Sci-Tea Goes to Design School: Building nature into interior design

February 18, 2022 Ryan Linn Brown & Dr. Nanci Weinberger Season 1 Episode 5
Sci-Tea Goes to Design School: Building nature into interior design
Show Notes Transcript

Welcome to the 5th episode of Sci-Tea!

Join us (Ryan & Nanci) for a conversation with Dr. Beth McGee and Dr. Ryan Couillou on Friday, February 18th for a discussion on building nature into interior design. We first talked about an article that our guest Dr. Beth McGee worked on titled “DIY Biophilia: Development of the Biophilic Interior Matrix as a Design Tool.” We cover the definitions of biophilia and biophilic design, and why they are important to consider. Our guest Dr. Ryan Couillou, who collaborated with McGee in the past, gives his input on these topics as well. They discuss their collaboration as professors and how they bring these topics into the classroom. We learn more about how the biophilic matrix is being applied in a variety of settings. To finish off the episode, Dr. McGee and Dr. Couillou address more current and future topics related to design, more specifically accessibility and inclusiveness. 

✨ Dr. Beth McGee is an Assistant Professor and the Program Coordinator of Interior Design at Georgia Southern University. Her research focuses on designing healthcare spaces and biophilic interior design methods. Her goal is to teach, create and research sustainable and biophilic design. Dr. McGee has helped students and design practitioners by creating and expanding the Biophilic Interior Design Matrix to help incorporate nature into various spaces. Through her experience, she has become passionate about human-centered design and creating healthy and beneficial spaces for everyone.  

✨ Dr. Ryan Couillou is an Assistant Professor at Georgia Southern University where he collaborates with Dr. Beth McGee in her research on biophilic design. He is one of the leaders of the REFLECT program, serving his community with consultation, outreach, and research resources. He is a licensed clinical psychologist with a doctorate in Counseling Psychology. Aside from teaching, Dr. Couillou has worked in a variety of applied settings including mental health counseling at universities and assessing juvenile offenders. Currently, his research interests include action-based research and perceptions of the police.     

Materials Referenced in this Episode:

✨ Dr. McGee's research paper, "DIY Biophilia":
✨ Dr. McGee's website:

Description of series: Sci-Tea brings behavioral science researchers together with multidisciplinary practitioners and policymakers for open conversations that demonstrate how the value of research can extend far beyond publication. Join Dr. Nanci Weinberger and Ryan Linn Brown in the latest addition to Ryan’s Science, which is a cross-platform science communication outlet that fosters curiosity and excitement around scientific research. Grab your tea (or drink of choice!) and join the conversation! 

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✨ Credits ✨

🔹 Sci-Tea was created by Dr. Nanci Weinberger and Ryan Linn Brown

🔹 Music was generously made by Kyle Evans. Hear more:

🔹 Animated graphics were kindly made by Yoully Kang. Follow her on Instagram @dearyouily for more!

🔹 Background research by Mia Skowron

🔹 Edited by Ryan Linn Brown

🔹 Captions by Mia Skowron

🔹 Sci-Tea is supported by Bryant University's Center for Health and Behavioral Sciences

