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Title: The semantics of psychospace
Author: Hope, James
Awarding Body: Heriot-Watt University
Current Institution: Heriot-Watt University
Date of Award: 2003
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Abstract:
Traditionally, in the landscape profession, landscape analysis has been concerned with the physical aspects of place. Properties like shape, amount, use, colour and content have been surveyed, identified and classed in their various combinations to describe ' place character '. With few exceptions, (Appleton 1998), the psychological aspects of place as criteria for classification have been largely ignored. One of the reasons for this, has been the argument that such data are' subjective' and personal, when what is required is,' objective', verifiable and subject to 'constancy'. Another equally valid objection has been the difficulty in defining and identifying the psychological properties of place. The proposed method of analysing places by their psychological properties depends on people being able to verbally describe their feelings and states of mind. To define the survey parameters, these personal, emotional and mental properties have been identified and arranged in spectrums. By selecting the appropriate terms to describe their feelings in place, psychological profiles can be prepared, describing person-place relationships. With many such profiles, linked to personal details, like age, activity, sex and culture, factor analysis allows statistical examinations to be made of these person-place relationships. These reveal consistent patterns, relating particular combinations of feelings to particular combinations of perceivable place properties. Language is the medium of analysis and a linguistic examination of the data allows its classification into different types of place property. Those which are tangible, nominals and nouns, like apples, beds and chairs, and those which are intangible and descriptors, like abnormality, banality and chaos. Linguistics also offers, through concepts like antonymy, the ability to express opposites or contrasts in design terms, like, alien-friendly, bold-weak, chaotic-ordered. Certain combinations of emotions and perceivable, intangible place properties indicate places of particular significance. These are defined as archetypes. Thus, Arcadia is emotionally peaceful, restful and tranquil, and perceivably fertile, productive and beautiful. Battlefield is tense, shocking, stressful and perceivably brutal, chaotic and dramatic. CG Jung, (1968) asserted that anthropomorphic archetypes exist in the 'collective unconscious' of society and that this innate knowledge prepares the mind for future encounters. His archetypes included concepts like Mother and Father, Superman and Hero. By extension, it is postulated that places are also archetypal. To relate people to places objectively, the concept of 'objective relativity' is evoked ( G H Mead. 1932), allowing personal properties like awe, beauty and calmness to be logically attributed to place, relative to particular people. The main concept on which the thesis is based, is 'Psychospace', a linguistic model of the total psychological experience of place. New concepts are created to describe further people-place relationships. Prattles are property feelings of people attributed to place and Percies are properties of place perceived by some people and not others, and therefore 'subjective', like order, chaos and formality. Also included in 'subjective' judgements are those of assessment. Procons are personal properties, like quality and value, good, bad and satisfactory, but also objectively relative. Methods are proposed for the analysis of places and people and the identification of concepts which are employed in the processes of design. Examples are shown and discussed of how the formulated principles work in practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.699864  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Spatial behavior ; Space and time in language ; Personal space ; Landscape architecture
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