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Title: Human perception of urban density
Author: Cheng, B. K.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2010
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Is it possible to increase physical density whilst limiting the perception of density? This thesis outlines the main determinants of perceived urban density, exploring alternative parameters to those commonly used to define density. The study uses Hong Kong as an urban case study. Findings suggest high perceived density is seen as a negative aspect of urban life in Hong Kong. To create a satisfactory urban environment, means of reducing the perception of density are welcome. A number of candidate urban parameters were investigated and their effects on the perception of density are discussed. Plot ratio has a significant but weak correlation with perceived density. This suggests actual physical density has minor influences on the perception of urban density. However, urban developments with similar plot ratios can exhibit very different urban forms and are thus likely to be perceived differently. This thesis demonstrates spatial openness is a key factor in the perception of density. This study used the sky view factor as a measure of spatial openness. According to findings, the perception of density decreases with increasing sky view. This thesis illustrates the application of the findings through the development of a speculative urban plan for an old district of Hong Kong. The use of the sky view factor coupled with other modelling techniques such as passive zone analysis provides a good indication of spatial openness and urban daylight availability. These output parameters can be used as a basis for performance comparison. The sky view factor provides an indicator for assessing the performances of urban design both in terms of human perception and urban micro-climate, and so this work can shed light on the formulation of new urban planning policy.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available