[Ryan] hey y'all I’m Ryan 
[Nanci] and I’m Nanci and this is Sci-Tea where we bring you engaging conversations between researchers and practitioners 
[Ryan] we feature leading experts as well as early career researchers in psychology and beyond who will be speaking with other professionals working in settings such as hospitals schools and governmental agencies 
[Nanci] so grab your tea 
[Ryan] or drink of choice 
[Nanci] and enjoy the conversation 
[Nanci] We want to welcome everyone and I’m going to start off by welcoming our first guest Dr. Beth McGee Dr. McGee is an assistant professor and program coordinator of interior design at Georgia Southern University her research focuses on designing healthcare spaces and biophilic interior design methods her goal is to teach create and research sustainable biophilic design Dr. McGee has created and is it has expanded the biophilic interior design matrix this is used to help incorporate nature into built spaces Dr. McGee is a passionate advocate for human-centered design and in creating healthy and beneficial spaces for everyone we first met actually when Beth was presenting some of her earlier research at a conference and I was just so thrilled to see the kind of work that she was doing and ultimately that conversation led to a collaboration with herself and myself and Ryan Brown and a few Bryant other Bryant colleagues so this continued opportunity to talk with you is really a real treat for me so welcome Beth 
[Beth] Thank you this is very exciting for me too to see you see both of you
[Nanci] right thank you 
[Ryan B] and I have the honor of introducing my first Ryan so this is Dr. Ryan Couillou who is an assistant professor at Georgia Southern University where he collaborates with Dr. Beth McGee in her research on biophilic design Dr. Couillou is one of the leaders of the reflect program and serves his community with consultation outreach and research resources he's a licensed clinical psychologist with a doctorate in counseling psychology and aside from teaching Dr. Couillou has worked in a variety of practical settings including mental health counseling at universities and also assessing juvenile offenders so right now his research interests include action-based research and perceptions of the police so we're really excited to have you here today
[Ryan C] thank you for having me 
[Nanci] it's great 
[Ryan B] yeah and we're really excited to talk through this paper as well as y'all's collaboration in general I can just give a brief overview of the study and some pieces of it that were really exciting to me to talk about so in the paper overall right so biophilic design is all about connecting people with nature as part of this built environment and this study specifically identified guidelines for how to integrate the nature based design in the built environment using the systematic development testing and expansion of a biophilic design matrix specifically for the purpose of adding nature elements to interior design specifically and this modified version is now called the biophilic interior design matrix and it includes six elements and 54 attributes that can help designers to include biophilic elements throughout the design process so for example one element is color and light and this element includes attributes like composition as well as the client's own preferences for color attributes and another thing that I thought was really important about this study is that despite overall valuing biophilic design as important a lot of designers only had sort of moderate confidence and there was no past experience really using it so I really like that the goal of the study was and the goal of this tool is it's like supporting designers for using what we sort of empirically know can help mental health and everything else right and just providing this tool so that it's a lot easier to access these resources and implement them well so I am really excited just sort of to start off by hearing from you Dr. McGee on more about the design and beginning of sort of this biophilic interior design matrix
[Beth] of course so yeah this has been a long road since when we first collaborated in my master's I was really trying to come up with an idea for my thesis and my mentor brought me to this book biophilic design that Kaplan he was an editor and he really proposed the first initial list of attributes that were biophilic and it just brought a lot of the interests that I was pursuing kind of together into one topic and I took that and really looked at the literature and realized there really wasn't a lot of systematic ways to apply that to interior design so taking his list and creating this by the first version of the biophilic design matrix that we you know later in my PhD developed further it was all really about how do we apply these in the interior since we spent so much time in the inside so the good thing about having that first development was I got a lot of great feedback we had this secondary project that we worked on together but really by looking at it and seeing that people thought yeah this is a an interesting tool when we were using it was still really kind of hard to use so it was very wordy and verbose and we wanted to make it more user friendly so my PhD really focused on revising the whole thing going through the testing cognitive testing first and then we tested it with practitioners the goal was to make it more user friendly and actually do some initial validity testing that really was what the article was about going through that whole process and we actually had some practitioners who gave us some really good feedback at the beginning while we were developing it and then our kind of case study method of testing it at the end also gave us some good feedback but since then really it's been an ongoing thing we're getting more and more interest and we've been using it in education as well so we've got a manuscript under well kind of was officially accepted it's an editorial process looking at how we applied it to education so how we can support interior design education and