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Feelings maps survey and map people’s emotional response to their environment as they walk through the streets of a particular urban area. This study describes the first application of feelings maps in a long-term, ethnographic field research, conducted in Mitzpe Ramon, a small town in Israel's Negev Desert. Over the course of one year, an ethnographer individually accompanied a total of 50 informants with diverse social characteristics on a set of seven walking routes. These routes included neighborhood spaces, open public spaces, and at least one view of the surrounding natural desert landscape. Those locations where between two and seven informants spontaneously reported experiencing strong feelings (both positive, negative and mixed) based on a numeric rating scale and open-ended narration, were identified as “affective clusters.” Results suggest that peoples’ shared feelings about specific places are influenced by particular physical properties or characteristics of a given place. Making a contribution to cognitive mapping and environmental preference techniques, feeling maps enable the researcher to share the informant’s position and views of the landscape as he or she articulates emotions and memory related those views. Replicable in any setting, this technique could be applied with an aim to create and maintain spaces that are attractive, inviting and emotionally pleasing to a variety of users.
Copyright © 201x, Locke Science Publishing Company, Inc.
Chicago, IL, USA All Rights Reserved
Journal of Architectural and Planning Research
2x:x (Winter, 201x) 1
Amelia Rosenberg Weinreb
Yodan Rofè
Feeling maps survey and map people’s emotional responses to their environment as they walk
through the streets of a particular urban area. This study describes the first application of feeling
maps in a long-term, ethnographic field research, which was conducted in Mitzpe Ramon, a
small town in Israel’s Negev Desert Highlands. Over the course of one year, an ethnographer
individually accompanied 50 participants with diverse social characteristics on a set of seven
walking routes. These routes included neighborhood spaces, open public spaces, and at least
one view of the surrounding natural desert landscape. The locations where between two and
seven participants spontaneously reported experiencing strong feelings (positive, negative, or
mixed) based on a numerical rating scale and open-ended narration were identified as
“affective clusters.” Results suggest that people’s shared feelings about specific places are
influenced by the particular physical properties and characteristics of a given place. Making a
contribution to cognitive mapping and environmental preference techniques, feeling maps
enable researchers to share a participant’s position and views of the landscape as he or she
articulates emotions and memories related to those views. Replicable in any setting, this
technique could be used to create and maintain spaces that are attractive, inviting, and
emotionally pleasing to a variety of users.
Journal of Architectural and Planning Research
2x:x (Winter, 201x) 2
Feeling maps, a technique for urban research developed by Yodan Rofè (2004) for use in neighbor-
hood planning and urban design, seek to survey and map people’s emotional responses to their
environment as they walk through the streets of a particular urban area. This study describes the
first application of feeling maps in a long-term, ethnographic field research, which was conducted
in Mitzpe Ramon, a small town (population 4,700) in Israel’s Negev Desert Highlands.
The Negev Desert Highlands are comprised of a series of small settlements in Israel’s hot-arid
southern district. The southernmost, smallest, and most isolated of these urban settlements is
Mitzpe Ramon, situated near the northern rim of an erosion crater. In 1956, Mitzpe Ramon was
established as one of 28 “development towns” (ayerot pituach, also referred to as “new towns”),
geographically peripheral urban settlements designed by planners working for the young state of
Israel to absorb swelling immigrant populations, ease development pressures on the country’s
crowded center, create strategic outposts to secure landholdings, and actively populate the out-
posts with Jewish inhabitants.
Information made available by participants in the Local Town Council (2009) provides rough
estimates of the relative size of identifiable subgroups in contemporary Mitzpe Ramon: roughly
30% of households are associated with the armed forces (a large officer training base is close to
town, and other bases are in the area); 20-30% of households are constituted by immigrants from
the former Soviet Union; 13% are religious families; 7% are “newcomers” who arrived in the 1990s
(e.g., tour operators, artists, alternative therapists); 3% (30 families) are “veterans” who came to
Mitzpe Ramon in the 1960s; and 2% (25 families) are members of the Black Hebrew community.1
Although most informal estimates project the majority of the population is Mizrahi,2 this is not an
ethnic category that the town council tracks in any formal way. The local population can be
characterized as culturally and socioeconomically diverse and presenting a broad range of needs
and interests.
Like many Israeli development towns, Mitzpe Ramon experiences problems caused by its isolation,
economic depression, low incomes, unemployment, and underemployment. As a geographically,
socially, and politically peripheral municipality that offers residents a limited number of formal
social and economic options, it has suffered from image problems and difficulties in retaining its
population. Furthermore, despite its unique geographic features and desert setting, it is notorious
for its unappealing architectural form. In particular, as in other Israeli development towns, there are
many prefabricated buildings constructed from monochrome concrete slabs and other inexpensive
materials, quickly erected en masse, and placed in spatial isolation. These tracts, reminiscent of
Soviet-style low-rise housing, are examples of spatial zones resulting from state planning, financ-
ing, and control, followed by state disinterest and municipal neglect and lack of funding. Thus,
even though the town evolved somewhat organically, it also did so illogically, at least according to
residents. For example, there is no clear single center of town, neighborhoods and services are not
concentrated, and if one does not own a car, walking becomes an important part of daily life.
The study to map feelings in Mitzpe Ramon was a component of a long-term ethnographic inquiry
into the role of space, place, and landscape in the daily life of residents in a peripheral desert town
(Weinreb, n.d.). The first author of this paper, Weinreb, an ethnographer, resided in Mitzpe Ramon
from 2007-2009; used the town’s medical and municipal services; sent her children to local schools
and child care; participated in town events, celebrations, and meetings; and maintained a written
and photographic record of everyday life. Through unstructured and semi-structured interviews,
observations in public space, and moving about exclusively as a pedestrian during the period of
study, she closely familiarized herself with fellow residents’ actual use of space as well as their
expressed concerns, interests, and emotions as they related to the local environment. In addition to
Journal of Architectural and Planning Research
2x:x (Winter, 201x) 3
this qualitative work, which provided rich contextual data about the locale and the social life of its
residents, she chose to use feeling maps to more systematically elicit individuals’ feelings about
different types of places and understand where feelings about place were shared and why. This
paper serves as a case study but also provides a model for how feeling maps may be applied as a
technique in a variety of settings.
Feeling Maps, Environmental Perception, and Phenomenology
The feeling map technique builds on a tradition of studies in cognitive mapping, evaluative map-
ping, environmental preference (EP), and environmental affect, adding an approach in which peo-
ple experience, evaluate, and describe their environment in situ and reflect on their response
directly in narrative.
The tradition of cognitive mapping in urban planning and design dates back to Lynch (1960), who
introduced “image mapping” to capture and compare the environmental perceptions of residents
from various streets by allowing them to sketch on and annotate street maps (see also Appleyard,
et al., 1964; Milgram and Jodelet, 1976; Orleans, 1973). Researchers using cognitive mapping argue
that all cognition in the environment is also, at some level, evaluative (Carmona, et al., 2003;
Golledge, 1999; Nasar, 1992, 1998). This insight then tied cognitive mapping to EP studies, which
have a long tradition in environmental psychology, while also trying to isolate aesthetic preference
as a variable apart from other emotional and cognitive responses to environments, natural or urban
(Bechtel and Churchman, 2002; Carp and Carp, 1982; Seamon, 1987; Stokols and Altman, 1991).
Two key findings emerge from both the cognitive mapping work and the evaluative work: (1) there
is substantial inter-subjective agreement about individuals’ shared EPs3 and which features of an
environment individuals find salient and (2) “complex order”4 is important for cognition (Apple-
yard, et al., 1964; Lynch, 1960; Milgram and Jodelet, 1976; Orleans, 1973) and preference (Lewis,
2010; Nasar, 1984, 1994; Stamps, 1999; Yang, 1992).
Another stream of environmental psychology literature addresses environmental affect more spe-
cifically, highlighting the complexity of the affective response itself, particularly the difficulty in
separating the inter-subjective affective response to a physical place from its personal meaning
and social significance. Generally, however, there is a consensus that affect works on two dimen-
sions: arousal (a response to sensory stimulation, both positive and negative) and well-being (a
feeling of contentment and satisfaction). There is also substantial evidence for the positive effect
of nature and plants on a person’s sense of well-being (see Wilson, 1975, 1978, generally; for
landscape aesthetics and habitat theory, see Appleton, 1975; Humphrey, 1972, 1980; Johnson-
Laird, 1998; Kaplan, 1987; and Kellert and Wilson, 1995), as well as on high stress levels in urban
environments (Cohen, et al., 1986; Glass and Singer, 1972; Ulrich, et al., 1991).
