On the Rise of the Psychological State
Chapter 4: Replanning the street: changing behaviours by spatial design
In the Odenplan underground station in Stockholm, Sweden, there is a staircase painted as a piano wired up to make musical sounds as people walk on it (Figure 4.1). Its purpose is to encourage people to prefer the stairs to the lifts or escalator and get people moving, fit and healthy. The piano staircase was an initiative in 2009 of car company Volkswagen, which runs a ‘fun theory’ award, using fun ideas to change people’s behaviour. The principles behind the piano staircase have much in common with the core ideas of behaviour change outlined in Chapters 1 and 2. It is aimed at changing people’s behaviour not by regulation, legislation, incentive or punishment, but through subtle environmental cues which guide people towards actions and decisions which are deemed to be in their longer-term best interests. A second example is provided by Thaler and Sunstein in Nudge (2008: 37) in their home town of Chicago, where white stripes have been painted on to the road at the scenic Lake Shore Drive in order to encourage drivers to slow down on this dangerous stretch of bendy road.
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