Virtually everyone knows that the way a large grocery store is laid out is a careful exercise in design. All the fresh veggies as you come in the entrance and all those free sample carts at the end of the aisle are designed to get you to buy more -- and more expensive -- items.
Using design principles to manipulate people in predictable ways is not particularly new but I happened to run across a trio of very interesting posts on this idea that seemed worth sharing.
The first is from the American Association of Wine Economists (where do I sign up?) titled, They Always Buy The Ten Cent Wine (via Marginal Revolution). Apparently the way wines are organized on a shelf is designed to make sure you see the expensive, special occasion wines.
The second is not so much a post but a blog called Architectures Of Control. Besides having a very cool blog name (is it a blog or a thrash metal band?), the author, Dan Lockton, is a PHD researcher in Industrial Design at Brunel University (which also has one of the few intel studies programs in Europe) in the UK. The evolution in Dan's thinking about how to use architecture to control people, for good and bad purposes, is fascinating to watch. He is a keen observer of this niche and is always worth reading.
Finally (and I read this on AOC), there is actually a conference on using design to improve security: New Science s Of Protection--Designing Safe Living in Lancaster, UK from 10-12 July, 2008.
The Serious Play Series