Arrayed against this body of work on EP is scholarship in phenomenology, framed in terms of both
substance and methods. The goal of phenomenological geographical research is “a rigorous
description of human life as it is lived and reflected upon in all of its first-person concreteness,
urgency, and ambiguity” (Pollio, et al., 1997:5). The central claim of phenomenologists is that EP
research does not represent the complexity of multi-sensorial and bodily aspects of being in place.
For example, in many EP studies, respondents evaluate still photographs or paintings of natural
landscapes (e.g., Balling and Falk, 1982; Calvin, et al., 1972; Shafer and Brush, 1977; Shuttleworth,
1980), video clips (Heft and Nasar, 2000), or simulated interior environments (Dazkir and Read,
2011). Furthermore, phenomenologists claim that breaking down the human experience of place
into its cognitive, evaluative, and affective aspects is futile since any experience of space includes
all three, and they are inextricably linked.
While using the techniques described above is common in EP research, the current study differs
from them in that it relies on direct experience of places in situ. Walking through space grounds the
Journal of Architectural and Planning Research
2x:x (Winter, 201x) 4
research in everyday encounters with a particular environment. The subject becomes more atten-
tive to processes and events that might normally go unnoticed and unquestioned. The experience
of place comes closer to the way people experience space on a day-to-day basis. In particular,
participants are active participants in the landscape, and their response to any given place is
shaped by their peripheral views (i.e., views outside the center of the gaze), their memory of
previous views, and intangibles like “meanings or atmosphere not visibly expressed on the land-
scape” (Zube, et al., 1982:19) but nonetheless sensed. In contrast to EP research, feeling maps also
require participants to report on their sense of well-being as a complex phenomenological response
instead of asking them to define it or separate its various aspects. Finally, ethnographic context
bolsters phenomenological research through the ethnographer’s immersion in a mutually shared
environment and familiarity with participants’ lives and personal histories.
In addition to extending EP and phenomenological geography with an ethnographic approach, this
article’s positions on intersubjectivity, affect, and well-being are influenced by Alexander’s (2005)
theory of wholeness. The structures he describes have complex order. Alexander builds his theory
through the analysis of similarity in the physical structure — not the social meaning — of artifacts
and physical spaces, using examples from many non-industrialized and non-Western world cul-
tures, as well as modern Western life and art. The feeling map technique was developed, in part, as
an empirical tool to explore, though not formally test, the validity of Alexander’s claims.
Study Setting
Within the context of the long-term ethnographic study of Mitzpe Ramon, and building on Rofè’s
(2004) work,5 feeling maps were used in this study to more systematically elicit individuals’ feelings
about different types of places. The town provided a somewhat unusual, but in many ways ideal,
setting for the study because its small population and relatively empty streets and public spaces
enabled participants to more easily focus on their immediate physical surroundings.
In consultation with local residents, Weinreb designed seven approximately 20- to 30-minute6
walking routes throughout town that reflected both reported and observed pedestrian use and
common pathways. Each of the seven routes was also designed to weave through sections of at
least two neighborhoods and part of the town’s periphery. Together, the routes covered each area
of town and included segments from all neighborhoods, as defined by commonly held views of
neighborhood boundaries; public spaces (i.e., public parks, gardens, building complexes, and
open spaces); and at least one view of the surrounding natural desert landscape. Finally, all of the
routes were walked in at least two different seasons of the year and at different times during
daylight hours (morning, afternoon, and early evening) to control for the effects of seasonality and
variations in temperature and the quality and intensity of light. Each of these factors can affect
aesthetic perception and emotional experience in the physical environment.
Over the course of one year (May 2008-May 2009), Weinreb individually accompanied 50 partici-
pants with diverse social characteristics on the walks (seven discrete routes, each walked by
7-10 participants).7 While the sample of participants for any given route was not representative of
Mitzpe Ramon’s population in any formal, statistical way, the samples were designed to maximize
variability in participants’ characteristics across a number of dimensions.8 Thus, the group of
participants for each route included (1) men and women; (2) a diverse age range; (3) owners and
renters, including recipients of state-subsidized public housing; (4) old-timers, newcomers, and
usually one visitor/tourist from out of town; (5) religious and secular individuals; (6) college-
educated individuals and individuals who had not completed high school; (7) employed and
Journal of Architectural and Planning Research
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unemployed individuals; (8) residents both engaged in and disengaged from local political pro-
cesses; (9) people whose homes or places of business were located directly on the route and
people who did not reside or work near the route; (10) participants whom Weinreb, as an ethnogra-
pher, knew well and with whom she had routine social contact and those with whom she did not;
and (11) Ashkenazim, Mizrahim, Black Hebrews, and new immigrants from the former Soviet Union.
Procedure: Walking the Routes
Weinreb provided the following instructions to each participant before embarking on any given
walking route: to (1) remain aware of how he or she was feeling for the duration of the route;
(2) relate any given moment that he or she actually felt something and describe that feeling,
whether positive, negative, or neutral; (3) point out when and where his or her feelings changed;
and (4) be prepared, at that moment, to rate the change in their sense of well-being using a simple
four-point scale: 1 = feeling very good, 2 = feeling good, 3 = feeling bad, and 4 = feeling very bad.
Participants were told they were welcome to state the reason associated with their rating, but
because feelings are subjective and complex, reasonably, there might be times when they could not
be easily explained. Likewise, participants were told that while a neutral value was intentionally
omitted from the numerical scale (in order to encourage them to decide between a positive and a
negative change in feeling), a neutral feeling was valid and could be narrated — it just would not
be marked on the map.
It is important to emphasize here that when using this technique, participants were not asked for
their emotional responses to the landscape at set points along the routes. On the contrary, they
were free to state where their feelings changed without any intervention. Therefore, they were
never asked, “How do you feel now?” Rather, they spontaneously reported when their feelings
changed, if at all, at which time they provided or were asked to provide the numerical rating (1-4) for
that feeling. In other words, any rating point described here is the product of a two-step process in
which participants spontaneously stated where their feelings changed and then provided a rating.
This makes the resulting clusters, whether related to positive or negative feelings, particularly
compelling because it maximizes the content validity of the overall measure relative to a technique
that would have required us to request a rating at pre-selected points.
Finally, throughout each walk, Weinreb documented both (1) the narration (which included com-
ments on any thought or emotion triggered by the route, whether personal, historical, political, or
simply informational)9 for content analysis and (2) the precise location of the ratings themselves to
produce aggregated maps. Metadata on or about individual walks, such as descriptive information
about the weather and conditions at the time of day of the walk and any other factors that might
influence the perception or ambience of or atmosphere in the town that day, were also documented.
The experimental application of feeling maps in this study produced three types of results for
analysis: (1) a map showing where emotions aggregate or “cluster” in space (referred to as “affec-
tive clusters” in this article); (2) a content analysis of narratives on the walks, with particular
attention paid to moments when participants spontaneously described or commented on areas
that made them feel particularly good or bad; and (3) an analysis of the physical properties of
places with positive, negative, and mixed-emotion affective clusters. We describe and analyze each
of these results below.
Aggregated Map
Weinreb produced an aggregated feeling map of the town by transferring the numerical ratings
(1-4) from individual, partial mappings to a master map, shown in Figure 1. In creating this aggregat-
Journal of Architectural and Planning Research
2x:x (Winter, 201x) 6
ed map, colors were used to indicate feelings: yellow = very good, orange = good, red = bad, and
blue = very bad.10 Once an aggregated map was created, it was possible to visually discern areas
of strong feelings. We call these areas affective clusters, which we defined as the tendency shared
by two or more participants in a particular place on a given route to move from neutral feelings to
stronger feelings. The greater the number of people reporting a strong positive or negative feeling
in the same location, the more pronounced the affective cluster. Affective clusters, as emotion “hot
spots,” exhibit aggregations of positive ratings, negative ratings, or in some cases, a mixture of
strong positive and negative ratings in the same place. Indeed, there were instances in which all
seven participants on a given route reported the same change in feeling at the same site, signaling
a complete consensus in feeling about the area.11 For example, one positive affective cluster was
located at a shady pathway entrance to a memorial garden, while a negative affective cluster was
located in front of an abandoned building. These and other more complicated examples concerning
mixed affective clusters will be explained in more detail below.
