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Responsive Environments
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Ian Bentleys
7 Levels of
Responsive
Environments

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Introduction
Planning should be a
product of progressive
social and political
attitudes
The built environment
should be able to
provide users with a
democratic setting,
enhancing the
degree of choices that
are available to them
Once this is achieved the
places are RESPONSIVE
IAN BENTLY

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Permeability
Places must be
accessible to people to
offer them choice

Physical and visual


permeability depends on
how the network of
public space divides the
environment into blocks

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Permeability
Places must be
accessible to people to
offer them choice

Physical and visual


permeability depends on
how the network of
public space divides the
environment into blocks

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Permeability
The challenge is to
improve the interface
between public and
private permeability

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Permeability
A decline in public
permeability is caused by
current design trends
Scale of development

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Permeability
A decline in public
permeability is caused by
current design trends
Scale of development
Hierarchical layout

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Permeability
A decline in public
permeability is caused by
current design trends
Scale of development
Hierarchical layout
Segregation of
pedestrian and
vehicular circulation

public
space
pedestrians

vehicles

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Permeability
A decline in public
permeability is caused by
current design trends
Scale of development
Hierarchical layout
Segregation of
pedestrian and
vehicular circulation
Security

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Variety

Variety offers users a


choice of experiences

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Variety

Variety of experience
implies places with
varied forms, uses, and
meanings

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Variety

Developers are more


concerned with
economic performance
and easier management
Thus, the end-product is
the modern zoned city,
where choice depends on
mobility.
friends
home

store

home
park

school

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Variety

Variety of uses depends


on three main factors:

range of activities

possibility of supply

extent to which design


encourages positive
interactions

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Variety

Variety also depends on


feasibility:
economic,
political,
and functional

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Legibility

Degree of choice depends


on how legible it is:

Elements that give


perceptual structure to
the place should now be
brought into the design
process

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Legibility

Legibility is important at
two levels:

physical form
activity patterns

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Legibility

Legibility of form and use


is reduced in the modern
environment

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Legibility

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Legibility

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Legibility

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Legibility

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Legibility

SEGREGATION also
reduces legibility

pedestrians

public
space

vehicles

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Legibility

Legibility is strengthened
by IMAGEABILITY as
defined by Kevin Lynch

5 elements of the city


PATHS
EDGES

DISTRICTS
NODES
LANDMARKS

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Robustness

Environments which can


be used for many
different purposes

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Robustness

Environments which can


be used for many
different purposes

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Robustness

The spatial and


constructional
arrangement of individual
buildings and outdoor
spaces should allow for
flexibility

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Robustness
Comes in the form of
large scale and small
scale robustness

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Robustness
At the building level,
several factors support
long term robustness:
building depth
access
building height

hard and soft spaces


size and shape

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Visual
Appropriateness
Focuses on details

Visual appropriateness
is important because it
strongly affects the
interpretations people
put on places

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Visual
Appropriateness
A vocabulary of visual
cues must be found to
communicate levels of
choice and make the
environment
comprehensible

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Visual
Appropriateness
A vocabulary of visual
cues must be found to
communicate levels of
choice and make the
environment
comprehensible

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Visual
Appropriateness
Interpretations can
reinforce responsiveness
by :
supporting the places
legibility
supporting the places
variety

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Visual
Appropriateness
Interpretations can
reinforce responsiveness
by :
supporting the places
legibility
supporting the places
variety
supporting the places
robustness

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Richness

The variety of sense


experiences that users
can enjoy. Designing for
all sensory choices.
There are two ways for
users to choose from
different sense
experiences
focusing their attention
on different sources of
sense experience
moving away from one
source to another

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Richness

TRAM LINE
ROAD

The sense of motion:


this involves kinetic
experiences whose choices
can be gained only through
movement

FOOTPATH

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Richness

The sense of smell:


this involves the choice of
olfactory experience, which
can only be achieved by
moving from one source to
another

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Richness

The sense of smell:


this involves the choice of
olfactory experience, which
can only be achieved by
moving from one source to
another

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Richness

The sense of hearing:


this is involuntary and is
restricted to places large
enough for people to
escape from the sound
sources involved

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Richness

The sense of touch:


both voluntary and
involuntary

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Richness

The sense of sight:


most dominant in terms of
information input and is
the one easiest to control

The basis of visual richness


depends on the presence of
visual contrasts

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Personalization

allows people to achieve


an environment that
bears the stamp of their
own tastes and values
makes a persons pattern
of activities more clear

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Personalization

Users personalize in two


ways: to improve practical
facilities and to change the
image of a place

The political issue is


control vs. individual
choice

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Personalization
Personalization is
affected by three key
factors:

tenure
building type
technology

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Synthesis

permeability will affect where we can and can not go


variety affects the range of available uses
legibility affects how easily we will understand what
opportunities the design offers

robustness affects the degree to which we can use a


given place for different purposes

visual appropriateness affects whether the detailed appearance of


the place makes us aware of our choices

richness refers to our choice of sensory experiences


personalization affects the extent to which we can put our own
personality on a place

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Synthesis

permeability designing the overall layout of routes and


development blocks

variety locating uses on the site


legibility designing the massing of the buildings and
the enclosure of public space

robustness designing the spatial and constructional


arrangement of individual buildings and
outdoor spaces

visual appropriateness designing the external image


richness developing the design for sensory choice
personalization making the design encourage people to put
their own mark on the places where they live
and work

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Responsiveness of UP Campus, Diliman

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Permeability

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Variety

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Legibility

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Robustness

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Visual Appropriateness

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Richness

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Personalization

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SOURCES

Bentley, Ian, et al. Responsive Environments


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