DISCONNECT to RECONNECT : architectural interruption for individuals addicted to digital activity as opposed to living in the physical world, the here and now

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Kim, Tae Hyeong (Nick)
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Architecture (Professional)
Unitec Institute of Technology
O'Connell, Ainsley
Murphy, Chris
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
New Zealand
Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD)
digital addiction
multi-sensory environments
architecture for engagement
ANZSRC Field of Research Code (2020)
Kim, T. H. (Nick). (2020). DISCONNECT to RECONNECT : architectural interruption for individuals addicted to digital activity as opposed to living in the physical world, the here and now. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture (Professional)). Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10652/4952
RESEARCH QUESTION: How can architecture facilitate opportunities for rehabilitation of young individuals in New Zealand addicted to digital activity to the extent that it precludes them from living in the physical world, the here and now? The world has come to the point of time where individuals are so dependent on technology that there now exists a term called Nomophobia (No Mobile Phone Phobia). This clinical term defines people with smartphone addictions. Extreme symptoms include “feelings of panic or desperation when separated from your smartphone, not being able to focus on conversations or work, and constantly checking phones for notifications.”[1] Human advancement of technology has rapidly developed within the years and has deeply amalgamated as a crucial aspect of everyday life. However, the question lies on whether this has led to humanity becoming trapped in the usage of their personal devices, ultimately leading to the loss of interaction with the surroundings and people. Internet and mobile devices are complementary goods; hence the increased use of mobile devices results in the increased use of the internet. Therefore this proposal will deal with the two issues hand in hand by addressing internet addiction through mobile devices amongst New Zealand teenagers. According to the latest report[2] conducted by Research New Zealand, a large number of New Zealanders were exposed to portable devices and are at risk of Internet Addiction Disorder (‘IAD’). The report ‘Use of Smartphones and Other Mobile Communication Devices 2015’ presents that “Almost threequarters (72 percent) of all adult New Zealanders now own or have access to a laptop or notebook for their private use (up from 66 percent in 2013)”.[2] This breakthrough in technology has enriched the quality of convenience by being more accessible in everyday lifestyles. Parallel to this achievement, there havealso been many downsides such as one’s ability to be able to form genuinesocial relationships which encompass impassive feelings and raise awarenessof their surroundings. It was found that significant health implications are found in teenagers with IAD and NZ is following the footpaths of other leading countries within the study, to get IAD recognised legally as a mental health condition. This is important to address in our millennial as there is no debate to how dependant our whole generation has become on internet and mobile devices. Yet the side effects of this dependency are instead ignored and when unsupervised, potentially becomes an addiction for young children. This project will question whether the phenomenological approach in Architecture can provide a remedy to the underlying issues of IAD and provide research into how architecture can facilitate opportunities for young individuals in New Zealand with internet addiction through their electronic devices. Can an impactful embodied experience, established by designed architecture, intervene and aid people to be more empathetic towards social interaction? A solution proposed is that by detaching from their electronic devices, each person is now able to fully appreciate and experience their real and invaluable surroundings. Architects working within this field have showcased significant examples in which dwellers were able to encounter multi-sensory experiences that invoked their emotions as a result of experiencing specifically designed architecture.
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