Starbucks is doing pretty well, don’t you think? Bars, restaurants and other gathering places also seem to be pretty popular. All of those various venues that are crowded, loud and generally inconvenient in a lot of ways is a lesson in group dynamics.
Despite what is commonly assumed, people don’t naturally descend to the most convenient, the quietest or the most comfortable. People are energized by being around other people. But the gathering places that are successful understand that there have to be rules.
One of the truly unique aspects of behavioral healthcare is the patients are ambulatory. Because of that, they will fully inhabit the spaces in which they are being treated. It is a mistake to think of their gathering time as just a safety concern.
So much of group space design is based around how to control the group. It is essential that we look at the types of spaces where we choose to be around a crowd, to understand how to design for folks who are forced to be around a crowd.
So, here are a few rules to live by.