Digging Deep: The Effect of Design on the Social Behavior and Attitudes of People Working in Underground Workplaces in Europe

  • Vinita VenugopalEmail author
  • Gunnar D. Jenssen
  • Adam C. Roberts
  • Kian-Woon Kwok
  • Zheng Tan
  • George I. Christopoulos
  • Chee-Kiong Soh
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 825)


With the cities of the world grappling with the ever-increasing challenge of land scarcity, sustainable solutions such as Underground Workplaces (UW) have been getting renewed interest. However, considering the hefty investments that will go into building UW and since the success of this solution relies on the wellbeing of the people who are to occupy it, there is a need to examine existing UW from a human factor point of view. In this paper, we present an analysis of how design factors in UW affect the attitudes and social behavior of employees and how these perceptions and attitudes towards the workplace vary across different work types. According to our analysis organic elements, art, architecture and lighting affect social behavior and attitudes. These factors can be manipulated according to the type of work and environment in a way that is in line with company values. The paper also attempts to create a framework for how the significance of the work environment varies with the type of work and workplaces.


Underground offices Work type Type of workplace Work environment Underground work environment Workplace design 



This material is based on research/work supported by the Land and Liveability National Innovation Challenge under L2 NIC Award No. L2NICCFP1-2013-2. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the L2 NIC.


  1. 1.
    UN-DESA, World Urbanization Prospects (2018) The 2018 Revision. Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Population Division United NationsGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Lee EU, Christopoulos G, Lu M, Soh CK (2016) Social aspects of working in underground spaces. Tunneling Undergr Spaces TechnolGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Nagy E, Yasunaga S, Kose S (1995) Japanese office employees’ psychological reactions to their underground and above-ground officesGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Kuller R, Wetterberg L (1996) The subterranean work environment: impact on well-being and health. Environ Int 22(1):33–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Carmody J, Sterling RL (1990) Underground space on earth: analog for a lunarbase. In: Engineering, construction, and operations in space II. ASCE, pp 551–560Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Roberts AC, Christopoulos GI, Car J, Soh CK, Lu M (2016) Psycho-biological factors associated with underground spaces: what can the new era of cognitive neuroscience offer to their study? Tunnelling Undergr Space Technol 55Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Heerwagen JH, Orians GH (1986) Adaptations to windowlessness: a study of the use of visual decor in windowed and windowless offices. Environ Behav 18(5):623–639CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Laing A, Duffy F, Jaunzens D, Willis S (1998) New environments for working: the redesign of offices and environmental systems for new ways of working. Construction Research Communications Ltd., London, pp 29–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Vischer JC (2008) Towards an environmental psychology of workspace: how people are affected by environments for work. Architectural Sci. Rev. 51(2):97–108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Newsham G (1997) Cost-effective open plan environments (COPE): a new research initiative. Constr Innovation 3(1):32–34Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Croome D, Baizhan L (2000) Productivity and indoor environment. Proc Healthy Buildings 1:629–634Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Haynes B (2008) An evaluation of the impact of the office environment on productivity. Facilities 26(5/6):178–195CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Alexander C, Ishikawa S, Silverstein M, Jacobson M, Fiksdahl-King I, Angel S (1977) A pattern languageGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Park G (2010) Staff break roomGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    John C (2017) The see-through office: why interior glass is all the rage in workplace designGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Michaels M The inspired room-interior windows: make a small space brighter & largerGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Lim LC (2016) Home and Décor – 1 open concept homes with designs that integrate interior windowsGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Westheimer J, Kahne J (1993) Building school communities: an experience-based model. Phi Delta Kappan 75:324Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Graves LN (1992) Cooperative learning communities: context for a new vision of education and society. J Educ 174(2):57–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Rovai AP (2002) Building sense of community at a distance. Int Rev Res Open Distrib Learn 3(1)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Wellman B (1999) The network community: an introduction to networks in the global village. In: Wellman B (ed) Networks in the global village. Westview Press, Boulder, pp 1–48Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Wellman B, Gulia M (1999) The network basis of social support: a network is more than the sum of its ties. In: Wellman B (ed) Networks in the global village. Westview Press, Boulder, pp 83–118Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Bell G, Greene C (2011) Fisher, & Baum (2001). Environmental PsychologyGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Hartig T, Mang M, Evans GW (1991) Restorative effects of natural environment experiences. Environ Behav 23(1):3–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Herzog TR, Black AM, Fountaine KA, Knotts DJ (1997) Reflection and attentional recovery as distinctive benefits of restorative environments. J Environ Psychol 17(2):165–170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Kaplan R (2001) The nature of the view from home: psychological benefits. Environ Behav 33(4):507–542MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Ulrich RS (1984) View through a window may influence recovery from surgery. Science 224(4647):420–421CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Thompson CW, Travlou P (eds) (2007) Open space: people space. Taylor & FrancisGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Kaplan R, Kaplan S (1989) The experience of nature: a psychological perspective. CUP ArchiveGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Shibata S, Suzuki N (2001) Effects of indoor foliage plants on subjects’ recovery from mental fatigue. North Am J Psychol 3(3):385Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Nishina H, Nakamura H, Asaumi H, Masui Y, Hashimoto Y (1995) Simulation model of thermal environment and comfort in rooms where plants are placed. Environ Control Biol 33(4):277–284CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Kondo M, Toriyama T (1989) Experimental research on the effectiveness of using green in reducing of visual fatigue caused by VDT operation. J Japan Inst Landscape Archit 52:139–144CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Hartig T, Böök A, Garvill J, Olsson T, Gärling T (1996) Environmental influences on psychological restoration. Scand J Psychol 37(4):378–393CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Heerwagen JH, Orians GH (1986) Adaptation to windowlessness: a study of the use of visual decor in windowed and windowless offices. Environ Behav 18:623–639CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Kaplan R (1993) The role of nature in the context of the workplace. Landscape Urban Plan 26(1–4):193–201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Farley KM, Veitch JA (2001) A room with a view: a review of the effects of windows on work and well-beingGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Collins BL (1976) Review of the psychological reaction to windows. Lighting Res Technol 8(2):80–88CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Csikszentmihalyi M, LeFevre J (1989) Optimal experience in work and leisure. J Pers Soc Psychol 56(5):815CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Bloch PH, Ridgway NM, Dawson SA (1994) The shopping mall as consumer habitat. J Retail 70(1):23–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Hollister FD (1968) A report on the problems of windowless environments. Greater London council. Hobbs the Printers Ltd, LondonGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Pritchard D (1964) A review of industrial lighting in windowless factories. Light Lighting 9:280–296Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Grell LB (2013) Exploring the influence of the physical environment of workspace on public sector employee creativityGoogle Scholar
  43. 43. Innovative Companies (2018)Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Lauvland G, Clathworthy S (1992) Subjective safety versus objective risk in tunnels. Architectural solutions. Phase I, Hypothesis generating study (In Norwegian). Human Factors Solutions, OsloGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Jenssen (2011) Design of attractive Underground parking. SINTEF Report F19447Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vinita Venugopal
    • 1
    Email author
  • Gunnar D. Jenssen
    • 2
  • Adam C. Roberts
    • 1
  • Kian-Woon Kwok
    • 3
  • Zheng Tan
    • 4
  • George I. Christopoulos
    • 5
  • Chee-Kiong Soh
    • 1
  1. 1.Civil and Environmental EngineeringNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.SINTEF Transport Safety and InformaticsTrondheimNorway
  3. 3.Humanities and Social SciencesNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore
  4. 4.The Chinese University of Hong KongHong KongChina
  5. 5.Nanyang Business SchoolNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore

Personalised recommendations