Hypothesis Statement and Concept Background( Sensor Group)

Hypothesis Statement

Urban environment is a complex one, it involves all kinds of environmental factors and all the factors are perceived by our human body consciously or unconsciously. In our perspective, urban environment are primarily formed by buildings and streets, it cares more about traffic and commercial efficiency and cares little about how people feel in such an environment. In this project, we link the environmental factors to biometric factors and trying to find what environmental factors affect people’s body and feeling the most. By collecting the data both inside and outside, we will define some comfortable and uncomfortable zones within the city area.

Because anxiety is a much easier thing to measure, so instead of finding the comfort zone directly, we tend to measure the anxiety caused by the environment. When someone in a space which causes anxiety, a lot of biometric reactions will occur. At the same time, we collect the environmental and biometric data to compare the relationship between them so that we can find out some specific correlation. Measure anxiety bases on a hedonic model that can weigh different environmental factors. By adjusting the weight of the biometric and environmental factors repeatedly, we can find out which factor are more impactful than the others.  Then the model can be develop and optimized through these processes.

Different types of people will have different feelings of the same space. We can get more people involved into the project , so their different responses to the spaces can be a really powerful tool to help people understand the city context. Even within a same type of people, they may not have a consensus of the same space, their disputed feeling can also be an interesting part to look into.

By doing that, the finding will should interrogate the relationships between comfort, city form, and environmental conditions.  And the prototype will serve as a mechanism to design and look at the city through the interrelations between space, environment and bodily affects.

Updated on 10/27/2013

Concept Background

City far more complex than we used to think. It contains a lot of aspects of factors such as demographic patterns, cultural differences, the infrastructure etc. Our group are interested in a specific part of them: the city environment. The city environment has a lot of factors, some of them and their impacts are evident and clear, some of the them are potential factor, we know they exist, but we do not know how we correspond to that factor and what impact the factor will have. In this sense, we live in a city which we don’t really know.

A lot of bureaus and organization are doing monitoring job of the city environment. They publish their data and finding everyday, they help people to understand the potential hazard of the environmental factors and give people recommendations. And the designer are telling the public what good impacts the building and space will have before the completion of it. But the public have no such an experience to tell the good or bad space.

People have done a lot of research on the impacts of the city environment, space. But they do not know the impact intuitively. It’s not the public’s fault, it is because of the lack of education and knowledge. So the goal of out project team is to interrogate the relationships between comfort, city form, and environmental conditions and finally help people know how their bodily reactions will be under such an environment.

Updated on 10/27/2013

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2 thoughts on “Hypothesis Statement and Concept Background( Sensor Group)

  1. This is a great start!

    I think you can get rid of the first paragraph and focus more on the second two paragraphs.

    It is important to think more about the idea of comfort/discomfort in the city. What does it mean to be comfortable? What constitutes a “comfort zone”? According to the management theorist Alasdair White, it is an “anxiety-neutral space.” So are you mapping comfort against anxiety? In any case, anxiety seems to be a much easier thing to measure. But is anxiety-neutrality sufficient to the experience of comfort in a space? Are there other factors we should consider? How can we map environmental factors against biometric factors against geo-spatial factors to elucidate these relations? No doubt, this is where hedonic modeling comes in.

    Your tool should do more than just map comfort and discomfort. It should interrogate the relationships between comfort, city form, and environmental conditions. How do different types of people experience comfort and what sorts of spatial and/or environmental factors are most impactful? In what parts of the city is there general consensus about comfort and in what parts does it vary widely from person to person? What types of activities or formations in the city require comfort and what types do not (or even require a bit of discomfort!)? This is where your prototype becomes really powerful as a design tool: as a mechanism to design the city though the interrelations between space, environment and bodily affect.

  2. I think the Situationist Project just posted to the blog is a good reference for you guys. I think this hypothesis has gotten a bit long and complicated. I think you can simplify it into a few key statements:

    1) You are interested in mapping the complex relationship between the spatial factors, environmental factors and body response. (WITH YOUR TRIANGLE DIAGRAM)

    2) Your prototype integrates an array of environmental and biometric sensors and GPS tracking as a wearable prosthetic, extending the capacity of the body to act as a vehicle for mapping/quantifying the experience of the city.

    3) Through this tool, you hope to corroborate environmental and/or spatial “events” with different degrees of anxiety-response, so you might begin to understand how specific environmental or spatial cues affect comfort (or lack thereof).

    4) You are trying to develop a new methodology for mapping in general – building off the discourse of the Situationists – that seeks to understand the city through the fragmentary experience of the body rather than a disembodied, comprehensive, topdown view.

    *******************
    You should have a slide in your presentation that explains the relationship between anxiety and comfort, and that explains typical biometric responses to anxiety-producing events.

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