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The Quality of Public Space—Analysis and Prediction of Individuals’ Perception and Wellbeing

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Psychology of Sustainability and Sustainable Development".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2022) | Viewed by 15641

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of the Built Environment, Eindhoven University of Technology, 5612 AZ Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Interests: human interaction built environment; discrete choice modeling and experimental approaches with applications to urban planning and real estate

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Urbanization puts pressure on public spaces and poses challenges for health and livability, as urban areas are often characterized by heavy traffic, pollution, heat, noise, violence, and social isolation and exclusion. Design features of the built environment, such as the presence of green, walkability, and presence of meeting places, have significant impacts on how people experience public space (stress, safety, pleasantness, comfort, restoration, joy, etc.). In turn, the way people experience public space affects their use of public space as well as their health and wellbeing. Prediction of how people emotionally experience environments is a blind spot in current research. Additionally, urban planners and designers could benefit from insights in the relationships between public space design and citizens’ experiences. Therefore, we invite contributions of research into analysis and prediction of individuals' perception of the quality of public space. We invite both research using qualitative methods (e.g., walk-along interviews or photo voice), as well as research using quantitative research methods (e.g., geotagging and experience sampling). We welcome articles presenting new empirical findings, novel methods (e.g., virtual reality (VR) experiments) or systemic reviews.

Prof. Dr. Theo Arentze
Dr. Pauline Van den Berg
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • public space
  • wellbeing
  • experiences
  • perceptions
  • urban design