specifically in the studio environment and it was showing that by giving them this tool early they were able to feel more confident again so being able to understand oh hey I have this language I can use integrate into the design process that was very helpful for them so I’ve been using that now at Georgia Southern since I’ve been here and getting like kind of the same feedback so that's been an exciting thing that not just doing it as a post assessment post occupancy assessment which is what it was developed for like okay we're to take a space we're going to kind of raid it and see the variety of biophilic designer but now we're going to actually use the in the design process to make the spaces better from the beginning so that was really exciting to me and we're just finishing up also it's in the analysis stage expanding that to Chinese so we got the whole thing translated and had similar feedback as well we got the validity re-affirmed and so I mean it's been really exciting to see how it can expand and we're getting good feedback from the users the more that we get to test and you know get their feedback the more I’m gonna kind of continue to improve it but that's really the basic intro into that article and kind of the where the idea came from where it is today 
[Nanci] that is so exciting I have to say that the work that you do to me is it's really you know it is an ideal in other words I think that research is really important we think research is important we know it's necessary but to be able to have your research and see the application right away directly and that you're working with the people that are using the research you know all in one  you know time period is really incredible because people are lucky enough to have their work applied it's usually by someone else in a different situation and you're actually able to see applied and you earlier mentioned that the applications in educational settings and you mentioned something about students and I’m assuming that you mean are you mean design students are using this so they're learning about it as well 
[Beth] yes well we have had a few varieties now so definitely my interior design students have been working with a lot I’m doing another interdisciplinary project with child life and in the child family development program and we did a design of a play room so it was very aligned with our study that we did and they loved it so the child life of these future childhood specialists have been given this tool as well as we worked with another tool that's specifically related to child life and they were using those together so that was really an exciting thing and we've been it's actually an ongoing project we do that every year and then we've been doing this joint project with psychology with my studio five with Dr. Couillou and that's been really great because again bridging that gap to inform a different discipline like this is what interior design is and this is this kind of quantification in a way of what biophilic design means and how the research supports it but this is you know an avenue for how to apply it so this is sort of where what we've been working on one of the many things we've been working on recently is trying to figure out how we can teach both the importance of the built environment and how we can use evidence-based research to support it 
[Nanci] that's great well I’m more hoping we'd love to learn more about some of the collaboration that you've been doing with Ryan Ryan maybe you can tell us your perspective of some of the collaboration that you've been doing I know that there's a service learning coursework and every year it's different right I know I don't know if it was a recent year where you were designing a bedroom for a domestic abuse shelter that sounds really interesting maybe you can tell us a little bit about you know the collaboration from your perspective 
[Ryan C] sure absolutely I think maybe I could kind of rewind to the beginning of this we I teach a psychology capstone class with seniors and really the purpose of the class is to be a culmination of their experiences in the psychology degree program so they get a chance to apply their experience and when I guess I kind of inherited the class I had a component in there where they were doing volunteer work so just a couple of hours that was just a component of the class they would go out and serve the community in some way I was kind of finding that the students were having kind of a variety of different experiences that were meaningful to the community so they were helping out but they weren't necessarily aligned with the learning objectives of the class and they weren't there was an in inconsistency of applying what they've learned as a psychology major so for instance they had some students were like working with community members directly and others were painting walls which was serving the community but it just wasn't what I was looking for as far as what they were learning so I applied for a summer award to revamp that portion of the class with the purpose of making it a fun for the students having like a designated service learning partner and having a semester-long project that could really tie the class together where it was pulling in a lot of different information that they've learned in psychology and doing something for the community so that led me to I was looking for different community partners and that brought up there was a domestic violence shelter safe haven that wanted to partner with me on this project and the things they were wanting to build in the next five to ten years to build a new facility for their services and one of the things they wanted was a design of what the space might look like and initially they were kind of talking about making 3d like physical 3d models and having the students do that and I was kind of thinking and brainstorming like how could I do this I I’m psychology you know my background's in psychology not like designing these spaces so I was thinking about maybe using some software or something I really didn't know how to help them with this so I kind of used my resources at the university I started looking up different names and I cold emailed Dr. McGee to kind of help me out like is there are there any like you know software like point me in the right direction and she was kind enough she could have just like told me where to find this but she was kind enough to offer to partner with me and join our classes together for this project which was which was really cool Beth I don't know if you have anything to add that was kind of from my perspective like how it started 
