GSTF Journal of Engineering Technology (JET)

, 4:2

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

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

  • Saleh KalantariAffiliated withSchool of Design & Construction, Washington State University Pullman Email author 


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.


Stress Reduction Augmented Reality Shape Height Visual Patterns