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

22 pages, 3115 KiB  
Article
Individual Momentary Experiences of Neighborhood Public Spaces: Results of a Virtual Environment Based Stated Preference Experiment
by Yuwen Zhao, Pauline E. W. van den Berg, Ioulia V. Ossokina and Theo A. Arentze
Sustainability 2022, 14(9), 4938; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14094938 - 20 Apr 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2247
Abstract
Although it has become increasingly recognized that the spatial design of public space plays an important role in the perceived quality of the built environment by users, there is still little known about the influences of specific attributes on individuals’ experiences. Therefore, this [...] Read more.
Although it has become increasingly recognized that the spatial design of public space plays an important role in the perceived quality of the built environment by users, there is still little known about the influences of specific attributes on individuals’ experiences. Therefore, this study aims at (1) identifying the factors underlying momentary experiences in public space given both cognitive (satisfaction) and affective (emotion) responses and (2) understanding the experiences as a function of green and design attributes and analyzing the heterogeneity in preferences. To achieve the research goals, this study innovatively introduced an online video-based stated preference experiment. A national sample of 316 individuals from the Netherlands were invited to complete the experiment. The results of a factor analysis indicate that the momentary experiences of the environments presented can be reduced to a single preference dimension capturing the cognitive as well as affective elements of experiences. The results of a latent class regression analysis furthermore show that there is substantial heterogeneity on how attributes are experienced. Three classes emerge which differ in terms of satisfaction with life and satisfaction with availability of green in the current living environment on dwelling, neighborhood, and city level. Presence of trees, vertical green on façades, and grass surfaces were found to be most important for individuals’ experiences generally. The paper provides a new understanding of how spatial attributes in neighborhood public spaces can influence individuals’ momentary experiences. For cities pursuing both greenification and densification, this study offers quantitative evidence to support the selection of design attributes of neighborhood public spaces which can evoke positive experiences. Full article
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19 pages, 1603 KiB  
Article
Urban Green Parks for Long-Term Subjective Well-Being: Empirical Relationships between Personal Characteristics, Park Characteristics, Park Use, Sense of Place, and Satisfaction with Life in The Netherlands
by Mayke van Dinter, Mieke Kools, Gamze Dane, Minou Weijs-Perrée, Kynthia Chamilothori, Eveline van Leeuwen, Aloys Borgers and Pauline van den Berg
Sustainability 2022, 14(9), 4911; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14094911 - 19 Apr 2022
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 4023
Abstract
As our living environment is becoming increasingly urbanized, this puts the livability, health, and quality of life in cities under pressure. Due to the urbanization process, urban green spaces are under threat of becoming scarce, while it is recognized that these green spaces [...] Read more.
As our living environment is becoming increasingly urbanized, this puts the livability, health, and quality of life in cities under pressure. Due to the urbanization process, urban green spaces are under threat of becoming scarce, while it is recognized that these green spaces can positively contribute to the subjective well-being of citizens. It is thus important to maximize the use and benefits derived from green spaces by designing them as positively experienced places. The aim of this research is to gain more empirical insights on the relationships between personal and park characteristics, park use behavior, sense of place, and park visitors’ long-term subjective well-being (i.e., life satisfaction). An online questionnaire was administered to participants in two medium-sized cities in The Netherlands, namely Eindhoven and ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Data were analyzed using a structural equation model. The results of this study show that the appreciation of facilities and the absence of disturbances positively influence the use and sense of place of a park. Furthermore, the findings show that sense of place has a positive influence on life satisfaction. The findings can be used by designers and policy-makers as guidelines to improve existing parks or to design new parks that support the subjective well-being of individuals in The Netherlands. Full article
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16 pages, 5714 KiB  
Article
A Participatory Assessment of Perceived Neighbourhood Walkability in a Small Urban Environment
by Ismaïl Saadi, Roger Aganze, Mehdi Moeinaddini, Zohreh Asadi-Shekari and Mario Cools
Sustainability 2022, 14(1), 206; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14010206 - 26 Dec 2021
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 3976
Abstract
Walkability has become a research topic of great concern for preserving public health, especially in the era of the COVID-19 outbreak. Today more than ever, urban and transport policies, constrained by social distancing measures and travel restrictions, must be conceptualized and implemented with [...] Read more.
Walkability has become a research topic of great concern for preserving public health, especially in the era of the COVID-19 outbreak. Today more than ever, urban and transport policies, constrained by social distancing measures and travel restrictions, must be conceptualized and implemented with a particular emphasis on sustainable walkability. Most of the walkability models apply observation and subjective methods to measure walkability, whereas few studies address walkability based on sense perception. To fill this gap, we aim at investigating the perceived neighbourhood walkability (PNW) based on sense perception in a neighbourhood of Brussels. We designed a survey that integrates 22 items grouped into 5 dimensions (cleanness, visual aesthetics, landscape and nature, feeling of pressure, feeling of safety), as well as the socio-demographic attributes of the participants. Using various statistical methods, we show that socio-demographics have almost no effects on perceived neighbourhood walkability. Nonetheless, we found significant differences between groups of different educational backgrounds. Furthermore, using a binomial regression model, we found strong associations between PNW and at least one item from each grouping dimension. Finally, we show that based on a deep neural network for classification, the items have good predictive capabilities (78% of classification accuracy). These findings can help integrate sense perception into objective measurement methods of walkable environments. Additionally, policy recommendations should be targeted based on differences of perception across socio-demographic groups. Full article
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21 pages, 4405 KiB  
Article
New Lens to Reveal the Street Interface. A Morphological-Visual Perception Methodological Contribution for Decoding the Public/Private Edge of Arterial Streets
by Nawaf Saeed Al Mushayt, Francesca Dal Cin and Sérgio Barreiros Proença
Sustainability 2021, 13(20), 11442; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132011442 - 16 Oct 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3874
Abstract
Streets have different forms that are not defined only by their partitions, furniture, and width, but also by their edges as vital features of their spatiality. The relationship between a street and a building impacts the street interface configurations, resulting in various topological [...] Read more.
Streets have different forms that are not defined only by their partitions, furniture, and width, but also by their edges as vital features of their spatiality. The relationship between a street and a building impacts the street interface configurations, resulting in various topological characteristics. Thus, the street interface is a physical entity that is produced by the interrelationship between urban morphological elements (street and building), and the way it is formed and used affects the livability of the street. The methods used in the current study contribute to an empirical urban morphological–visual cognitive investigation of arterial street interface configurations, particularly on the ground floor level, to assess potential relations between variations in the physical configurations that influence pedestrian visual perception using mobile eye-tracking glasses. In conclusion, this study contributes to research into developing a spatial framework for arterial street liveability, addressing the pilot case study of Avenida da República in Lisbon. Full article
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