[Beth] yeah that that's how I feel too I think that we didn't know where we would we didn't know that this was the road that we were going to go on at this first meeting but I just thought that the idea behind the class that you know where he was trying to go with it was so salient to what we do in design and I didn't know where I was going to connect it at first but I thought the easiest way would be with my studio 5 which has a bit of an open parameter for what focus area we can do so yeah I kind of had to revamp the curriculum real fast but then we took that and then we kind of repeated it the second semester the second semester was going amazingly smooth we got IRB approval we were doing pre and post testing to see how you know this new collaboration how it was working and then Covid hit in the middle of it so we were kind of set back a little bit but yeah this year we have a new partner do you want to talk about that 
[Ryan C] yeah sure we our newest partner is a community clinic it's a psychology clinic on campus so they serve community members doing assessment and also treatment and it's also a training center for the psychology side e students so we are doing a project with them on some ideas of we’ve helped them with ideas of revamping their space and then also proposing a new space incorporating also incorporating biophilic design and then other recommendations based on what they the populations that they see or they would like to see in the future so that's the current project and we're fortunate because a lot of how we set up the project it was easily translatable to an indirect project where students could work on this remotely instead of having to be somewhere physically so we were fortunate that we had kind of the framework there but yeah that it's continued to be successful and we’ve done some refinements along the way 
[Nanci] so are your the students are involved I know it's the psychology students but there are there also design students then involved 
[Ryan C] mhm
[Nanci] oh so I love I love that they're coming from these sort of different ways of thinking about things right here's a problem and different approaches so is it that the content helps them kind of come together and speak the same language or are they are you directly kind of teaching here is a shared language like how does that go to get these sort of two different groups that care about the same thing but come in at different ways like how does that happen 
[Beth] it's definitely been an ongoing process we're still refining it but I think that the main thing has been that we have found that has been helpful has been that we have had very transparent deliverables throughout the you know from the beginning and that has been very beneficial so that I mean as much as possible we're trying to make it clear to them what they're supposed like who's responsible for what we try to have as many individual responsibilities as well within the group that has been helpful but one of the main things I think really is the fact that we both have kind of been guest lecturers in each other's classes so it's been really nice to have like an intro to psychology in a way in in my class and then I do the intro to interior design and biophilic design in his class and I think that starts to that starts a conversation being able to bridge and they start to see why they're doing the project that they're they end up doing 
[Nanci] that's great I remember because I have taught environmental psychology and I love the discipline just reading essays from designers architects and designers and they're you know sometimes saying we really need to be listening to you know behavioral scientists but it's really hard because you have your own training and there's a lot to it and then on the psychology side I feel that there's a sort of a lack of awareness about when we talk about environment that it also includes the environment that we create and so the fact that the two of you are trying to bridge that divide is powerful especially because you're on top of all that you're trying to impact the community in a positive way so hats off to you guys 
[Ryan C] we're still kind of refining that like Dr. McGee says we we've come up with some additional ways of helping them kind of collaborate and communicate we have one thing we did this semester is we had some specific assignments where they need to collaborate we called them interdisciplinary consultations so they one class will have some deliverables like Dr. McGee's class had submitted some designs to my class and they had to provide some feedback about that and then they had to respond to that feedback so we're trying to there's different ways we're trying to tweak to bring them together and share ideas 
[Ryan B] that's such an incredible skill to just I’m just thinking of the like talking across different disciplines and like the translation element that goes with it I I’m just thinking that that as like a very recent undergraduate that would be like a huge draw to me in a class just in terms of going beyond what sort of your major wouldn't necessarily dictate so I could see that being a huge draw
[Beth] it's interesting because that's one of the things that we found along the way is that he was using one term for something that I was using a different term for but it was like the same thing so being able to kind of like you said bridge that gap and talk the same language we've been able to do that 
[Ryan C] what was that term I can't remember 
