Why Evidence-Based Methods Are Useful for Architectural and Urban Design

in Research Culture in Architecture


- Several methods exist for analyzing how people experience and behave in the built environment. Many of such methods can also be used to predict how people might behave in an as-yet-unbuilt space, thus providing the opportunity to inform design decisions. One term that has been used to describe such methods is evidence-based design. The aim of this paper is to elucidate the term itself and to discuss whether such methods are useful for architectural design. The paper gives an overview of the current state of this toolkit and describes several of the methods currently being adopted, including space syntax, spatial cognition, behavioral observation, and virtual and mixed reality. Interdisciplinary research between architects and psychologists have brought useful advances in developing such methods; examples are given from such work at the crossroads of architectural design and applied spatial cognition. The paper argues that such methods are useful for architectural design.

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