News - August 15, 2013

Why do we eat lunch at our desk?

Roelof Kleis

Alterra examines the campus layout.
Student survey: campus is too smart and dull.

The campus is a large site with lots of greenery, developed by the renowned landscape architects B&B and Adriaan Geuze. In principle this makes it a healthy environment but not enough staff take advantage of it. Alterra wants to know why, and what can be done to improve the situation. A questionnaire was set up to find out more and has now been completed by more than 300 employees.
‘Numerous studies show that green surroundings have a positive impact on people’s health,’ says landscape architect Arjen Spijker­man from Alterra. ‘But many staff carry on working at their desk during the lunch break, which is not healthy. How can we tempt these employees to get out and make use of the campus grounds?’
The survey focuses on the use of the campus. How do we use the space, what do we do during the lunch break and what changes need to be made to the grounds to encourage people to use them? But it does not stop at a survey. A design session will be held at the end of the month (29 August) in which the results will be turned into concrete proposals for a new layout. In principle anyone can take part in this session.

It could be a lot more welcoming
Amande de Bresser
Alterra’s initiative is not the only such study. Last autumn, ESG students conducted a study of the campus layout as part of an honours programme. ‘We were interested in how people experience the green spaces and whether these grounds are appropriate for this university,’ explains Amanda de Bresser (Soil, Water and Atmosphere Bachelor’s student). More than 900 students and staff completed their questionnaire.

The final report will be appearing soon but she reveals the conclusion anyway. De Bresser: ‘It is true that this is a green campus – it has a green floor. But it’s all very open. People really feel a need for more trees, bushes and shelter. It’s all too smart and neat. As a result, people experience the green spaces as bare and sober’. And that fits in neatly with her own experience. ‘It’s green and looks good but it could be a lot more welcoming. At the moment it looks like a bunch of building blocks dropped in a field.’