[Beth] well there was a couple I think that's in my mind is the like the idea that we call it a program as far as where we create that list of needs and you would call it a needs assessment right so but they're very similar it's like what does the client want need right so I think that was one thing that we were like oh that's okay this process is similar 
[Ryan B] yeah guys can I ask you one question I was just I was just curious this is off a little bit more but just on the client front I’m just curious in terms of who's applying the modified biophilic matrix I’m just curious like who the clients are and what sort of domains they're in when they're using it I think you mentioned like some education as well but I’m just curious sort of the distribution there 
[Beth] you mean as far as who's actually used it and got like given me feedback 
[Ryan B] yeah or who sort of you think the target and I’m sure it's broad right but who is sort of jumping on it now and then alternatively my thought is also like what space is like is it not being applied to that it would be really beneficial potentially 
[Beth] so really I think it's a lot of different spaces in general like I even got just before Covid a call from a corporate company who wanted really kind of like a consultation with me to do maybe an assessment or some training so there's that world the healthcare the non-profit that's what we've been doing in my studio so we have been incorporating it in that way I don't get a lot of feedback because it's kind of just out there but I do get emails quite frequently from master students around the world actually who are really interested and want to figure out how they can work it into their thesis or you know PhD as well but and we've gotten you know a few partners who have been coming up with ideas even in as instructors like hey I wanna do some something with this what do you think this is my idea so I might not be you know on their final paper or anything but like that consultation happens at the beginning of like what do you think so that's been really interesting to see people across the globe kind of reaching out I need help with this what do you think so yeah I feel like there's not one market really that stands out in my mind specifically but I mean the goal of it was to be very inclusive that everybody can have access to it that's why I have it free on my website you can get the list of features you can look at all the visuals and get some ideas with the examples that are offered and then I link it to research to when I have it to guide the especially practitioners you just need it real fast you need that information quick you don't have time to do a systematic literature review on something like that so that was kind of the goal of all that 
[Ryan B] yeah that's really helpful I also just love the incorporation of students and it sounds like to me that that just means like what a success it is if you're getting so many young people like excited and wanting to sort of go down that route with their own work as well and I really like that you sort of incorporate students in the paper as well as sort of like giving feedback and everything else as part of the process so the overall student mindset here is wonderful 
[Nanci] you know I think that I’m really glad to hear that this is a tool that is becoming more accessible and for designers and helping them feel like you know I think there was something I remember reading in in your paper about it's giving them more confidence and you know this might be something they can implement in across a variety of projects that they're working on almost like a have it as a checklist but with some meat behind it and I think that's really valuable and I also think that eventually the people who aren't designers but might have an intuitive sense that nature is important an important element for us that this might also help give it give people an opportunity to validate that that intuition and say you know what there's actually there's science behind this and which you talk about in your writings and there are things that I can actually do and I’m hoping that more and more you know practitioners that are other types of practitioners besides designers engage in bringing nature into their into their practices so you know Ryan as a clinician I’m really curious before you before you're working with Beth maybe now like how you know what do you think about the role of nature as a clinician for your clients [Ryan C] you know and it's funny because well at least in the psychology field in the in the counseling field we don't really incorporate a lot of nature that's not really the focus but I think I do use a lot of used nature as a therapeutic tool in in some ways if I kind of think about it a little bit differently so one of the for instance one of the theoretical orientations that I incorporate is act it's acceptance and commitment therapy commitment-based therapy and that also draws on mindfulness which is a attunement to the present moment in a non-judgmental way and I tell clients to one way to do that is when they're out in in nature and just kind of enjoying and being in the moment by for instance listening to different things that are happening around them outside or by focusing on something that they're seeing that that is in nature so I do incorporate I incorporate nature in different ways usually not in session because usually when I’m doing work it's in a telehealth modality but I as homework or something I tell students their clients is useful I tell them to use nature in that way that's great I mean I’m sure that some individuals are you know more prepared and familiar with it and some are less familiar and but for anyone that that might be really helpful and sorry for jumping in with another question but this is for either of you  I’m just wondering if you've thought a little bit about or if you can speak to this idea about how the pandemic has really kind of alerted everyone's awareness that we need nature I mean I know for myself I live in a small city and my biggest desire and need that I had to actively work on for my mental health during this period is to get myself in nature and my little plant back there wasn't enough so I’m just wondering you know if you had any thoughts about that thank you 
