Cognitive affordances in sustainable urbanism: contributions of space syntax and spatial cognition

Author(s): Marcus, L., Giusti, M., Barthel, S.
In: Journal of Urban Design Volume 21, 2016 - Issue 4
Year: 2016
Type: Journal / article
Theme affiliation: Urban
Link to centre authors: Barthel, Stephan, Giusti, Matteo
Full reference: Marcus, L., Giusti, M., Barthel, S. 2016.Cognitive affordances in sustainable urbanism: contributions of space syntax and spatial cognition. Journal of Urban Design Volume 21, 2016 - Issue 4

Summary

Post-industrial societies impose new ecological challenges on urbanism. However, it is argued here that most approaches to sustainable urbanism still share the conception of the humans-environment relations that characterized modernism. The paper finds support in recent knowledge developments in social-ecological sustainability, spatial analysis and cognitive science to initiate a dialogue for an alternative framework. Urban form engages humans not only through physical activities, but also mentally through opportunities for learning and creation of meaning, thereby both reinforcing and impeding behaviours on a cognitive level. Against this background, it is proposed that what in cognition studies is termed ‘cognitive affordances’ could form the core of a new epistemological framework of the human-environment relation in sustainable urbanism.

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