professionals in the field are already familiar with design strategies for healthier environments - such as natural ventilation and lighting, noise control systems, and a good choice of materials and furniture - but few people have a deep understanding of how the psychology of spaces can affect human behavior and mental health.
In workspaces, for example, there are key strategies to improve coworkers' well-being. Versatile spaces and furniture can provide a variety of layouts that allow more creativity and also contribute to making work less monotonous by optimizing each person's spatial experience. Creating spaces for interaction as well as spaces for isolation is essential, so people can choose the best space for each specific moment and activity. Furthermore, aspects such as biophilia - including the healing and calming effects of the color green, beyond aesthetics - and the creation of outdoor areas play a fundamental role in improving the quality of the space, which consequently improves people's mood and health.
This also applies to urban areas, not only interiors. Starting from the question of how public space relates to mental health, we can look deeper into the psychology of scale to understand how the relationship between people and buildings affects society. According to Jan Gehl, "the experience of comfort and wellbeing in cities is closely tied to how city structure and city space harmonize with the human body, human senses, and corresponding space dimensions and scale." It is also worth mentioning that, to achieve a healthy city, the relationship between urban planning and public health is essential, taking into account the importance of trees as public health infrastructure since many studies have shown that plants are extremely beneficial in terms of reducing the rates of depression, asthma, and heart disease.