[Beth] yeah I think that this is gonna this is actually I just had a conversation with a parent who is looking to enroll their student yesterday and we talked about this because since the lockdown it's interesting how much more alert the general public is to the impact of the built environment I feel like it wasn't on a lot of people's radar and when you really are confined to a space you start to realize what's working and what's not working and that is just in general for interior design but also if you had a strong connection to nature you probably were feeling it very obviously and it was helping your stress and if it was the opposite you know you probably were increasing your stress so I think that oh I feel like the next few years we're going to really be on an uptick for the general awareness and calling for good design decisions and specifically looking for those nature incorporations because they are so obvious and can be almost immediate you know just a few minutes it can help your blood pressure and your stress levels so I think being able to practice and research and have this tool available right now like the more we can get the word out the better and I think it can really affect and help just the general homeowner buy and look at their design decisions their product selection and purchases in a more thoughtful manner and you don't have to really be you know trained into your designers we're starting to find out like people from all different disciplines can use it and that was an interesting feedback actually from the very first article that I wrote about this one of the reviewers commented and said you really should be marketing this to everybody should be using this so well taken I am still working on that I guess
[Ryan C] yeah I think well and I appreciate you asking that Nanci because I think it just well it helps kind of orient me to guess my work as an instructor and also as a clinician like I should be kind of assessing how people are reacting to their space and encouraging them to incorporate nature whether that's just getting outside and doing something getting exercise and enjoying nature or bringing nature in and making their space kind of work for them to promote wellness so I think it is very important and especially during this time when a lot of us are trapped inside for various reasons 
[Nanci] thank you that idea of our awareness about the built environment because it's problematic for people who wear it wasn't problematic for many people before is really a really a salient point and there's definitely been a lot of writing about it you know New York Times and New Yorker other places have had articles about how you know our thing how are things going to change in the built environment after the pandemic so hopefully one of the changes will be more attention to biophilic of design and other sustainable aspects of the environment 
[Ryan B] and this isn't fully formed enough honestly but I was just thinking about with the panda with the pandemic like in terms of just working and doing everything sort of in one place and I’m almost and putting that together with what Dr. Couillou was saying around sort of using nature almost as like part of like a mindfulness like acceptance framework and I just I wonder about the I guess I wonder about the possibility of like designing specific like a specific and this is more in terms of like long-term pandemic which hopefully we're not in right but if or if you are for whatever reason homebound right so potentially designing like room the difference of the rooms being those biophilic elements and that's sort of what can help you sort of transition throughout your day potentially from like work to sleep and not be doing that in the exact same type of environment almost just like maybe potentially making those smaller changes within whatever space you have and I know that's not exactly what we were talking about but just like getting at what you can do within whatever space you have and I don't know if you think about the like just almost like distinguishing rooms or like spaces like that but I would be curious what are your thoughts 
[Beth] yeah I know what you're saying let me let me see if I’m going okay I feel like yes there you probably if you have some defined roles or uses for spaces even if it's like a loft and so all open you still have kind of designated zones that can be really good for you to kind of set aside that like your directed attention if you're at the work and then just something more you know relaxed where you're in your sleeping area having the addition of daylight of course is you know has lots of research to support that if we have that really bright light that full daylight full sun in that kind of noon-ish time like 10-2 that light is the most important for us for having the chemical release so that we can get proper sleep at night so being able to have that true circadian rhythm through the lighting and even if you have to use an artificial system there's artificial indoor versions of that now that can support that and that definitely can help if somebody is completely inside all the time and I would say starting with that there's lots of research to support that the integration of plants of course is like what biophilic design is I think most known for but we're talking about how you know there is a lot of other attributes that's why I have this list of 54 features but we don't want to forget that too plants are an easy and affordable way it's also a way to be like a caretaker of an object so if you're able to do that that has lots of benefits there's research to support that so yeah you can still kind of set up almost like different stones and functions for your space I think and use maybe a thoughtful variety of attributes from the matrix and really start to customize each space in a way that'll make it unique but each of them can still be very biophilic and have all these unique kind of like customized features does that make sense does that help 