Content Analysis of Narratives
Table 1 summarizes the reasons given for positive and negative feelings about a place, as narrated
to Weinreb during the walks. The reasons given for positive feelings are listed first. Consistent
with most EP studies, they show that, in general, participants provided positive narrations and
FIGURE 1. Aggregated map with examples of affective clusters and walking routes (map source:
Israeli Geographic Portal, DATE). Map key: yellow = feeling very good, orange = feeling good,
red = feeling bad, and blue = feeling very bad.
Journal of Architectural and Planning Research
2x:x (Winter, 201x) 7
reported the highest ratings in areas with vegetation, foliage, grass, plants, and gardens (“This is
quite well kept. This touch of green and flowers gives humanity to this area.”). Big views, natural
vistas, and unobstructed desert landscapes were the second most frequently mentioned reason
for positive feelings (“Nature takes away negative thinking. You think, ‘Everything’s going to be
fine. I’m beautiful.’”). Positive personal associations were the third most frequently mentioned
reason for positive feelings. These referred to remembered experiences with friends or family or
attachment to the town or nation (“I have happy memories. The first time I came to Mitzpe, we
spent time in this park. I have family memories here.”). Signs of care and ownership or investment
in a property, public or private, were the next most frequent reasons (“The benches are in good
shape, there’s a place for doing a barbecue, a well-tended garden, no trash, tables for sitting
outside and eating, trees planted, fresh paint.”). Finally, children playing or signs of children also
triggered some positive narrations (“I’m feeling better, seeing the kindergarten, a sign of life and
Reasons for negative feelings about a place are shown in the bottom section of Table 1. The most
frequently given reason for a negative feeling was signs of neglect, lack of care, or abandonment
(typically a long-unfinished building, paving, or landscaping project) (“This paved foot path is
partial, half-finished. Turn around! [She turns to empty space behind her.] What do you see?
Where are we?”). The second most frequently given reason was ugly, unpleasant, or ordinary
architecture (“This is like a prison. How could you be inspired here? … a horrible building! An
awful, closed-in jail.”). The third reason for negative feelings was the presence of trash, either on
the street or in an ill-placed or prominently placed receptacle (“Leaving trash out makes pretty
things ugly. A diaper, now, really?”). The fourth reason was a feeling of emptiness in public spaces
or buildings that are unpopulated, deserted, lonely, underused, or unused (“Here near the swim-
ming pool, it depends. In the spring and summer, there is the sound of children and life, but not now
… now it is sad.”). The fifth reason was areas that were described as generally dirty or unkempt —
though not specifically citing trash as the problem (“Look at the parking lot and the laundry
hanging out of the window. It’s ugly. It’s nothing; not homey, not calling you, not welcoming. You
can see that there are people there, but …”). Finally, the perception that a given space represented
ruined opportunities or unrealized potential also triggered some negative feelings (“See this un-
used area by the tennis court? It is what might have been but is not”). It is notable that each of
these reasons for negative feelings, can, in some way, with the exception of ugly architecture, be
traced back to an underlying factor of neglect.
In summary, based on the narratives and descriptions given during the walks and associated with
these affective clusters, participants reported feeling better in areas that are verdant and cared for;
offer views of the open, natural landscape; and show signs of children’s play. Moreover, they
TABLE 1. Reasons for positive and negative feelings about a place, as narrated during the walks, by frequency.
Sources of Feelings Number of Responses
Positive feelings
Vegetation, foliage, plants, gardens 38
Big views, natural vistas 24
Personal associations 23
Signs of care, ownership, or investment 19
Children playing, signs of children 12
Negative feelings
Neglect and abandonment 30
Ugly, unpleasant architecture 29
Presence of trash, including receptacle 28
Deserted, unused, or lonely spaces 21
Dirty or unkempt spaces 15
Ruined opportunities, unrealized potential of a space 12
Journal of Architectural and Planning Research
2x:x (Winter, 201x) 8
reported feeling worse in areas sul-
lied by “ugly” buildings and trash or
otherwise dirty, unkempt, or uncared
for, as well as areas that provoked a
lonely feeling because they appeared
to be chronically or cyclically aban-
doned. Both the positive and nega-
tive descriptions narrated by the par-
ticipants contained signs of tangible
(state of physical change in a park or
garden) and intangible (a state of
mind like a sense of well-being or sat-
isfaction) feelings about the land-
Personal associations were a primary
example of intangible and subjective
feelings, related much more to memo-
ry than to anything immediately visu-
FIGURE 2. Paved footpath in a memorial garden (location
“A” on the map in Figure 1), which elicited “very good”
feelings overall.
al. Positive personal associations stemmed from memories about a range of personal experiences
with friends and family and attachment to this locality or the nation. Negative personal associa-
tions were articulated as disappointment regarding the ruined or unrealized potential of a space,
often tied to a sentiment that municipal leaders had failed to follow through on promises to com-
plete development, livability, or beautification projects.
Performing a content analysis on the words people use to describe why they feel good or bad
provides a basis for further analysis. It is not sufficient, however, to illuminate many of the patterns
that explain what evokes positive feelings, alone or in combination with negative feelings, or
robust enough to understand affective clusters as units of analysis in and of themselves. When
analyzed together, affective clusters appear to have features or characteristics in common that
extend beyond the content analysis. The next section discusses some images and descriptions of
locations with high levels of agreement.
Analysis of Affective Clusters
In this section, we will discuss the four affective clusters that had the highest level of agreement
and two in which feelings were divergent. First, we will look at areas in which there was a consen-
sus or near consensus within the affective cluster: two examples of areas in which participants
reported feeling “very good” (i.e., rated the area a one) (see Figures 2-3) and two examples of areas
where they felt “bad” or “very bad” (i.e., rated the area a three or four) (see Figures 4-5). Then, the
section concludes with two examples of areas in which a range of ratings, narratives, and mixed
emotions was reported — a pattern of mixed feelings in an affective cluster — providing an
instance of when this technique is still useful for learning about an area where a variety of feelings
are reported, even if a pattern of agreement is not evident (see Figures 6-7).
Positive affective clusters
Figure 2 shows the entry to a modest memorial garden near the entrance of town (location “A” on
the map in Figure 1). Six of the seven participants rated this location a one and reported feeling
“very good” there; one participant rated it a two and reported feeling “good.” The ratings were
provided anywhere from immediately upon entry to the park to within approximately 10 m (33 ft.) of
the footpath. The garden features a curving, multicolored, brick footpath shaded by Aleppo pines
and flanked by decorative boulders and a small, open, patchy grass area. Participants liked the
green space, particularly the grass, where one could see young children playing or people picnick-
ing. They also enjoyed the relief provided by the shade during the summer months, the sense that
Journal of Architectural and Planning Research
2x:x (Winter, 201x) 9
there was “a bit of civilization” in the
desert, and that it had “a European
feeling.” Two participants also had
personal associations with the area:
one had practiced tai chi there in the
past, and another, taking in the sur-
roundings within view, was reminded
of road trips and places like this on
the way home. Another participant
mentioned immediately recognizing
the bright white stone so often used
for soldiers’ memorials, a feature she
claimed she can immediately identify
and that makes her sad, though she
still rated the area a one.12
In the second positive affective clus-
ter, positive ratings also began on a
footpath or walkway, this time lead-
ing to a natural vista in town marked
on tourist maps as a “lookout point”
FIGURE 3. Entering the popular “lookout point” into the
Ramon Crater (location “B” on the map in Figure 1),
which consistently elicited “very good” feelings.
into the Ramon Crater (Figure 3) (location “B” on the map in Figure 1). All seven participants who
walked this route reported feeling “very good” (a rating of one) at this location.
