Effect of Urban Open Spaces on Users Behavior. An Najah University Campus as a Case Study
This thesis aims to contribute to the literature by analyzing open spaces uses, particularly squares in university campuses, and to the relationship between its physical settings and movement patterns. Therefore two questions are answered through the research: How do student’s circulation relate to the physical features of an open space? And how does the spatial design of the university campus affect student circulation and interaction? In order to address these questions, An Najah National University campus was chosen as a case study. The research employed a methodology that combines direct field observations, mobile sensing and space syntax theories, in different open spaces in the university campus, to expose the activity patterns that relates with particular use of design features within the square. Direct field observation, provided direct experience and understanding of the space. Types and locations of the activities taking place within the space were recorded in order to provide people’s activities patterns. Moreover, mobile sensing was used for more accurate results of student’s movements and activities. Finally, the campus was modeled as spatial configurations using space syntax methods. It was used to find the relationship between spatial configuration and student activities in the space. Axial line, visibility and isovist analysis were done to the whole campus. The results of space syntax analysis were compared with the field observation in order to come out with the results and conclusion to this thesis. Research concluded that the spatial configuration and the physical features of the urban space influence how the space is use and how often. Moreover, the spaces on campus lack the adequate amount of seating and natural elements, and if found were not used efficiently. It also found that the space syntax is a useful method for studying the relation between the spatial setting of the space and the form of use. In addition, visibility is a key element in understanding human preferences and the study showed that students tend to sit on spaces with maximum visibility. Therefore, the thesis with the proposed methodology will help finding out why some urban spaces work while others don’t.