Environment Behaviour Methods for Design

Coordinator: Professor Ray Green

This is a newly introduced subject geared to landscape architecture and urban planning and design students who want to learn about the use of a range of both qualitative and quantitative environment behaviour research field methods. These types of methods are primarily derived from the disciplines of environmental psychology and perceptual geography in which they have been used to answer questions concerning how people, and groups of people, use, perceive and think about environments. Application of these types of methods can be very useful for students studying environmental design disciplines to inform their design thinking and decision-making with respect to the design of specific sites. Knowledge about these methods, and their use, is conveyed in this subject through a series of lectures, case studies, selected readings and focused fieldwork-based projects.

These methods include, but are not limited to, methods for behavioural and perceptual mapping and systematic observation of spaces, measurement of people’s responses to sensory stimuli, including use of various photo-elicitation methods, user surveys and interviews, and a broad range of other types of similar methods that can be used for studying human/environment interactions within the context of real-world environments. Students are introduced to, and gain a working knowledge of, a range of methods for data collection and analysis that will help them better understand the needs and preferences of users of built environments that are the focus of design and planning studios.

This year the focus was on students proposing combinations of methods that could be used to study people’s behavioural, cognitive and perceptual responses to the Union Lawn at the University's Parkville campus, a site which was also the focus of a design studio subject - Studio 5: Sustainable Urbanism – simultaneously being taught by the subject’s coordinator. The primary assessment involved the students posing targeted research questions with respect to this site and identifying sets of E/B methods that could be used to collect and analyse data to answer these questions, which they then had to represent both graphically and textually in the form of a report and A1 format posters, examples of which are displayed in this exhibition.

Landscape Architecture 2020_winter