Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 2

way-finding Related Abstracts

2 The Functions of Spatial Structure in Supporting Socialization in Urban Parks

Authors: Navid Nasrolah Mazandarani, Faezeh Mohammadi Tahrodi, Jr., Norshida Ujang, Richard Jan Pech

Abstract:

Human evolution has designed us to be dependent on social and natural settings, but designed of our modern cities often ignore this fact. It is evident that high-rise buildings dominate most metropolitan city centers. As a result urban parks are very limited and in many cases are not socially responsive to our social needs in these urban ‘jungles’. This paper emphasizes the functions of urban morphology in supporting socialization in Lake Garden, one of the main urban parks in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It discusses two relevant theories; first the concept of users’ experience coined by Kevin Lynch (1960) which states that way-finding is related to the process of forming mental maps of environmental surroundings. Second, the concept of social activity coined by Jan Gehl (1987) which holds that urban public spaces can be more attractive when they provide welcoming places in which people can walk around and spend time. Until recently, research on socio-spatial behavior mainly focused on social ties, place attachment and human well-being; with less focus on the spatial dimension of social behavior. This paper examines the socio-spatial behavior within the spatial structure of the urban park by exploring the relationship between way-finding and social activity. The urban structures defined by the paths and nodes were analyzed as the fundamental topological structure of space to understand their effects on the social engagement pattern. The study uses a photo questionnaire survey to inspect the spatial dimension in relation to the social activities within paths and nodes. To understand the legibility of the park, spatial cognition was evaluated using sketch maps produced by 30 participants who visited the park. The results of the sketch mapping indicated that a spatial image has a strong interrelation with socio-spatial behavior. Moreover, an integrated spatial structure of the park generated integrated use and social activity. It was found that people recognized and remembered the spaces where they engaged in social activities. They could experience the park more thoroughly, when they found their way continuously through an integrated park structure. Therefore, the benefits of both perceptual and social dimensions of planning and design happened simultaneously. The findings can assist urban planners and designers to redevelop urban parks by considering the social quality design that contributes to clear mental images of these places.

Keywords: Spatial Structure, social activities, sketch map, urban park, way-finding

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1 Ensuring Safety in Fire Evacuation by Facilitating Way-Finding in Complex Buildings

Authors: Atefeh Omidkhah, Mohammadreza Bemanian

Abstract:

The issue of way-finding earmarks a wide range of literature in architecture and despite the 50 year background of way-finding studies, it still lacks a comprehensive theory for indoor settings. Way-finding has a notable role in emergency evacuation as well. People in the panic situation of a fire emergency need to find the safe egress route correctly and in as minimum time as possible. In this regard the parameters of an appropriate way-finding are mentioned in the evacuation related researches albeit scattered. This study reviews the fire safety related literature to extract a way-finding related framework for architectural purposes of the design of a safe evacuation route. In this regard a research trend review in addition with applied methodological approaches review is conducted. Then by analyzing eight original researches related to way-finding parameters in fire evacuation, main parameters that affect way-finding in emergency situation of a fire incident are extracted and a framework was developed based on them. Results show that the issues related to exit route and emergency evacuation can be chased in task oriented studies of way-finding. This research trend aims to access a high-level framework and in the best condition a theory that has an explanatory capability to define differences in way-finding in indoor/outdoor settings, complex/simple buildings and different building types or transitional spaces. The methodological advances demonstrate the evacuation way-finding researches in line with three approaches that the latter one is the most up-to-date and precise method to research this subject: real actors and hypothetical stimuli as in evacuation experiments, hypothetical actors and stimuli as in agent-based simulations and real actors and semi-real stimuli as in virtual reality environment by adding multi-sensory simulation. Findings on data-mining of 8 sample of original researches in way-finding in evacuation indicate that emergency way-finding design of a building should consider two level of space cognition problems in the time of emergency and performance consequences of them in the built environment. So four major classes of problems in way-finding which are visual information deficiency, confusing layout configuration, improper navigating signage and demographic issues had been defined and discussed as the main parameters that should be provided with solutions in design and interior of a building. In the design phase of complex buildings, which face more reported problem in way-finding, it is important to consider the interior components regarding to the building type of occupancy and behavior of its occupants and determine components that tend to become landmarks and set the architectural features of egress route in line with the directions that they navigate people. Research on topological cognition of environmental and its effect on way-finding task in emergency evacuation is proposed for future.

Keywords: Architectural Design, Fire Safety, Evacuation, way-finding, egress route

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