Unlike many other tourist destinations, its location across from ordinary apartment blocks, commu-
nity synagogues, and schools makes it accessible to a variety of residents and visitors. On this
route, from the street, pedestrians can see a horizon and an edge or “drop off,” which is the rim of
the crater, along which a promenade has been built. It is known as the “bird balcony” because one
can see birds flying beneath your feet rather than above your head, and it offers what many
consider to be the most panoramic view of the crater from within the town.
Of all of the walks in or near town, this spot was the most dramatic in that participants slowed their
pace, paused, and lingered for the greatest periods of time here. Though not everyone liked the
design or materials of the balcony, particularly the white metal and sharp, “unnatural,” modern form
of the shelter, they also physically interacted with the built environment most in this site, leaning
with their elbows or placing their hands on the balcony’s edge while taking in the vista and
describing what they felt. Standing on the balcony and taking in the view at times changed a
person’s perspective of the town: “It’s a postcard … when I look at rocks and dirt [around town, on
the desert floor] it is a small view, this is great.” “Impressive.” “All the colors, quiet, the animals
[ibexes and birds]. I sometimes come here to take breaks.” Another participant described it as the
“best, best, best, best, you can see the crater, and this is a safe, good surface to stand on.”
Analysis of the positive affective clusters revealed that, despite their diversity in location, in most
cases, they seem to have a remarkably similar feature: the natural world hanging in some type of
visual and experiential balance with the built environment. Notably, the most highly rated areas
never housed only a building or some other built form alone without a natural landscape feature,
nor were they simply a wide, natural desert or crater vista that suddenly came into view without the
help of a built structure. Rather, scenes in which the natural world was present in some form but
exhibited a structured wholeness in balance with the built environment elicited the highest ratings.
So, for example, a footpath winding among trees or foliage, stairs built into green space, a path that
flanked natural scenery, and a structure that framed an expansive landscape elicited positive
responses. In contrast, a cement footpath snaking through a series of buildings (a common feature
in town) did not elicit dramatic positive feelings by itself. Foliage, flowers blooming, or a green lawn
alone also did not receive high ratings unless their presence was balanced by some built form. (See
Journal of Architectural and Planning Research
2x:x (Winter, 201x) 10
Alexander, 2005; Appleton, 1975;
Bourassa, 1992:9; Casey, 1993:225;
and Nassauer, 1995:231, for related
conclusions concerning EP.)
Negative affective clusters
Figure 4 shows an abandoned, four-
story, beige concrete building with
small windows (location “C” on the
map in Figure 1). Three of seven par-
ticipants reported feeling “very bad”
here (a rating of four), and another
three reported feeling “bad” (rating
this location a three). The small yard
of the building was protected by
chicken-wire fence topped with large
coils of barbed wire, both of which
routinely catch plastic bags and oth-
er bits of trash that blow in their direc-
tion. The building is surrounded by a
concrete sidewalk and unused open
space and has no trees, flowers, or
shrubs. The abandoned building is
located in one of the areas locally
considered a town center and known
as the “second center” since the
town does not contain a single, clear
commercial, social, or geographic
center. This area also contains some
of the oldest multistory buildings in
town, most of which are quite run
down, though none as much as this
building. Six of the seven participants rated the area a three or four, exclaiming “look at the barbed
wire!” and offering the following descriptions: “dilapidated,” “abandoned,” part of a “sorry set of
buildings” and “the sad side of the street,” “architecturally terrible,” “a useless building,” and
finally, miraculously “escaping demolition.” Participants were bothered that its current ownership
or use was unknown. They were concerned about approaching it, and the negative feelings, while
primarily brought on by its appearance, were also shaped by concerns about municipal responsi-
Surprisingly, the second negative space analyzed here is the area surrounding what is considered
the main commercial center, which is housed in a mall-like promenade by the main entrance to the
town (Figure 5) (location “D” on the map in Figure 1). Five of the seven participants reported
feeling “very bad” at this location (a rating of four), and two reported feeling “bad” (a rating of
three). This is one of the areas that all residents must use regularly because the supermarket, post
office, and municipal administration offices are located here, along with a variety of small, un-
adorned but frequented shops and eateries. For participants, bad feelings and the narration con-
cerning them started upon approaching the commercial center from behind and continued for the
entire length of the building. Multiple reasons were given for disliking the area, but the lack of a
clear physical center or energetic focal point was a theme that resonated throughout the narratives.
The most common way to get to the center by foot is via a long, meandering, unfinished footpath
that makes wide switchbacks down a hill (most people ignore the long path and cut down the hill)
and leads to a center that is considered dull, shabby, depressing, and of “utterly uninspiring
FIGURE 4. Abandoned apartment building (location “C”
on the map in Figure 1), which elicited “bad” and
“very bad” feelings.
Journal of Architectural and Planning Research
2x:x (Winter, 201x) 11
for the center: “messy kiosks”; “an empty, non-functioning, fountain”; “graffiti on the wall leading
to the supermarket”; “splattered drink and cigarette butts on the ground, the smell of urine, not
enough bushes”; “shabby.” A weekly Friday farmer’s market near the mall was described as
“illogically located, congested, unnecessarily crowding the entrances to the other shops.” As one
participant summarized, despite the people who congregate and use the center regularly, “it’s not
alive, it’s not established, it’s not developing, and it feels temporary, there are people sitting around
in a disorderly way with scattered tables on the grass, there’s trash in front of the bank.” On the one
hand, in this small desert town, a light flow of pedestrian traffic heightens the sense of vibrancy. On
the other hand, when areas like this become packed with people, they no longer receive positive
ratings and, in fact, often receive negative ones: this place is not a place to linger and enjoy; rather,
it is one in which to get essential business done and then leave. Even if residents and visitors use
the area regularly (and it is rarely felt to be abandoned), the other factors prevented it from feeling
lively or making people want to linger. The lack of planning (as evidenced by the abandoned
building, unfinished footpath, and unclear central focus in a variety of areas) also led to a distaste
and bad feelings for the area.
Mixed-emotion affective clusters
Participants provided abundant narratives and ratings but no clear agreement concerning one of
the most active and consistently populated pedestrian thoroughfares in town, shown in Figure 6
(location “E” on the map in Figure 1). Four of the eight participants reported feeling “good” (a
rating of two), three reported feeling “bad” (a rating of three), and one reported feeling “really bad”
(a rating of four) at this location. Regardless of how participants felt about the long, well-used
interior walkway between the buildings, they agreed that it is lively. The buildings in this row used
to be primarily dormitories for an art boarding school. Today, they are used almost entirely by
single and married students at the yeshiva/kollel (an institute for full-time advanced study of the
Talmud, specifically for married men). Thus, these buildings mark population and priority shifts
within the town.13 The walkway has short flights of stairs and wide concrete landings, as well as
poured concrete ramps, making it easy to move strollers, bikes, scooters, and shopping carts up
and down its long, gradual incline. Throughout the day, it is frequented by young Orthodox men
rushing back and forth to their studies, preschoolers heading in and out of the public preschool
buildings or playing in the enclosed yards on the side, and a few art students and residents taking
shortcuts. Particularly after the heat of midday has passed, young religious mothers with long
skirts and heads modestly covered with scarves care for their small children along the edge of the
FIGURE 5. View of the town’s primary commercial center
from a commonly used approach (location “D” on the
map in Figure 1), which consistently elicited “bad”
and “very bad” feelings.
architecture.” This commonly used
path approaches the building from
behind, but residents claim there is
no clear front to the center; all of the
facades look like the back. In fact,
there was a widely circulating rumor
among residents that the ill-educated
contractor misread the plans for the
center and had it built facing the
wrong direction, with a poorly placed
parking lot and an unrecognizable
“What’s here?” commented one par-
ticipant on the shortcut to the center:
“dirt, irrigation hoses sticking out of
the ground, lack of trees, what little
grass is there appears gray instead of
green.” There are more details that
disturb and add to the overall distaste
Journal of Architectural and Planning Research
2x:x (Winter, 201x) 12
for me and it is a pathway without traffic [stops to speak to a teacher she knows over the fence]”;
“This is now a religious area, with blocks of identical apartments”; “a neighborhood within a
neighborhood”; “I see the park at the end of this walkway, and it is a regular, familiar gathering
place for me, but on the other hand, it is also very predictable”; “You know, I don’t usually like this
area, but at this moment, for some reason, I don’t feel as bad as I usually do. But this is still a dirty
area that lacks flowers, gardens, trees, the yards are trashed, there is a lack of color.”
