The marvelous post at Light and Air on the recent history of ceiling height is mostly about architecture, but it resonated for me as a transit planner.*
Over the past century, U.S. citizens grew taller while ceiling heights shrank. Simultaneously, the U.S. lost world leadership in average height to the Netherlands and eight other countries, whose people grew taller faster. It is difficult to find people who prefer low ceilings. In wealthy western societies there seems to be no other time when ceilings and heads were so uncomfortably proximate. What does ceiling height tell us about our society …?
There is a reason that dark, low-ceilinged rooms are still commonly used in literature to describe spaces that symbolize poverty, danger and unhealthy conditions.
Ceiling height is interesting because it’s one of those things that strikes most of us subliminally. We aren’t always aware of why a high-ceilinged space feels better, but it does.