Chatham University

Interior Architecture (MIA) Faculty and Staff

Shimon Zimbovsky

Shimon Zimbovsky

S.Zimbovsky@chatham.edu
Adjunct Faculty
Hometown : Chicago, Illinois

Academic Areas of Interest

1. Research on the impacts of the built environment on human health and wellbeing. 2. Site and urban design performance best practices. 3. Post occupancy evaluations of sites and buildings.

Personal Areas of Interest

Spending time with my wife and kids and going for a run if I have some free time.

Biography

I completed an MLA from the University of Illinois in 2013 and, prior to that, a BLA from the same institution in 2009. I have a strong interest in the transformative relationship between well-informed research and sustainable design, as it pertains to both the environment and human health. I have had the privilege of exploring best practices in various contexts and have successfully employed diverse qualitative and quantitative methods in my data collection. As a graduate student, I joined the staff of Hitchcock Design Group, a leading Chicago-based landscape architecture and planning firm, and was responsible for designing and implementing post-occupancy evaluations of urban design projects, nature-based playgrounds and healing gardens. Based on this experience, I co-presented a paper with my supervisor, at the 2013 CELA conference entitled, “Challenges and Lessons Learned From Developing a Critical Research Practice in an Established Landscape Architecture Firm.” As a Ryerson Traveling Fellow, I conducted an extensive study of approaches to water sensitive planning and sustainable urban design in Israel. As part of my fieldwork, I interviewed twenty-two leading researchers and practitioners in the field , I and developed comprehensive performance case studies of ten sites throughout the country that employ constructed wetlands to treat wastewater at various scales, levels of complexity and degrees of urbanization. Following up on my work with Hitchcock, my graduate thesis examined the impacts of nature-based and traditional playgrounds on 3-5 year-old children’s social and cognitive development and proposed tangible best prac ces for play environment design. Based on observations of play patterns in two traditional and two nature-based playgrounds using the University of Toronto “Play Observation Scale,” and on surveys completed by the same children’s teachers, the study provided evidence to support that nature-based play environments offer several important cognitive benefits over traditional playgrounds, which typically lack considerable vegeta on and open green space. This work lead to a second 2013 CELA presenta on entitled, “Child’s Play: An Analysis of the Impacts of Nature-Based Play Environments and Traditional Playgrounds on Children’s Social and Cognitive Development.” Finally, as a student at the University of Illinois, I worked closely with Professor William Sullivan, a well-respected researcher on impacts of the built environment on human health and wellbeing. I took the lead on developing a seminal experimental study addressing the impacts of vegetative views from high school common spaces on students’ academic performance and behavior. This led to my first CELA presentation in 2012 entitled, “High School Campus Landscapes and Student Performance, an Experiment.” Today, I work in a multi-disciplinary architecture firm and strive to provide real-life examples in my teaching of building codes and digital drawing.

Education

  • MLA, University of Illinois at Urbana / Champaign (2013)
  • BLA, University of Illinois at Urbana / Champaign (2009)

Publications

  • Zimbovsky, S. (2013). Child’s Play: Playgrounds and Child Development (Master’s Thesis). Retrieved from h ps://www.ideals.illinois.edu/ handle/2142/44231.

Presentations

  • CELA 2013: "Challenges and Lessons Learned From Developing A Critical Research Practice in an Established Landscape Architecture Firm."
  • CELA 2013: “Child’s Play: An Analysis of the Impacts of Nature-Based Play Environments and Traditional Playgrounds on Children’s Social and Cognitive Development.”
  • CELA 2012: “High School Campus Landscapes and Student Performance, an Experiment.”