Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Psychology behind Urban Design

Have you ever wondered as you walked around the city why some public spaces attract crowds of happy people, and other spaces you want to run from? The difference between the two is whether or not that architect was successful in creating a design that embraces its community and inhabitants. A city must include buildings and public areas that benefit society, not hinder it. Urban design is the process on how we achieve this goal. It is an important tool architects and planners use to enliven and enrich the experience of urban life in cities, like New York and Jersey City.
Urban design gives character to buildings and neighborhoods as a whole. It’s fascinating when architects and urban planners use their talents and knowledge to construct buildings and create public spaces that uplift the entire energy of city. Urban design is special because it can promote community involvement and enhance people’s quality of life.

What is considered a good urban design?

Good urban design affects your mood, makes you feel happy, and you don’t mind staying in that space for a long time. For instance, in the city the High Line is a great example of this type of location. On any day during the week or weekend the High Line is filled with hundreds of people who happily meander through the area. Urban design should be functional and attractive for its inhabitants. All public spaces should serve a specific purpose from the placement of a bench, to the placement of flowers and greenery.
The High Line located in NYC

JMA’s Urban Design Projects
Jorge Mastropietro creates spaces that bring people together whether they are inside or outside the home. For all of his projects he always keeps in mind how that building should perform and how to make people feel comfortable around that space. 
The perfect example of this type of building is Jorge’s Newark Affordable Housing Projects. It is a group of homes that provide the residents and visitors with a welcoming and positive energy. The houses are located in a low-income residential urban density within a suburban neighborhood in Jersey. The project called for a design of a family residence that could be placed on a single lot as a free-standing unit, while being versatile enough to be repeated in a group setting that looks deliberate and appropriate.
Newark Affordable Housing Projects, designed by JMA
The resulting module engages the street traffic, both pedestrian and vehicular, with planes of various volumes on several different scales. Jorge designed the facade of the homes to be very appealing, a plus for pedestrians as they walk by. He did this by using a variety of sustainable materials like red cedar board; aluminum clad wood, and corrugated metal. All these various materials help stir interest in the viewer and provide a unique appearance on the street-scape.

In addition to the pleasant appearance of the front of the houses, the backyard spaces are just as functional and beautiful. All the homes have a backyard space that helps residents connect back with nature. The backyard area is a very warm space, giving the residents a place to interact, relax, and have a good time.
Newark Affordable Housing Projects (Backyard)

Jorge designed each apartment with function and resource efficiency in mind. The residents who live on the first floor still have a sense of privacy with their doors not so close to the sidewalk. It also doesn’t make pedestrians feel like they are intruding in someone’s personal space.
Urban design helps people live, work, and relax in happier and functional spaces. It is a important process architects and planners use to adapt to the psychological desires of people.  It is amazing how one wrong design decision can make a space feel dreary and unreceptive. Architects should create buildings that motivate people to be drawn to it and makes them never want to leave. 

  • EUKN Research. “Urban Design, how important is it for cities?” Web.
  • Ellard, Colin “Cities and their psychology: how neuroscience affects urban planning”. The Guardian. Web Feb. 4 2014.

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