Kenniscentrum Maatschappij en Recht

Using neuro-architecture to reinforce participatory planning and design


Urban renewal and urban area development projects are by nature highly complex processes involving a multiplicity of professionals, stakeholders, and conflicting interests. Adding to this complexity are the formulated ambitions and societal challenges projects have to answer to. One of these ambitions emphasizes a more inclusive planning process, involving the inhabitants in all stages of the planning process. In terms of design, another challenge is to create environments on a human scale while building in high density such as with tall residential buildings. <br/><br/>The metropolitan area of Amsterdam intends to have 100,000 new dwellings by 2025. Most of these dwellings have to be added within the existing urban fabric, planned on obsolete inner-city brownfield locations, at the waterfront, nearby highways whereas others are going to be built in deprived neighborhoods. The deprived neighborhoods are mainly located in the postwar areas of Amsterdam, on its northern, western, and south-eastern sides. The deprived neighborhood called the Bijlmermeer located on the south-eastern side of the city, for instance was the first high-rise development project in the Netherlands. It was designed as a single project with identical high-rise buildings in a hexagonal grid surrounded with large green spaces.<br/><br/>These deprived, modernistic neighborhoods lack the classic housing block structures with a clear articulation of buildings and street spaces. They appear to be responsible for an ‘inhuman’ scale and demonstrate the lasting impact critical design flaws can have on the daily lives of inhabitants. Hence, the question is how to develop liveable environments where people feel fully supported by building architecture and streetscape configuration. <br/><br/>To prevent new urban area developments that will again fail to incorporate human scale, scientific methods and user input are needed to inform the practice of planning and design, and their applied design solutions. Building on two research projects (one on participatory planning and the other on neuroarchitecture research), we explore how the newly emerging field of neuroarchitecture - and the eye-tracker in particular, might enhance urban area developments on a human scale.

Reference Spanjar, G., & Suurenbroek, F. (2020). Using neuro-architecture to reinforce participatory planning and design. In I. Palti, & E. Kostina (Eds.), Conscious cities anthology 2020: to shape and be shaped The Centre for Conscious Design.
Published by  Kenniscentrum Techniek 7 October 2020

Publication date

Oct 2020


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