[Ryan B] no I love that yeah I love that and just that it's not like you have one space that's super nature heavy in one space that's not but like just the integration of those features can be different in different spaces to give you sort of just the feeling of switching through different environments I know in throughout the last year I’ve felt really lucky just to be in Texas and Dr. Weinberger is in Rhode Island so I I’ve just i've been seeing that it's been much easier for me to get outside and weather-wise right then if you're in like northeast north in the northeast generally so I think I like a lot of other people I’ve been thinking about like what do you do when you really are sort of more confined to one type of space that's helpful 
[Beth] It’s the most challenging I think for urban environments who don't have beautiful views outside like if you live right on central park in New York City that's a totally different environment obviously you know the size your space probably is bigger too but then like a teeny little loft somewhere down in the middle of soho or somewhere but maybe if you're able to kind of rethink those interior boundaries in how you make all these design decisions and going back to what you had said earlier I think having your intuitive design decisions like people make design decisions all the time they don't know why oh I really like this and I don't really like this or I’m going to choose this or and not this the cognitive awareness of having this list to say oh you know what this is probably why I like this better it does have this nature base this kind of connection to our innate need for nature which is what biophilic design really stems out of I think when you start to have that awareness it completely changes how you do your or assess your environment how you do your purchase thing and all of that
[Nanci] I think this is really helpful not only to me but maybe for others I feel like it's very validating because of the choices that I have been making especially during this time period and trying to bring in some more nature and bring it close to me I’ve talked about this before to Ryan she knows this the best the best pandemic gift I got for myself was a window bird feeder that's right there and it's just been the most it's just been the best thing it just it's I mean I can't even put it into words how powerful it has been and there was a huge shift for me when I did that and they're there they're frequently there they're right little finches there right now so I mean not everyone would respond in the same way so it's like people have to respond you know get to their figure out their own things but it what everything that you're saying is really validating to the this need and the need is always there but it just as we've been talking about has been elevated during the pandemic 
[Beth] yeah the matrix is supposed to be very user centered it's not a like check all the box instrument it's very much a personalized assessment of what works for you or for the client and it's different than like a like a lead checklist so you have to get this you know this many points 
[Nanci] do you think there you know or what could you articulate if there are any remaining barriers for designers to be using the matrix in there in their work 
[Beth] I am working on that with a couple guys out of Europe right now we're really trying to reassess how we can even kind of condense it a little bit more and make it more useful the goal of having the 54 is really to give you choice like to give you this freedom of options and so we don't want to like completely get away from that but we're still kind of tweaking that we're hoping to create an app for your phone that you could use to do an assessment or use for creative idea ideation so we've got that already in the works I think the general this general level of awareness we you know the more that we can educate the public about any of this the better 
[Nanci] well I’m just gonna make it a commercial for psychology because I think those projects Ryan your students can help with doing the usability of an app you know how well is this working and things like that you know with their research skills that's a strength of theirs and as well so I you know hopefully you will continue to collaborate in all sorts of creative ways 
[Beth] I’m sure I will I will ask for help very soon 
[Nanci] that's fabulous I mean I’m wondering if there are other things you know other kind of specialty specialized knowledge Ryan that you have or insights that you have that you wish that designers would know about it may go beyond biophilic design and maybe other things you know are there things that you wish either designers or researchers would ask you as someone that has both the clinical and the educational background it's kind of a big question 
[Ryan C] I think I guess  I’m not sure if there's anything that that I could provide or I could have specific advice but I guess more generally as they're kind of designing studies or approaching things making sure that what they're designing is inclusive and accessible we’ve done some in our collaborations in our research we've really tried to make things inclusive and accessible and keeping in mind the needs of the clients and also the people and the populations that were we're trying to research so I guess that that would be kind of like a general advice that I would give [Nanci] yeah I would love to hear actually more about that I think we have enough time you know just to hear about how just sometimes inadvertently designs may not have be fully inclusive or be fully we know that you know certainly there are the ADA and then beyond that universal design helps us do a good job with meeting the needs of accessibility but it doesn't this doesn't always get us there and then when you're talking about inclusiveness you can also talk about other kinds of inclusiveness I would think you know who feels at home in a certain space does everyone feel safe here does everyone feel comfortable does everyone feel welcome so I think having your perspective on that and reminding designers that those are important things I think is great what are your thoughts Beth 
