Former MArch Student publishes paper in Health Environments Research and Design Journal

Former MArch student, Megan Catt, has published her paper, ‘The Reality of Wellbeing-Focused Design in Dementia Care – A Case Study of Acute Dementia Wards in the UK’ in the Health Environments Research and Design Journal (HERD), a USA based journal, supported by Kent School of Architecture’s Dr Giridharan Renganathan.

The paper studies the design of dementia wards in NHS hospitals, looking at wellbeing-focused design, an approach that considers the effects of the built environment on an occupant’s physical and psychological health. Dementia is a pressing health concern in the UK, with a high psychological care requirement. The potential for the built environment to reduce the impact of symptoms is significant, with an established body of research proving that by making even small adjustments to spatial design (with considerations for light, sound, quality of space, promoting social interaction and independence, maintaining privacy and dignity and triggering memories) improvements to patient health and care outcomes can be achieved, such as reducing falls, time spent in hospital, or blood pressure and stress. Design concepts for achieving these and other health improvements were analysed in the paper, and compiled into a framework of criteria that could be used to test for evidence of a ‘good’ dementia environment. The framework was used in several case studies, at wards which had recently undergone wellbeing-driven refurbishments. The observations, staff interviews, and testing against the framework, carried out during these visits highlighted successes and failures of the projects, showing where further progression is required in the creation of wards that passively assist health.

The research for this paper was originally undertaken for Megan’s MArch dissertation at KSA, where she looked at the design of wards for both dementia and maternity patients, two very different patient groups, each with specific psychological care needs. Since graduating in 2016, Megan has continued her research into the subject, focusing on design for dementia, with continued support from Giridharan Renganathan, who has helped me to develop the paper for publishing.

Dr Giridharan Renganathan receives prestigious medal for his work

CASE member Dr Giridharan Renganathan won the 2016 Carter Bronze medal for most highly rated paper relating to application and development. Giridharan’s paper “A medium-rise 1970s maternity hospital in the east of England: Resilience and adaptation to climate change” was published in CIBSE’s technical journal Building Services Engineering Research & Technology, one of the leading, international peer-reviewed journals publishing original research relevant to today’s Built Environment. The paper was co-written with Prof. Alan Short from the University of Cambridge and Prof. Kevin Lomas from the University of Loughborough. It investigated the degree of overheating at the Rosie maternity unit of Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge where mothers, babies and staff can endure summer temperatures of over 30°C, along with what can be done to improve resilience at the 1983 facility.

New book on Urban Climate Challenges in the Tropics

Dr. Giridharan Renganathan has written a chapter on ‘Urban Climate Modelling: Challenges in the Tropics’ in the new book on Urban Climate Challenges in the Tropics, an area which has received little attention in the past.  This chapter while highlighting the importance of climate modelling in the context of urban planning and design, presents both the energetics of urban tropics and its modelling.  It also presents the readily available modelling options for tropics while discussing a fast changing area of research.  In summary, the chapter deals with energy and mass exchange in urban areas, tropical climate and characteristics of urban morphology, modelling in the context of urban design, urban canopy layer modelling options, and parameterisation of critical urban variables for modelling.

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