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Article
Architectural Design and Physical Activity: An Observational Study of Staircase and Elevator Use in Different Buildings
Journal of Physical Activity & Health (2013)
  • David R. Bassett, University of Tennessee
  • Ray Browning, Colorado State University
  • Scott A. Conger, University of Tennessee
  • Dana L. Wolff, University of Tennessee
  • Jennifer I. Flynn, University of Tennessee
Abstract

Background: The indoor built environment has the potential to influence levels of physical activity. However, the extent to which architectural design in commercial buildings can influence the percentage of people choosing to use the stairs versus elevators is unknown. The purpose of this study was to determine if buildings with centrally located, accessible, and aesthetically pleasing staircases result in a greater percentage of people taking the stairs.

Methods: Direct observations of stair and elevator use were conducted in 3 buildings on a university campus. One of the buildings had a bank of 4 centrally located elevators and a ire escape stairwell behind a steel door. The other 2 buildings had centrally located staircases and out-of-the-way elevators.

Results: The percentage of people who ascended the stairs was 8.1% in the elevator-centric building, compared with 72.8% and 81.1% in the 2 stair-centric buildings (P < .001). In addition, the percentage of people who descended the stairs was 10.8% in the first building, compared with 89.5% and 93.7% in the stair-centric buildings (P < .001).

Conclusions: The results of the current study suggest that if buildings are constructed with centrally located, accessible, and aesthetically pleasing staircases, a greater percentage of people will choose to take the stairs.

Keywords
  • built environment,
  • architecture,
  • stair climbing,
  • stair descending
Disciplines
Publication Date
May 1, 2013
Citation Information
David R. Bassett, Ray Browning, Scott A. Conger, Dana L. Wolff, et al.. "Architectural Design and Physical Activity: An Observational Study of Staircase and Elevator Use in Different Buildings" Journal of Physical Activity & Health Vol. 10 (2013)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/scott_conger/1/