How Urban Design Influences Behavior

"There has been a long-standing thread of recognition that the way people live their lives is directly linked to the designed environments in which they live," writes Dan Lockton, reflecting back on his research.

Lockton gives a detailed overview of research on how the design of a built environment effects, or even controls, the behavior of those who participate in it. Being summarized from his PhD thesis, it inevitably is rich with citations as well as ideas:

"The physical arrangement of elements can be broken down into different aspects of positioning and layout-putting elements in particular places to encourage or discourage people's interaction with them, putting them in people's way to prevent access to somewhere, putting them either side of people to channel or direct them in a particular way (e.g. staggered pedestrian crossings which aim to direct pedestrians to face oncoming traffic; Department for Transport, 1995), hiding them to remove the perception that they are there, splitting elements up or combining them so that they can be used by different numbers of people at once, or angling them so that some actions are easier than others (termed slanty design by Beale (2007), both physically and in metaphorical application in interfaces). Urbanists such as Whyte (1980) have catalogued, in colourful, intricate detail the effects that the layouts and features of built environments have on people's behaviour-why some areas become popular, others not so, with whom, and why, with recommendations for how to improve things, in contrast to work such as Goffman (1963) which focuses on the social contexts of public behaviour in urban environments. "

Full Story: Architecture, urbanism, design and behaviour

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