Most of us have a favourite cafe, study spot or even a preferred path that we take to our workplace. Clearly something within our environment leads us to prefer certain environments over others. My interest is in understanding the factors which drive such environmental preferences and shape our experience of the environment. Specifically, I' m interested in the way visual properties of the environment drive preference and shape experience. These visual properties are comprised of both the geometry of the environment as well as more decorative and textural elements. Generally, the visual complexity of the environment appears to predict preference so that more visually complex environments are preferred, and this seems to be related to the informational content of the environment.
Typically studies exploring environmental preference use static images and ask the individuals to make subjective responses towards the images. Unfortunately, this is not the way we actually experience the environment. Recently, I have attempted to explore environmental preference employing a more ecologically valid approach by examining navigation behaviour as a direct measure of preference.
It is my hope that such knowledge will allow us to more fully understand how we experience the environment which in turn may allow us to design more enjoyable and efficient living spaces and neighbourhoods.
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