[Beth] you know what I think I well I agree I would we're actually working a part of an advisory panel with IWI that really we just had a workshop on it yesterday we're trying to look at in general even thinking about like cultural inclusivity in the built environment where that has not been a huge you know emphasis so thinking about inclusiveness more in that larger scale and equity in in design in general as well as specifically in like healthcare environments and certain populations where they're already starting or have had some headway ahead of us but yeah I think that we need to be thinking about that I feel like universal design has been around a long time I mean not for like ever and ever as far as a term but like in general we have been doing it for a while but the application still isn't there like new buildings new homes they're not really built with universal design as a default you have to kind of fight to get that into the program I feel like especially if you're looking at multi-family housing I think it's very limited the number of you know like true universal and aging in place facilities you can find so even though the research is there we're really not there yet as a society that is valuing this idea of inclusiveness and supporting the fact that you want to stay in your home healthy as you know and supported as long as possible with minim remodeling so we don't want to have to add grab bars you know after the fact and if we break even just break a leg and you're using crutches you realize how not inclusive your built environment is so it doesn't have to be a lifelong thing but the more that we can think long term in our building decisions the more sustainable it's going to be as well as it's going to be helpful for all users so there's little things that you can do for example I just switched out my door hardware to my entries to instead of the round knob to a lever which even with my hands because I have some I think early arthritis that just that motion is very challenging to do so there's little things like that that could just be standard practice but we're but we are really not there yet so that's another thing I feel like the more that we can inform builders and stakeholders and all in all manners for general easy things like putting blocking in the in the wall when you're building your house so that in case you need to add a grab bar it's already there because it's not set spots it's very easy to do when you're building it costs like you know hardly anything but the planning that's involved is not really that common so there are definitely things like that that we could do that's easy to be more inclusive 
[Ryan C] I think that that was like one of our objectives well for the class it really came out with the projects and we did what the so the culmination of this service learning project this year was to present at a diversity fair that our university was hosting as and we instructed the class the class to each group had to have a diversity theme incorporated into their design and recommendations so for instance and it had to be applicable to the site to the center and the populations that they're seeing so for instance one group did a recommendations for older adults with dementia and another group did for persons with anxiety disorders so we've really tried to build that awareness for with the students and in our instruction of being inclusive and being mindful about different people that are going to be using these spaces 
[Nanci] I love that I mean I think that even if someone doesn't fit into one of those particular categories it's very empowering to see that that changes can be made to be more inclusive and that they can be there's some creativity there that could represent their own needs as well as people that they care about so those are great examples so I know we need to wrap up soon and I just want to make sure that we give you a chance to if you know if you have any other remaining thoughts or questions for each other I know that you collaborate a lot with each other and hopefully this is inspiring even deeper thoughts about the work that you're doing I know we're learning a lot and we've learned a lot today and if you if there's any things that you want us to know shout out to any organizations or you know we're getting to hear about a lot of different exciting things that you guys are working on but we I I’ve learned a lot you've reinforced a lot of things that I was familiar with the study is fantastic and I hope that any of the barriers that people do have in improving their spaces either for themselves or for their clients they can overcome with this matrix and with your outreach work that they're that you're both involved in so thank you both so much for sharing today it's been fantastic 
[Ryan C] thank you 
[Beth] thank you 
[Ryan B] I especially appreciate it there at the end when you're talking about sort of the how you can design it for an aging population or just people who we know will age and the idea I think that that strikes me a lot of like things that aren't that hard to do in the planning process that can make it so much easier for people in the future who are moving in and out of the house or living in the house and things like that so that that part in particular really resonated with me and I’m just I’m again grateful that y'all are doing the work that you're doing and also that you came on SciTea 
[Nanci] hey 
[Beth] thanks for the invite this is great 
[Ryan C] thanks for inviting us 
[Beth] yea thank you so much if you want to share my website you can put that on the screen and yeah free access to whatever 
[Nanci] that is wonderful 
[Ryan B] yeah that's perfect we will definitely direct people to check out your website and the all of the information that is freely available there so I am excited I was I was looking at it before this I’m thinking about my own spaces so anyone that is interested can also do that