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Title: The contribution of design in sustaining social activities in central urban squares within large cities : the case of Belo Horizonte
Author: Barros, Paula
ISNI:       0000 0004 2747 074X
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2011
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Design plays an important role in facilitating (or inhibiting) the performance of social activities in urban open spaces. Although recent literature has acknowledged that visual and non-visual sensory aspects should be taken into account in the design of environments, most theory, practice and teaching of urban design have focused on the visual qualities of spaces. Furthermore, design processes have often been based on the practitioners own intuitions and preferences instead of knowledge of how people interact with urban open spaces. The present research demonstrates that an approach to the multisensory design of urban open spaces responsive to user needs and preferences is feasible and holds the promise of guiding best practice in the creation of high-quality gathering urban open spaces. Using structured interviews, unstructured observation, behavioural mapping techniques, sketch maps and an innovative sensory-behavioural mapping technique, this research identifies fundamental urban design elements and qualities to inform a responsive multisensory approach to design. The methodology proposed is hoped to motivate practitioners to apply environment behaviour knowledge throughout the process of multisensory urban design in different cultural contexts. Further, the urban design elements (props, boundaries, landmarks, spaces, atmospheres, views, anchors and repellents) that emerged from the present study as supportive of social activities in urban open spaces are applicable to the design of most gathering urban open spaces while robustness, richness and legibility are identified as key urban design qualities in attracting and retaining people in these spaces due to their responsiveness to various user needs and preferences.
Supervisor: Goodey, Brian ; Butina Watson, Georgia Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral