In cities, thousands of people walk around facades of many buildings daily. How we design them has a profound effect on human lives.

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The principles of humane architecture are nothing new. You have probably heard about most of them and you have almost certainly seen them in number of older buildings. But what makes them more relevant today than ever before is the knowledge about human psychology. It shows that we need to return to these principles and create a new kind of architecture — modern, but human-centered. And designing good facades is one of the key parts of this process.

But first we need to talk about beauty. In the past century under the influence of philosophy and modern art, most of us have adopted the adage that “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.” But even this belief is slowly falling apart thanks to science. Of course, there are differences in what we find beautiful. But research also shows that, in reality, we are much more similar in our perceptions of beauty. This is because beauty is not just an inexplicable and purely subjective concept. …


In the recent years, there has been a lot of discussion about public space. We often hear how important is the right size of a square, the appropriate choice of greenery, comfortable sidewalks for pedestrians or ergonomic design of benches. We hear a little less, however, that one of the most important elements of public space is the buildings that surround and shape it.

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Negative space is not enclosed, it forms the background for buildings. Outdated standards often lead to it. Source: Hi Development

There are several reasons for this. First of them might be a practical one. Under today’s conditions and with the current form of the zoning plan in many European cities, the city simply does not have much impact on the appearance of buildings. In some countries, we encounter so-called “form-based” zoning plans. Meaning those that determine the formal appearance rather than the function of buildings in a certain zone, so that the whole neighborhood looks pleasing and unified.

The second reason is the orientation of today’s architecture on individual buildings and their authors, rather than the creation of harmonious neighborhoods. And the third one is the strong legal protection of private property, which results in weak powers of the city in regulating the appearance of buildings. …


The weekly economy and business magazine TREND has interviewed me about the future of offices after the COVID-19 pandemic. I am sharing it in English with their kind permission.

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Photo by bantersnaps on Unsplash

Interviewer: Jozef Ryník
Interviewed:
Michal Matlon
Link to article in Slovak: https://www.trend.sk/trend-archiv/vyuzivanie-kancelarii-bude-karantene-flexibilnejsie

The experience with remote work gives people and companies the courage to make changes in offices and work processes. Organizations will have to be more flexible if they want to attract people back into the offices, claims Michal Matlon, workplace psychologist, in an interview for TREND.

What effect on the worker can a three month quarantine and home office have? Will it be difficult for them to get back to work?

It depends on the conditions they have at home, as well as the personality of the worker. For many people, home office won’t be suitable, since they have children or a partner at home who distract them. Many don’t have a necessary equipment — a comfortable chair, an ergonomic desk or a large enough computer monitor. Some people also need a clearly separated space for work and so they will see the spillage of work into their home as undesired. …


Be on alert for money leaving the work spaces. With our current knowledge about what humans need to be well and fulfill their potential, we need to invest into our space more than ever.

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Working from home as a pleasant change of environment. But it shouldn’t stop us from improving the office.

Millions of people have now experienced what it means to work from home for more than an afternoon. Not only from the position of an employee, but also that of a manager. People who couldn’t have imagined before that their workers will click away in their living rooms are now forced to rethink this mindset.

With this comes a realization that this is probably not a onetime event. COVID-19 has brought us a long needed, although a clunky push towards new ways of working.

You have probably read paragraphs like this a thousand times already. What I want to talk about though, is how we should imagine the world beyond this situation. …


How listing hundreds of world’s issues in a video made me realize the risks of socially responsible burnout.

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Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash

A walking commute gives me time to think. Sometimes, it makes me think too much. Especially on this summer day, when I was contemplating why I feel so pessimistic about the world.

You know, the usual. Everything’s wrong, we’re all going to die soon, society is going downhill… Trying to get to the root of the feeling, I told myself: “Michal, don’t be so general, everyone can complain like that. What exactly is wrong?”

So I started coming up with these topics in my head. One by one.

Net neutrality,
Racial profiling,
Solar energy,
Yemen war
Fake porn…

It continued, not only through my walk home, but also through the dinner. …


3 questions you can judge your business accomplishments by

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Photo by Fred Kearney on Unsplash

With each new generation born, it is said, the sensitivity to values grows. It could be the natural progress of civilization. Or it could be the load of global issues which we daily read about. Climate change, extreme inequality, dangers to democracy, and ever-increasing mental stress — these are just a few of hundreds of similar topics.

Also, the latest generations — the millennials and generation Z — are now those who will be responsible for tackling these issues. It’s no wonder, then, that they look at the world a bit differently. …


It’s not just you who will benefit from this decision. It’s the whole society.

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Sign at Facebook HQ on the 1st of March 2017, showing the now redundant employees the way to the exit. Image: Chris Griffith / Creative Commons

I have a confession to make. My Facebook account is not the first one I’ve ever had. Not a second one. Not even a third one. In fact, I had an on and off relationship with this fat blue whale for the last 9 years. And now, I’m leaving her.

You might say: “Ah, but you’ll be back on her doorstep in no time, begging her to let you in.” And maybe you’re right. But this time, I feel it’s different.

The Red Flags


Instead of throwing an app at every area of social life, we should stop and think. Often, the real solution is to change ourselves first.

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Photo by Rebecca Siegel under Creative Commons

Every day, technology industry gives rise to a new app, promising to connect us with others in pursuit of friendship, love, community or services.

We are nearing a point in time when no aspect of human contact, personal or professional will be left untouched by a seemingly innovative way of interaction.

Don’t be mistaken, I am a huge fan of meaningful innovation. But before we let our social interactions be completely designed by engineers and developers, we must ask ourselves a question:

Shouldn’t we first fix the lack of trust, honesty and community offline, before adding technology to the mix?

Uber made it easy to trust strangers with driving us home from a party. But what happens when the crutches are taken away? …


Here is what I did in one day to protect my data and my beloved private zone.

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Photo by Josh Hallett under Creative Commons Attribution License

Last years were not very kind to our privacy. Our own governments are spying on us, hackers are selling our data and companies are making huge profits by addicting us to junk information with ads based on detailed profiles of our lives.

There are people fighting to save us from a complete erosion of our privacy. But what is at least as much important is saving ourselves and reclaiming our privacy both as citizens and customers.

I took a few basic steps to reclaim my privacy and gain some freedom in the process. I want to share these steps with you, along with guides for each of them. …

About

Michal Matlon

Psychology of architecture and workplaces. https://www.michalmatlon.com/

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