Environment Behaviour Methods for Design

Coordinator: Professor Ray Green

This subject is geared to landscape architecture and urban planning and design students who want to learn about a range of both qualitative and quantitative environment behaviour research field methods, primarily those derived from environmental psychology and perceptual geography, to answer research questions concerning how people, and groups of people, use, perceive and think about environments. Application of these types of methods help students studying environmental design disciplines through their ability to inform design thinking and decision-making with respect to the design of sites. Knowledge about these methods, and their use, is conveyed through a series of lectures, case studies, selected readings and tutorials. Methods include, but are not limited to, 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, physical trace analysis, participatory design and other 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 aimed at helping them better understand the needs and preferences of users of built environments, for example in the context of design and planning studios. Students had to propose combinations of methods that could be used to study people’s behavioural, cognitive and perceptual responses to the Union Lawn, AKA Concrete Lawn, at the University of Melbourne’s Parkville campus, a site which was also the focus of a design studio as part of the Studio 5: Sustainable Urbanism subject, which was offered simultaneously and also taught by the subject’s coordinator, Professor Ray Green. The primary assessment in this subject involved the students identifying sets of environment behaviour methods that could be used for collecting and analysing data to answer specific research questions, which they then had to display both graphically and textually in the form of an A1 format poster, examples of which are displayed here.

Landscape Architecture 2021_winter