The narratives highlight the variety of feelings and associations about this walkway as a physical
space. More often than not, however, the narratives also reflect an individual’s relationship to the
religious community itself, as well as shared social memories of the place before the religious
community’s arrival (depending on the participant’s group membership and length of residence in
town).14 Few areas of town have had such a recent and visible turnover in population or are so
clearly marked as “belonging” to one group. Moreover, the group in this case is also relatively
insular. The feeling maps easily picked up these narratives about change, showing how they can
elicit narratives concerning group belonging, boundaries, and population changes as they relate
to space, which may be pronounced in some urban areas but can also be more subtle, requiring
residents to explain their social, cultural, or historical importance.
The second mixed-emotion cluster is one of the older public spaces, the nearly empty, nameless,
original commercial center of town, shown in Figure 7 (location “F” on the map in Figure 1). Two of
the seven participants reported feeling “bad” in this location (rating it a three), one reported feeling
“very bad” (rating it a four), one reported feeling “very good” (rating it a one), and one reported
feeling “good” (rating it a two).
The center appeared to be carefully designed, had been refurbished at one point, and contained
what some participants described as attractive built features, with its circular brick plaza and a
green metal pergola. Yet, it was also deemed a depressing place with a series of abandoned and
boarded up shops, no vegetation, and few signs of social life. In a move to revitalize development
towns throughout the country in the 1980s, investment was put into the larger center described
above, and this smaller version was left to decline. The only active place of commerce is a cramped
kiosk with irregular hours and merchandise that one person described as “displaying helpless-
ness, selling too many things, everything … . Typical,” she added, “of floundering small-town
economies in Israel.” One participant and long-term resident asked an older man standing outside
the kiosk, “What is the name of this center, anyway?” The man did not know but claimed it was
FIGURE 6. Pedestrian walkway flanking buildings that now
primarily house religious kollel families (location “E” on
the map in Figure 1), which elicited mixed feelings
ranging from “good” to “very bad.”
walkway. They spend hours outside
with strollers, perched on low walls
outside of several stone-faced hous-
ing blocks. These walls serve as a
natural public outdoor extension of
their often cramped private indoor
Strolling down the walkway elicited a
range of comments and feelings:
“This used to be an active center
[passing the dining hall associated
with the art school] with big meals,
something has really dwindled”; “It’s
not clean and cared for, though I see a
lot of potential. Still, there are broken
stairs, cracked, damaged sidewalks,
lots of trash, places for gardens and
trees that are not used”; “I know and
like this area, it has positive energy
Journal of Architectural and Planning Research
2x:x (Winter, 201x) 13
enough to receive consistently negative feelings either, suggesting the importance of the relation-
ship between physical design features on sociality and perceptions of vitality (see also Al-Ho-
moud and Abu-Obeid [2003] and Skjæveland [2001] for similar conclusions regarding neighbor-
hood and campus settings respectively).
The feeling maps in Mitzpe Ramon demonstrate that the physical features and characteristics of a
place influence people’s emotions. Particularly striking are the affective clusters, where a number of
people with a variety of social characteristics reported strong feelings in the same locations.
Affective clusters and the narratives that accompanied them revealed that areas that are verdant
and cared for, offer views of the open desert or crater landscape, and show signs of children’s play
received the most positive ratings. Affective clusters that elicited overwhelmingly positive feelings
were associated with spaces or scenes in which the natural world was present in some form but
hung in balance with the built environment. Alternatively, areas that harbor “ugly” buildings and
trash or that are otherwise dirty, unkempt, uncared for, neglected, or abandoned received the most
negative ratings. Finally, areas that elicited strong but mixed emotions suggested the importance of
understanding the relationship between physical design features, sociality, and perceptions of
This case study has proven useful for gaining a deeper understanding of feelings about particular
locations in a given town, but it also has broader implications and raises questions related to
planning and design. First, it highlights the need to combine the results of feeling maps with a
contextual understanding of a place and more user-oriented plans and designs for any given city,
town, or neighborhood. We need to know not only whether people feel good or bad about partic-
ular areas but also why these areas evolved or declined. Were they a product of good or bad
designs? What broad economic and social factors influenced these areas? And what plans and
designs are in place to address identified deficiencies?
Second, and more generally, since the technique of mapping feelings is simple to use and easily
replicable, it could be applied to various types of settings (both urban and rural) and in other parts
of the world (developed and developing). Broader application would enable the collection of
comparable data sets15 to see whether the results of a given study are consistent across a variety
FIGURE 7. The old town center (location “F” on the map in
Figure 1), which participants said has some appealing built
features but is practically unused and which elicited mixed
feelings ranging from “very good” to “very bad.”
marked on tourist maps as “number
54” and maybe had some historical
importance. “I appreciate its rounded
shapes,” commented another partici-
pant, who gave it a rating of one, “but
it’s no longer active, though it some-
times serves as a meeting-up place
for youth clubs.” Another participant
paused, looking around before rating
the area a three: “It’s hard to say. The
area would be pleasant if it were alive.
I mean, but … pleasant compared to
what? Auschwitz? Paris?”
Attractive built features in an other-
wise unused area that is not cared for
by the municipality or used by resi-
dents were not enough to consistent-
ly elicit positive ratings. However, the
center was not seen as unpleasant
Journal of Architectural and Planning Research
2x:x (Winter, 201x) 14
of settings and generate new questions invigorated by a technique that makes cognitive, evalua-
tive, and affective responses in space empirically measurable.16
Third, similar studies using the feeling map technique but designed specifically to illustrate how
social diversity (e.g., race, class, gender, country of origin) specifically relates to divergent feelings
about space would be useful for both planning and social scientific knowledge more broadly (see
also Appleyard, 1976; Low, et al., 2005; Sandercock, 1998). Finally, the practical application of this
technique can be used to promote collaboration between design professionals and social scien-
tists in designing and maintaining multicultural public spaces that are beautiful, inviting, and
pleasant to a variety of people.
1. Black Hebrew Israelites or “Black Hebrews” identify themselves as descendants of the ancient Israelites. They
began emigrating from the United States to Israel in the 1960s, but most arrived in the early 1970s, settling in
cities in the country’s southern region, where they created tight-knit cooperative communities, such as Mitzpe
Ramon (see Markowitz, et al. [2003] for a general overview with a focus on this group’s relationship to the state
of Israel).
2. In contemporary Israeli usage, Mizrahim (singular, Mizrahi) — Jews from Muslim-majority countries in North
Africa, the Middle East, and the Caucasus — are often placed in contrast with Ashkenazim — Jews from
Christian-majority countries in Western and Eastern Europe. Mizrahim have become associated with lower
socioeconomic and educational attainment and less active leadership in the founding of the modern state of Israel
relative to Ashkenazim. (For historical context and an analysis of current conditions that are maintaining these
ethnic disparities and differences in Israel’s cultural identity, see Khazzoom [2008]).
3. The dominant finding is individuals’ shared EPs (see, for example, Gifford, et al. [2004] and Tucker and Küller
[2004, 2007] on professional versus nonprofessional responses; Zube and Pitt [1981] on landscape perceptions
of Yugoslavians, West Indians, and Americans; and Yang and Brown [1995] and Yu [1995] on Western versus
non-Western cultural variation in landscape preference). Due to the scope of this study and the nonrepresenta-
tive sample of participants who participated, we did not focus on cultural variation in landscape preference,
though such a focus would be a logical extension of the study and application of the technique used herein.
4. Complex order includes features in both the natural world and manufactured artifacts that, in their design or
appearance, (1) are complex (as opposed to simple); (2) are ordered (as opposed to chaotic); (3) simultaneously
exhibit unity and diversity, simplicity and richness, and wholeness and multi-scalar detail (Arnheim, 1977);
(4) are found experimentally to increase aesthetic affect (Alexander, 2005; Lewis, 2010; Nasar, 1992, 1994;
Stamps, 1999; Yang, 1992); (5) and when they exist in an individual’s consciousness, are found to lead to
happiness and well-being (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990, 1993).
