Requirements for Designing Kind Spaces

Alrimawi, Faeq and Nuseibeh, Bashar (2023). Requirements for Designing Kind Spaces. In: 2023 IEEE 31st International Requirements Engineering Conference Workshops (REW), 4-5 Sep 2023, Hannover, Germany, IEEE, pp. 36–41.



Kindness is an important quality of human behavior, and the physical spaces in which people live, work, and interact can significantly influence the experience and expression of kindness. With the growing integration of digital technology into physical spaces, designers have a unique opportunity to intentionally foster and amplify kindness while also mitigating unkindness. However, creating such spaces is a challenge that requires an understanding of the various intertwined digital, physical, psychological, and social dimensions. To gain such an understanding, it is important to identify and articulate the key requirements that reflect these dimensions and their interplay. In this paper we explore the notion of a kind space—a space intentionally designed to enable and amplify kind behavior while preventing unkind behavior. We argue that the design of kind spaces requires consideration of two essential requirements: topology, the arrangement and relationship of digital and physical spatial entities, and psycho-social factors, such as emotionality and social relatedness. We examine these requirements and their operationalization, proposing a way for designers to create kind spaces. We use a professional workspace scenario to demonstrate the application of such requirements. We suggest that the deliberate use of digital technology in creating kind spaces can positively impact individuals and communities.

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