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Human Social Behavior in Public Urban Spaces: Towards Higher Quality Cities.


Cities are like books; they can be read, and we have to understand their language. The street, the footpath, the square, and the parks are the grammar of the city; they provide the structure that enables cities to come to life, and to encourage and accommodate diverse activities. A humane city creates pleasure for visitors and passers-by, as well as for those who live, work, and play there every day. Everyone should have the right to easily access public open spaces; everyone should be able to see a tree from their window, or to sit on a bench close to their home with a play space for children, or to walk to a park within ten minutes. Well-designed cities inspire the people who live in them, whilst poorly designed ones brutalize their citizens. A city must increase the quantity and quality of well-planned beautiful public spaces that are human in scale, sustainable, healthy, safe, and lively. In this approach, this research studies the relation between the human social behavior as a valuable concept and the urban design theories that will help improve the lack of understanding of what people need for space and how urban designers can stimulate a better urban public place. It then goes on to emphasize the importance of urban qualities of these spaces for conveying human behavioral social activities in public spaces. Critically, this social function often conflicts with understandings of public spaces, which emphasize their place in promoting a city's image, consumer activity, and economic renewal. The research will be conducted over three parts: the human social behavior approach as a new dimension from definitions, models and personalization; public urban space design throughout time, place, and space configuration; and the linkage between the theory and practice of people in the conclusion of the research.

Source: Spaces & Flows: An International Journal of Urban & Extra Urban Studies . 2013, Vol. 3 Issue 2, p23-35. 13p.

Author(s): Hanafi, Israa; El Araby, Moustafa; Al-Hagla, Khalid S.; El Sayary, Samer

Sensing the City: Mapping of Beirut Central District through Physiological Emotions


Human response to architecture is usually based on subjective emotions. : “I like that building, I hate this space; this room is so open, this office is oppressive”. But something more nuanced is happening to elicit these responses. (Outcome of the 2014 conference of the Academy of Neuroscience for ArchitectureANFA by Berg N.) Neuroscientists have found that distinctive processes occur in our brains— consciously and subconsciously, cognitively and physiologically—from the moment we step into a space. These processes affect our emotions, our .health, and even the development of memory. They argue that buildings can shape our brains. This paper raises the problematic of sensory depreciation in spaces creating an environment for the future user that seems to be turning increasingly into a non-existent area, without a clear meaning, and affecting negatively the user’s emotions and behaviors, taking the Beirut Central District - BCD, Lebanon as an urban area to study. This research will focus on overlying people’s senses and emotions in a geographical map of a selected zone of the BCD to evaluate the urban environment and its influence on the human experience, identifying these areas through a new type of map by our physiological emotions. In order to reach the paper objectives, a wide analysis will be realized on the actual area, in the BCD, by using user’s evaluation and perception about the stimulated senses and emotions, examined by a questionnaire designed by the researcher while visiting the area, completed by a group 30 persons, equipped with GPS recordings and photographs. The enhancement of “sensing the city” or the stimulation of human senses in their urban surroundings shows a positive feedback and influence to support better human experience and attachment to the environment.

Source:International Conference ‘Between Data and Senses; Architecture, Neuroscience and the Digital Worlds’. 23-24 March 2017, London. Organised by UEL, supported by RIBA, ARUP and the Museum of Architecture

Author(s): Ghosh, Roua.; El Sayary, Samer

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