5. Rofè (2004) allowed his subjects to roam freely in their neighborhood and decide which route they would take
and then marked their feelings as they changed the route. Residents were unaccompanied when they completed
the survey. This technique is susceptible to some errors and inaccuracies. For instance, the subjects may rely on
memory rather than actually walking the whole route, and they may err with regard to their position on the map.
Another difficulty arises in the analysis of the maps. Because each subject chooses his or her own route, more
subjects are needed to fully cover the area. In the ethnographic version of the feeling map technique described
here, we enhanced the reliability, validity, and maximum comparability of the maps. Specifically, Weinreb, who
adapted this technique to enhance her ethnographic study, accompanied participants on fixed routes, marking the
maps herself and gathering explanations of the ratings that clarified what the participant was looking at,
perceiving, or describing emotionally at the time the rating was provided. It is also possible to use GPS receivers
to mark rating locations, which would be helpful for mapping in the future. This type of automated geocoding,
however, does not indicate what the participant is looking at, which could include something distant, such as a
6. On average, the duration of the walks for the study was 20-30 minutes. However, some were as short as
15 minutes, and a few, in which the participant was walking slowly or stopping for long periods of time to
comment on particular landscape features, took over an hour.
7. Each walk in this study was conducted individually (with the participant and the ethnographer walking
together) to avoid bias or influence from the presence of a third party.
8. Much of Weinreb’s success in soliciting 50 volunteers to participate on the walks was because she involved
participants with whom she had already established rapport and with whom she had ongoing social ties from the
previous year of research. The group of volunteers in the study was diverse, but the sample, maximized for
Journal of Architectural and Planning Research
2x:x (Winter, 201x) 15
variability within her social network, does not represent the local population in terms of ethnic, religious, or
socioeconomic characteristics.
9. For this study, Weinreb took handwritten notes during the walks, which she then typed up for analysis
immediately after completing a walk. She assured each participant that his or her anonymity would be protected
and refrained from recording narrations digitally or electronically. This generally put participants at greater ease,
particularly when they wished to relate personal information and opinions or to criticize individuals, local leaders,
or public assemblies by name, which several participants did.
10. While the original aggregated map was created in color, the version shown in Figure 1 was converted to black
and white to conform to JAPR style’s guidelines.
11. In assigning numerical values to affective states, one should not assume that a “very good” feeling, for
example, means the same thing to different people. Therefore, if two people experience an area as “very good,”
it does not necessarily mean they feel very good about it for the same reasons. But it does indicate that if
moments of shared affect are reported in the same places, they are worth exploring in concert with the
12. A common feature of most towns in Israel is a gan habanim or memorial garden paying homage to fallen
soldiers and sometimes also containing memorial sculptures for Holocaust victims. These parks and gardens are
the locations for Memorial Day and Holocaust Remembrance ceremonies each spring. For an extended discussion
of landscapes of collective memory and commemoration, see Foote (1997, 2007); for spaces of mourning and
remembrance, see Maddrell and Sidaway (2011); and for sacred places in contemporary Western culture, see Post,
et al. (2011).
13. Indeed, few areas of town have had such a recent and visible turnover in population or are so clearly marked
as “belonging” to one group (in this case, young religious families associated with the yeshiva). There is
significant — but not total — social segregation between the religious and secular populations in Mitzpe Ramon.
The kollel, which was established in town only a decade ago, is a new presence and indicates a demographic shift.
The community as a whole is insular and is not involved in outreach. The dirty appearance and lack of
maintenance has become a stereotype of the areas around the religious community, about which there are also
mixed feelings. One participant laughed while watching people walk by trash, expressing a common sentiment:
“The yeshiva bochers [boys] don’t notice,” or as another stated, “They are taking over and not caring about
where they live. If they are sitting under a tree that doesn’t provide enough shade, they don’t care. What they
have is enough for them.”
14. In this case, where there was a diversity of emotion related to a place, comments were related to the
individual’s relationship to the religious community. Positive and negative feelings did not, however, distribute
neatly along religious and nonreligious lines, as there were some religious individuals who thought the area needed
more care and attention, as well as secular individuals who really liked the area.
15. A city agency or design firm could employ an ethnographer to carry out this research. An ethnographer has
the potential to maximize the familiarity with the context, establish rapport with participants over time, and
therefore, more easily solicit volunteers for the study. That said, the feeling map technique could presumably be
conducted in-house with success but perhaps less contextual depth.
16. Mapping feeling is a technique that has thus far emphasized — but is not limited to — public outdoor spaces.
To date, the only publications discussing results based on this technique have been based on studies in four
locations: the town of Mitzpe Ramon, Israel (this publication), neighborhoods in the San Francisco Bay Area
(Rofè, 2004), the Francisville neighborhood in Philadelphia (Rofè, 2012), and various public open spaces in
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Additional information may be obtained by writing directly to Dr. Weinreb at Anthropology De-
partment, The University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station C3200, Austin, TX 78712-0303,
USA: email:
We gratefully acknowledge two years of funding for Dr. Weinreb’s postdoctoral fellowship (2007-2009) through
the Blaustein Center for Scientific Collaboration at the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research at Ben-
Gurion University of the Negev. It was under the auspices of this fellowship that this study was conducted and that
the authors were able to collaborate at the Man in the Desert Department.
Amelia Rosenberg Weinreb is a lecturer in the Anthropology Department at the University of Texas at Austin.
She is the author of Cuba in the Shadow of Change: Daily Life in the Twilight of the Revolution (University Press
of Florida, 2009). Her current book project, conceptualizing an ethnography of landscape, is based on two years
of fieldwork in Mitzpe Ramon, the small town in Israel’s Negev Desert Highlands featured in this article.
Yodan Rofè is a senior lecturer of Urban Planning and Design at Ben-Gurion University in Israel. Together with
Allan B. Jacobs and Elizabeth Macdonald, he co-authored The Boulevard Book: History, Evolution, Design of
Multi-way Boulevards (The MIT Press, 2002). His work on mapping feelings of well-being aims to corroborate
Alexander’s theory of order in the environment as a personal and structural phenomenon. He is currently
pursuing research on the quality and use of public open spaces in Israeli cities and on deciphering the pattern
language of Bedouin informal settlements in the Negev area of Israel as a basis for planning in the process of
recognition and formalization.
... Mapping emotion builds on a tradition of studies in cognitive mapping, evaluative mapping, environmental preference and environmental affect [37], adding an approach in which people experience, evaluate, and describe their environment in situ through social media. ...
... As explained by Dramstad [41], most people, if questioned, will have an opinion as to whether a landscape is aesthetically pleasing or not, and how everyday landscapes reflect in the well-being of people is receiving increased focus in research. On the other hand, Weinreb [37] advocates that personal associations are a primary example of intangible and subjective feelings, related much more to memory than to anything immediately visual. Positive personal associations stemmed from memories about a range of personal experiences with friends and family and attachment to the place or locality. ...
In recent years, there is a widespread growth of smart cities. These cities aim to increase the quality of life for its citizens, making living in an urban space more attractive, livelier, and greener. In order to accomplish these goals, physical sensors are deployed throughout the city to oversee numerous features such as environmental parameters, traffic, and the resource consumption. However, this concept lacks the human dimension within an urban context, not reflecting how humans perceive their environment and the city’s services. In this context there is a need to consider sentiment analysis within a smart city as a key element toward coherent decision making, since it is important not only to assess what people are doing, but also, why they are behaving in a certain way. In this sense, this work aims to assemble tools and methods that can collect, analyze and share information, based on User Generated spatial Content and Open Source Geospatial Science. The emotional states of citizens were sensed through social media data sources (Twitter), by extracting features (location, user profile information and tweet content by using the Twitter Streaming API) and applying machine learning techniques, such as natural language processing (Tweepy 3.0, Python library), text analysis and computational linguistics (Textblob, Python library). With this approach we are capable to map abstract concepts like sentiment while linking both quantitative and qualitative analysis in human geography. This work would lead to understand and evaluate the “immaterial” and emotional dimension of the city and its spatial expression, where location-based social networks, can be established as pivotal geospatial data sources revealing the pulse of the city.
