Research Activities

Here you will find general description about my research activities, including my PostDoc work at Chalmers University of Technology.  The majority of my research relates to building design for social and health development.

Research Subjects

Building design (processes), co-design, design briefs, design methods, design education

Human health; health, wellbeing, health promotion, positive health, healthy behaviour, equity, empowerment

Settings; Hospitals and healthcare, University, Workplaces, 

 

Research Projects

2020 - 2022 Furbish Sustainable Healthcare (FSH)​

at Architecture & Civil Engineering at Chalmers University of Technology

Demographic changes will lead to a globally aging population, a growing number of single households and increasing urbanisation and migration. Population projections suggest there will be 66.1 million people aged 80 years plus in the EU-28 by 2080, and less than two persons of working-age for each elderly person, an enormous threat for healthcare and welfare. Widespread and interconnected challenges make hospitals an important target to focus on for addressing societal health and wellbeing and social equality on the one, and energy conservation and climate mitigation on the other hand. This is particularly important now, as many of the healthcare buildings in most parts of Europe are in urgent need of redesign, which requires further research and cross-collaboration within the healthcare sector, society and other disciplines such as building technology and design.

 

Purpose
In 2019, the involved researchers started to work on understanding factors for health and well-being promotion in hospitals by applying the SSO method that has been developed at Chalmers for designing sustainable offices with a focus on good indoor environmental quality (IEQ), well-being and comfort at workplaces. The purpose of the (Re)designing hospitals project is to lay the ground for further research on (i) sustainable development of healthcare environment as well as (ii) the introduction of health promotive organisations.

 

Collaborations
The collaboration has been established between RWTH Aachen in Germany, one of the best universities in engineering sciences in Europe, and MHH, one of the six leading university hospitals in Germany and the Chalmers spinoff company Furbish with researchers from two different divisions at ACE (see above). As a next step, we do see the need to involve other stakeholders in the Västra Gothenburg Region (VGR) and Gothenburg University, working with healthcare questions as well.

2020 - 2022 Employee's health and Office Design Approaches

at Architecture & Civil Engineering at Chalmers University of Technology

This project is the PhD project of Melina Forooraghi. This abstract is from her Licentiate thesis published in 2020. This was originally published here: https://research.chalmers.se/en/publication/517174). Her work is still ongoing; and current publications can be found here: https://research.chalmers.se/en/person/melinaf

 

Abstract
The office, where many people spend most of their day, influences the health of employees, their families, communities, and society. While the body of research that relates office environment to health is growing, a question of interest for practitioners arises: how buildings should be designed and managed in order to support and promote health. This Licentiate thesis adopts a Salutogenic perspective in physical office environments. The Salutogenic approach is an orientation toward health that focuses on the origins of health rather than on the determinants of disease. Salutogenesis indicates that the factors that create health are often different from those that cause illness. In this perspective, ‘sense of coherence’ has been found to be a resource for health promotion. However, the previous research concerning health in offices has tended to focus on the negative impacts of physical office environments (pathogenic) and less research has been carried out on the components that create and maintain health (Salutogenic).

 

Her research work included two literature reviews and a mixed-method case study approach. First, health and healthy offices are studied in the context of office design approaches to explore how health is understood in the literature. Additionally, the Nordic perspective is specifically studied as a complementary setting to gain a deeper understanding of healthy office conceptualizations. While the literature provides input from the scientific perspective, the case study approach was used to explore the sense of coherence theory in an architectural context.

 

The findings first revealed that conceptualizations of health and healthy offices were not abundant, and most approaches were limited to a pathogenic perspective. Second, design strategies were often formulated with little consideration of contextual factors. That is, no holistic office design approach was found to address all design features and health aspects. Finally, from a sense of coherence perspective, manageability and meaningfulness were the most recurrently influenced components, mainly by a sense of control, ownership, and opportunities for social interactions. Comprehensibility was also influenced, nevertheless, largely by the lack of behavioral rules and clarity. Contextual factors, such as the organizational work culture, facility management style, individual preferences, and activities were critical to elucidate the findings.

 

To conclude, the findings highlight the need for holistic approaches that go beyond the mitigation of pathogenic aspects and promote the salutogenic resources of the physical office environment in order to strengthen employees’ sense of coherence and empower them to more positively and adaptively deal with stressors. As such, the move toward the healthy continuum in office environments involves two complementary strategies. First, modifications can be made to the office aimed at alleviating risk factors (e.g., improving air quality) and second, maximizing the presence of salutogenic resources (e.g., optimizing a sense of control).

 

My role in this project: 
I have been involved in this project first a co-author, then also a co-supervisor. 

2020 - 2021 HomeWorkPlace & Employee Wellbeing (HWP)

at Architecture & Civil Engineering at Chalmers University of Technology

In relation to the current COVID-19 Pandemic we are studying the remote-workplaces of employees of Chalmers University Of Technology. We mainly explore the relation between the home work conditions (e.g. social density, household constellation, unpaid activities), work activities (e.g. lab work, desk work, teaching), health behaviours (e.g. taking regular breaks for water, social interaction) and health (e.g. productivity, perceived physical health, perceived mental health). We hope to identify the factors that complicate remote work and identify vulnerable employee populations to be able to inform organisastional strategies. 


My role in the project has been to co-develop the aim and research question of the study. I have also designed and developed the survey questions, the survey format to collect the data. I have extracted the data and provided preliminary results.  

