Using Brainwaves to Map DUMBO

Columbia University and the Van Alen Institute recently tracked how urban environments can make people relaxed or tense. Instead of the typical focus groups and surveys the researchers tracked brainwaves to gauge the mental activities of nearly 100 volunteers who navigated their way through New York City. After a day of training and experimentation with the brain computer interfaces, groups of 10 to 12 participants took predefined walks through a three-square-block area within DUMBO. The neighborhood was chosen for its “clean block structure,” and its bisection by the Manhattan Bridge. The routes took participants through different urban environments, including city blocks, road intersections, under the bridge, and other urban infrastructure.


Researchers mapped areas of attention (red) and meditation (cyan) as volunteers walked through the DUMBO neighborhood. It was concluded that "Between street intersections, many participants often resumed a meditative state" while walking through DUMBO.

To learn more about the experiment read Architect Magazine's article here