... AIEV are places/things recognised as emotionally meaningful (in this case, to the local community who inhabit the heritage landscape) but not necessarily where people share the same affective experience about the asset. This methodology builds on the concept of 'Feeling Maps', which plot episodes or experiences of heightened positive and negative emotions within geographical spaces or features as 'feeling intensities' or 'emotional hotspots' (Marchant 2019;Turk 2019;Broomhall and Pickering 2012;Weinreb and Rofè 2013). AIEVs exist at multiscale levels and are neither static nor universal. ...
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The application of digital technologies has greatly improved the efficiency of cultural heritage documentation and the diversity of heritage information. Yet the adequate incorporation of cultural, intangible, sensory or experimental elements of local heritage in the process of digital documentation, and the deepening of local community engagement, remain important issues in cultural heritage research. This paper examines the heritage landscape of tunpu people within the context of digital conservation efforts in China and the emergence of emotions studies as an evaluative tool. Using a range of data from the Ming-era village of Baojiatun in Guizhou Province, this paper tests an exploratory emotions-based approach and methodology, revealing shifting interpersonal relationships, experiential and praxiological engagement with the landscape, and emotional registers within tunpu culture and heritage management. The analysis articulates distinctive asset of emotional value at various scales and suggests that such approaches, applied within digital documentation contexts, can help researchers to identify multi-level heritage landscape values and their carriers. This methodology can provide more complete and dynamic inventories to guide digital survey and representation; and the emotions-based approach also supports the integration of disparate heritage aspects in a holistic understanding of the living landscape. Finally, the incorporation of community participation in the process of digital survey breaks down boundaries between experts and communities and leads to more culturally appropriate heritage records and representations.
... One strand of environmental behavioural studies (Barker 1968;Bechtel 1997;Bechtel and Churchman 2002;Gifford 1987;Lee 1976;Lynch 1960;Mehrabian and Russell 1974;Porteous 1977;Proshansky et al. 1972;Zeisel 2006) posits that individuals' behaviours cannot be explored in isolation from related settings. Recent research shows that the built environment can shape emotional responses (Weinreb and Rofè 2013;Pykett et al. 2020) and affect behavioural responses to emotions such as joy or stress (see e.g. Hollands et al. 2013). ...
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This paper aims to initiate reflections on what an antifragile (Taleb, Anti-fragile. Things that gain from disorder. Penguin Books, London 2012) built environment might look like by furthering the debate on dynamic non-equilibrium resilience, specifically in terms of scale, urban morphology and social life in urban areas. It will do so by presenting a critical review of relevant literature on resilience in the built environment and linking it to what we know so far about the physical (i.e. geographical, morphological and so on) and socio-cultural conditions that have likely limited the spread of COVID-19 while maintaining quality in urban space in early 2020. As the current pandemic is sharpening our understanding of both the link between local and global action and the power encompassed in the exercise of professional and technical knowledge and practice, the paper concludes with (i) speculations on how the current crisis and its management (i.e. lockdown and social distancing measures in public space’ use) might lead to radical changes to the way we think of, and design the conditions for, urban public life and sociability; and with (ii) an agenda for further research on what role urban forms and uses play in speeding or slowing viral spread in different contexts.
... More the diversity and better the utilization, higher is its contribution to the quality of the place. Further, condition of the open spaces in terms of maintained or unattended, encroached and percentage tree cover evaluate the environmental quality of the space [83]. ...
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The paper brings forth key issues concerning environmentally sustainable development of cities in the wake of rapid urbanization and shows the pathway for future sustainable cities of India. Studies reveal that around the world smaller cities are going to accommodate a larger number of people in the future and be the engines of economic growth and development. A thorough study to ascertain intra-city residential patterns is undertaken. It is perceived that to establish a relationship between residential patterns based on built-forms, distribution of dwelling units, population distribution, etc. (collectively known as physical density) and environmental quality, it is quintessential that local environmental problems are studied at the neighbourhood level. Following this, the terms density and environmental quality are defined and common measures adopted to describe the different types of physical density and indicators to assess neighbourhood environmental quality (NEQ) are identified. The literature review reveals that studies taking into account physical aspects of the built environment and their impact on urban environmental quality (UEQ) are sparse especially in the Indian context, thus justifying the scope of the work. The study concludes with the discussion of impacts of increasing density on environmental quality and identification of a set of variables as emerging from the literature review to help formulate an adaptive indicator framework for assessing NEQ in Indian cities.
... Other features such as public spaces that are well cared for result in positive feelings and can provide opportunities for people to interact, meet and play; display their cultures and learn about different people (Worpole & Knox, 2008). Similarly, attractive urban areas result in higher community satisfaction and positive feelings (Leyden, 2003;Weinreb & Rofè, 2013). Walkability, increased safety, and accessibility helps develop social capital and promotes better social health among seniors (Alidoust & Bosman, 2017). ...
Designing places that yield high quality of life (QOL) for residents is a foundation of planning and community development. A focus on sustainability is increasingly important in design thinking and implementation. At a community level, the consideration of sustainable planning and management can create policies and investments targeted at improved community outcomes. Sustainability management is viewed as a solution to many of the negative impacts that mass tourism can bring. A discussion on a new framing around place value incorporates design features of a community as a way of enhancing QOL. A destination example is featured to show the praxis of theory to practice for efforts to use sustainability to shape positive QOL. The article finishes with a discussion of the role that sustainability management can play in strengthening design and QOL.
Introduction Greenery in the residential environment and in the hospital has been associated with improved surgical outcomes and recovery. We investigated the association between the level of residential greenness of patients with coronary disease and their heart disease-related Quality of Life (HRQoL) 1-year after a coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) surgery. Methods Participants in a prospective cohort study who underwent CABG surgery at seven cardiothoracic units throughout Israel during the years 2004–2007 filled in the MacNew HRQoL one day before and one year after surgery. Successful recovery was defined as ≥0.5 increase in the MacNew score between baseline and follow-up. Exposure to residential greenness in 90 m and 300 m buffers around the patient's home was assessed with Linear Spectral Unmixing analysis of Landsat 30 m imagery. Results The cohort comprised of 861 patients (22% female) with a mean age of 65.5 years, and 59.2% classified as low-income. In the total cohort, higher residential greenness was associated with an improvement in emotional HRQoL (OR = 1.33 (95%CI: 0.99–1.79)), adjusting for demographic and socio-economic factors, living in the periphery/center, presence of diabetes, attending cardiac rehabilitation following surgery, BMI, and change in physical fitness and depression over the 1-year follow-up. Although no association was found between greenness and change in the physical or social subscales, a positive association was specifically observed among the low-income patients for the global HRQoL score, OR = 1.42 (95%CI: 0.97–2.10), as compared to the higher-income patients, p for interaction = 0.03. Conclusions Residential greenness is associated with improvement in HRQoL 1-year after CABG surgery, but not the physical and social scales, only in low-income patients. Ensuring greenery in the living environment may act as a social intervention that supports human health and disease recovery.
Strategic planning has recently focused its attention on the elements that characterize the spaces through which the agents move, paying particular attention on the way in which they incorporate them. Spatial environments are currently studied from different perspectives, from the cognitivist point of view they represent knowledge-intensive, significant spatial entities to which human agents need to relate adaptively. The way in which humans use the surrounding space is influenced by a series of implicit factors, such as perceptions, emotions, sensations. These elements, being often tacit, are difficult to identify although they strongly characterize these spaces. For this reason, these characteristics become basic for effective strategic planning at urban and regional level and for environmental decision-making processes. This study presents a method for quantitatively measuring the reactions of visitors to scenes they encounter in spaces with an extremely small population. We conducted an experiment that required participants to take photographs of elements that caught their attention in poorly structured rural areas. In this way, the photographed features and the related comments have made it possible to better grasp perceptions, sensations, emotions that can represent crucial spatial variables for structuring and interpreting spaces.