2014 - 2019 Architectural Inventions for Dwelling, Ageing and Healthcaring (AIDAH)

at Architecture & Civil Engineering at Chalmers University of Technology

The AIDAH research and innovation environment intends to unfold intra-, inter- and transdisciplinary research supporting implementation projects for a sustainable built environment that confront three major societal challenges:(1) Increasing diversified articulated demands on the housing market call for alterability and adaptability in solutions for new resilient ways of residing. (2) An ageing society requires new residential ways of living that combine dignity and appropriate care enabling individuals to remain independent in residence as long as possible but that also provide sound working environments for personnel. (3) Profound changes in technical conditions for caring and medical treatment necessitate rethinking traditional healthcare situations and developing new situations ranging from advanced care in residence to intensive care units in hospital and patient hotels.

 

Sustainability issues at stake in patterns of residential behavior must be considered to have paramount importance in any strategy for a resilient urban future. The involved teams provide different and complementary perspectives focusing on the shared notion of quality of residence considered in architectural, spatial and experiential properties of built environments for housing and healthcare contexts. The applied conceptual and theoretical framework focuses on architectural and caring innovations for reconfigured spatial situations that enhance sustainable caring, improve health, well-being, new welfare and quality of life. Our research effort will particularly focus on identifying and characterizing strategies directed towards the integration of different ways of residing.

 

The intended scientific integration in conceptual and methodological terms—between architecture humanities research, sociology of residence and caring sciences—is intended to bridge gaps and initiate transgressive academic approaches exploring new modes of knowledge production. Objectives of these approaches include identifying and articulating new resilient qualities in designs, in caring processes and healing environments, thereby providing new operational knowledge developed in close collaboration with diverse actors and stakeholders in society. International research exchange will provide further valid strategic evidence-based design support for decision makers in planning, building and medical services. The interdisciplinary team of researchers from architectural design, social and caring sciences are based at the Centre for Healthcare Architecture, CVA, the recently established Centre for Residential Architecture, CBA and the CIB W069 Commission Residential Studies, all hosted by Chalmers with active team participation also in EU COST Action Intrepid.

 

Health Promotive Building Design
My role has been to focus on the design of healthcare buildings in relation to ongoing healthcare developments, namely the introduction of health promotion.

 

Partner organizations

  • Dalarna university (Academic, Sweden)
  • University of Gothenburg (Academic, Sweden)
  • University of Gothenburg (Publisher, Sweden)

Start date 12/11/2013 – End date The project is closed: 31/12/2019

Find more information, such as collaborating researchers here

2012- 2013 Grondslagen (translated Architectural Foundations)

at Architecture at Technical. University Delft

Which design principles have laid the foundations for what the built environment around us looks like? 

To support the Bachelors of Architecture at TU Delft, we developed a systematic overview of, and insight in, the history of architecture, urban and landscape design. Each component focused on 40 projects that together visualise central design principles (e.g. Grondslagen). The focus has been on; 

  • The home, its garden and landscape; 
  • public space and buildings; 
  • residing, building and surroundings; 
  • the European Metropool. 

 

My work has focused on collecting building material, such as historical drawings and photos, to support the development of drawings of the project.  Additionally I was responsible for developing the drawings of 20 housing project, that should have a common visual style to allow comparison and plan analysis. 

 

The developed material is currently used in the courses with the same name; Grondslagen 1, 2, 3 and 4. 

Publications

2021

  • [Journal paper] Miedema, E., Lindahl, G., & Elf, M. (2021) The Swedish Health Promoting Healthcare Network and the Built Environment. Health Promotion International 0(0) [accepted for publication]

2020

  • [Journal Paper] Forooraghi, M., Miedema, E., Ryd, N., & Wallbaum, H. (2020). Scoping review of health in office design approaches. Journal of Corporate Real Estate, 22(2), 155–180. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCRE-08-2019-0036
  • [Peer-reviewed Conference Paper] Dumitrache, O., Miedema, E., & Dobre, C. C. (2020). Active Care – Building Design for Habilitation Centers. IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science, 588https://doi.org/10.1088/1755-1315/588/3/032078
  • [PhD Thesis] Miedema, E. (2020). Health-promotive building design [Chalmers University of Technology]. In doctoral thesis. https://research.chalmers.se/publication/515674/file/515674_Fulltext.pdf 
  • [Journal Paper] Marco Adelfio, Iqbal Hamiduddin & Elke Miedema (2020) London’s King’s Cross redevelopment: a compact, resource efficient and ‘liveable’ global city model for an era of climate emergency?, Urban Research & Practice, DOI: 1080/17535069.2019.1710860

2019

  • [Peer-Reviewed Conference Paper] Miedema, E., Lindahl, G., & Elf, M. (2019). Health promotion and the built environment – views from Swedish care organisations. Paper presented at the Building for better health, research & innovation in architecture & urban design for care & health., Trondheim, Norway. https://research.chalmers.se/publication/510797/file/510797_Fulltext.pdf
  • [Journal Paper] Miedema, E., Lindahl, G., & Elf, M. (2019). Conceptualizing Health Promotion in Relation to Outpatient Healthcare Building Design: A Scoping Review. HERD: Health Environments Research & Design Journal12(1), 69–86. https://doi.org/10.1177/1937586718796651

2017

2015

  • [Conference Poster] Miedema, E.(2015). Engaging stakeholders in Complex Design using Symbiosis in Development method. Design 4 Health Conference, July 13-16, 2015 Sheffield UK.

2012

  • [Conference Proceedings] E. Miedema (2012). “How can Architecture contribute to the re-socialization process of forensic psychiatric patients?” In the proceedings of the IAPS conference on Humans Experience in the Natural and Built environment: Implications for research, policy, and Practice.

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