Complex Made Simple

Majid Al Futtaim: Neuroscience can empower mixed-use development agenda

First of its kind neuroscience study in the Middle East reveals why we are emotionally drawn to certain environments and landscapes.

Majid Al Futtaim, a leading shopping mall, communities, retail and leisure pioneer unveiled the results of a first of its kind neuroscience study in the region, designed to identify the most powerful drivers behind emotional attachment to urban developments and communities.

Conducted by Neurons Inc and commissioned by Majid Al Futtaim; the UAE-based study used Electroencephalography (EEG) and Eye Tracking technology to measure how participants subconsciously as well as consciously responded to nearly 100 images of urban developments and landscapes from around the world.

Over 1 million data points were then analysed to determine the findings.

What neuroscience found

Neuroscientists found the elements of everyday human activity (a visual focus in 80% of the 10 best performing images), greenery (70%), artistic features (50%) and bright colours (50%) were the most powerful drivers of emotional engagement with destinations and environments.

An emphasis was put on greenery, which was naturally landscaped and positioned in a way that provided a sense of human scale and privacy.

The strongest negative responses were recorded in images that displayed a visible lack of human interaction and natural landscapes.

Dirt and damage were also shown to have an immediate negative and lasting impact on participants.

Economic diversity push

The announcement comes as the governments across the region; continue to place significant emphasis on transformative policies and practices for the real estate sector in a bid to drive economic diversity.

Hawazen Esber, Chief Executive Officer of Majid Al Futtaim – Communities, said: “our unique neuroscience research study enables a deeper understanding of what subconsciously drives emotional value and a sense of belonging for our customers and the wider community.”

“The study helps us identify crucial elements that make for happy, heathy communities and become the foundation for how we bring our integrated retail, leisure and entertainment offering to design mixed-use destinations,” he continued.