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People of different cultural backgrounds show different emotional reactions to different urban areas. Finding out how a constructed environment and emotional aspects are related and influence human behavior can be of a great significance in urban planning. Such studies are rooted in environmental psychology and socials sciences; there is a dearth of proper methods and techniques of evaluation with this regard. Moreover, so far there has been no academic study even a review of the relevant practical methods. Thus, there is a need for finding a valid objective evaluation procedure for emotional responses people make to urban space aiming to improve the design of urban areas and urban plan policymaking. In the present research, initially, a review of the research methodologies in environmental psychology, affect and emotions was done. Then, a qualitative content analysis of 30 of the latest projects and research was done in terms of the methodology and tools. Then, the final model was proposed in five stages based on the methods and tools of operationalizing the measurement of feelings and emotions in urban areas. The proposed model combined different research types and different methods applied in different disciplines and thus contribute greatly to solving urban problems.
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Architectural experience is defined in this article as the manner in which people apprehend buildings, and the way they respond to them. A classification of architectural experiences is presented here, encompassing people’s sensory and emotional responses, the meanings that buildings evoke and the actions carried out in them. The main objectives of this article are, first, to introduce a method to discover the experiential schemes or ways of appreciating architecture works that people adopt when they observe, explore, and analyze buildings; and second, to render tangible those phenomena through graphical representations or visualizations. In order to collect qualitative data about the experiences of participants with buildings, a think-aloud protocol was used, in which participants were asked to say whatever came to their minds as they visited a building. The use of the think-aloud protocol and a special graphic survey (proposed here) allowed a deeper comprehension of human experiences with architectural environments. Pilot test participants of thinkaloud and the survey were architecture students who visited one of the two buildings selected. The phenomena experienced in built environments were made visible through visualizations of the survey results. Just like eye-tracking heat maps, these visualizations allowed seeing in space which areas or parts of a building produce specific experiences, as well as the intensity of those phenomena. A better understanding of what is considered beautiful, interesting, uncommon, ordered, etc.—and the relationships among them—was achieved through this method.
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This article focuses on contemporary research in geography on issues of public memory and commemoration - the ways in which discourse of the past is constructed socially and expressed materially in landscape, public memorials, and heritage sites. Interest in these sites has grown rapidly because they both reflect-and expose for study - social tensions, political realities, and cultural values. Compared to work in other disciplines, geography offers spatial, locational, and material perspectives on the patterns and dynamics of commemorative practices. Much attention has focused on the political dynamics of memory, but recent research has also revealed much about the chronology of commemoration, the interplay of social and elite groups in defining commemorative practices, and recent trends that expand the range of events and people remembered.
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This article focuses on contemporary research in geography on issues of public memory and commemoration—the ways in which discourse of the past is constructed socially and expressed materially in landscape, public memorials, and heritage sites. Interest in these sites has grown rapidly because they both reflect—and expose for study—social tensions, political realities, and cultural values. Compared to work in other disciplines, geography offers spatial, locational, and material perspectives on the patterns and dynamics of commemorative practices. Much attention has focused on the political dynamics of memory, but recent research has also revealed much about the chronology of commemoration, the interplay of social and elite groups in defining commemorative practices, and recent trends that expand the range of events and people remembered. Interest in the geography of public memory and commemoration has grown quickly over the past two decades. Inspired by earlier works focusing on landscape symbolism (Cosgrove 1984; Harvey 1979; Lowenthal 1975, 1985; Tuan 1974, 1979) research has expanded to include issues central to heritage tourism, historical preservation, and the politics of commemoration, national identity and patriotism. Interest in these issues has been rising across the social sciences and humanities and has drawn considerable recent attention to how the past is constructed socially—and expressed materially in landscape, public space, art, popular media, and architecture. These constructions—in whatever media—are of interest because they reflect and expose for study social tensions, political realities, and cultural values. We concentrate in this article on the contributions of geographers and on works available largely in English but set our discussion in a broader international and interdisciplinary context. Much of the research both inside and outside of geography has focused on wars, revolutions, and other major historical events from the late eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth century. Among the events which have received the most attention are nationalism and wars of independence
The development of empirical research concerning the perception and evaluation of landscape quality has been hampered by the difficulties of presenting adequate samples of landscape views to large samples of respondents. Consequently, there has been extensive use of photographic displays as a substitute for on-site environmental survey. There is, however, relatively little evidence for the validity of such surrogates. The paper reviews the results of previous studies and reports a case study which provides further evidence for the validity and effectiveness of photographs in representing landscapes.
In a previous study by Tucker Cross and Küller (2004), a method was developed for describing environmental atmosphere based on Swedish expert evaluations of six multifamily housing areas in southern Sweden. The assessments of these experts were validated by residents using post-occupancy evaluations (POE). The main purpose of that study was to determine if (experts could predict environmental qualities that residents desired within their outdoor living environment. One aim of the present study was to compare the Swedish expert findings with the assessments made by foreign professionals using the same checklist in order to discover any significant agreements and differences between these groups. The checklist used in this and the previous studies consisted of items that cover general layout, complexity and coherence, identity and affection, construction materials, greenery, climate, pollution and noise, ecological sustainability, meeting areas, privacy, security and traffic control, and maintenance. One concern regarding the use of checklists by professionals from different regions might be the validity of specific items and the relevance of these items to various cultural aspects. Despite the large differences in cultural backgrounds between the professionals coming from Northern Europe, Africa, Asia, South America, and Eastern Europe, the environmental assessments showed consistent similarities between the groups. Eighteen of the items significantly differentiated between the residential housing areas. For four items, significant group differences were noted and for three items there was a significant interaction effect between groups and areas. The instrument has shown its potential as a reliable and valid checklist even when used by a diverse group of foreign professionals. Copyright © 2007, Locke Science Publishing Company, Inc. Chicago, IL, USA. All Rights Reserved.
The purpose of this project was to help bridge the gap between developers and residents by creating a design criteria checklist for outdoor residential areas and to validate the checklist by means of a post-occupancy evaluation (POE) carried out by the residents in six housing areas. Items addressed in the checklist covered general layout, complexity and coherence, identity and affection, construction materials, greenery, climate, pollution and noise, ecological sustainability, meeting areas, privacy, security and traffic control, and maintenance. The reliability of the expert form amounted to r = .71 and each expert showed significant positive correlations with the other experts. The agreement between experts was consistently higher for some areas than for others. Based on 406 individuals, a factor analysis was carried out for the POE data, which rendered the following factors: Attachment, Outdoor Enjoyment, Aesthetics, Sustainability, and Social Interaction. The assessments by experts and residents were compared in terms governed by the structure of the factor analysis. The validation showed that POE Attachment was predicted by the total score of the expert from and that specific clusters of expert items predicted Outdoor Enjoyment and Aesthetics. It was not possible by means of the expert form to predict Sustainability and Social Interaction. We suggest that this tool will be useful for design education, for designing new residential areas, and for the assessment of existing residential areas. © 2004, Locke Science Publishing Company, Inc. Chicago, IL, USA All Rights Reserved.
This study investigated influences of residential street layout on neighboring. The study design was quasi-experimental with one pretest and two posttest measurements in an intervention group and two control groups. Data were collected using a recently developed questionnaire (MMN) and through field observations. The intervention implemented in this study was a transformation of three sections of residential streets into street parks, entailing considerable changes in street floor and spatial layout, provisions of street furniture like benches, planting of trees and flower beds, installation of play equipment, and prohibition of traffic and parked vehicles. Supportive acts of neighboring, neighbor annoyance, and children's play showed an overall increase in the intervention streets, interpreted as a sign of increased involvement in the neighborhood. Weak social ties and neighborhood attachment showed more complex patterns of changes, depending on demographic factors. It is suggested that symbolic effects of the changes may be more significant than functional effects, and thus that a change of neighborhood identity is an important mechanism in social changes.
Interethnic and cross-cultural preferences for and perceptions of landscape change have been recurrent subjects of interest in environmental psychology, environmental sociology, and landscape architecture research. Cross-cultural studies of Asian, European, and Euro-American perceptions of landscape condition are fairly common, but few if any studies have compared aboriginal and nonaboriginal perceptions of a range of controlled landscape conditions. A sample of aboriginal and non-aboriginal residents of British Columbia's upper Skeena Valley indicates considerable interethnic consistency in preference evaluations of a series of photo-realistic landscape change scenarios. Reflection on the cultural and motivational determinants of landscape preference indicates a need for more explicit operational definitions of the terms culture and community of interest in landscape research. © 2010 by the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System.