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This tag is associated with 10 posts

Thinking naturally

Does nature make you think, or at least help it along? Consider first work environments. The world of work is filled with tools that help us think through and solve problems: notepads, pens, networked smartphones, and computers. Effective thought relies on such cognitive prosthetics. Expert professionals are so dependent on tools to aid their thinking that it’s difficult to … Continue reading

How geometry aids recollection

We made our way along the path through the woods and struggled up a steep trail carved out by mountain bikes. Eventually the path flattened and we were on a low ridge, though still under the canopies of hornbeams and beech trees. We caught glimpses of a meadow in the sunlight. A single oak stood before … Continue reading

Aha moments

Imagine walking along the pavement of an unfamiliar busy street. There’s heavy traffic, roadworks and people moving in all directions. Then you encounter an open gate, with green space beyond. You go through the gate and something else is revealed — a grand promenade, wide vista, perhaps a view to a stately villa now serving as a museum. … Continue reading

Space dehomogenised

Anyone who’s done some computer graphics and 3D modelling knows the convenience of the xyz coordinate system. Any point, line, plane and volume in space can be represented via Descartes’ uniform grid system. To Rene Descartes (1596-1650) we attribute the homogenisation of space that reduces space to “magnitude or extension in length, width and depth,” (122) from which other … Continue reading

Some wild life

An engagement with nature enhances people’s emotional attachment to places according to a recent article by researchers into sustainable cities, Timothy Beatley and Peter Newman. They maintain that “Urban environments that are greener, more nature-full, will attract greater interest by residents and help to strengthen emotional bonds to place and community, in turn increasing urban resilience” … Continue reading

Accentuate the negative

Protesters are demonstrating against plans to build on Gezi Park in Istanbul (Financial Times). Commentators say the park issue is just a trigger for the expression of widespread discontent. But people do have passionate views about open outdoor space. A recent article on the BBC Science website says, “Being physically active can bolster good mental health … Continue reading

Why music reaches the parts that architecture can’t

Physical spaces are charged with meaning and emotion for most of us — some spaces more than others. But it’s rare to enter a building or encounter spectacular scenery and experience the same intensity of emotion many of us feel on hearing a piece of music, particularly music that fits the mood of the moment, … Continue reading

I am Spartacus

The perennial tussle between the right to free speech and the right to privacy has a spatial dimension of relevance to any designer. Architects, geographers and planners are acutely aware of the relationships between public and private spaces. Free speech roughly equates to the right of access to a place (eg a city square, the … Continue reading

The Creosote Code

I asked a colleague if she was going to buy a new wafer-thin iPad. “Yes they are waafre-thin,” she echoed in pseudo French. “I never took you for a fan of Monty Python,” I said. “I’m not. Oh, is that where it comes from?” came the response, “We often say something is ‘waafre-thin’ in our … Continue reading

Silent night

Silence is close to noise in its effects. In his study of a Paris housing estate, the sociologist Jean- François Augoyard reports the experiences of people inside an elevator: “Dramatic evocations are set in gear on the basis of noises.” Noises invoke haunted castles, but “the most dramatic images arise with the halt of the … Continue reading

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