People, Paths, And Purposes

Philip Thiel

Philip Thiel believes that environmental design and research should be based on the eye-level experience of the users in the course of their movement through the environment. He also argues that design should be primarily concerned with the self-identified and clearly specified needs and preferences of the users. He presents here a progress report on his forty years of work on the development of new tools and procedures necessary for the implementation of this approach in environmental design and behavioral research. Thiel describes a user-oriented participatory process of environmental planning, design, and management. Named 'envirotecture,' it identifies and profiles the prospective users and flow-charts their proposed activities on site, in the context of their day. It then employs a representative sample of these users as consultants for the formulation of 'experiential performance specifications' as part of the project program. Design development then proceeds with reference to the responses of these user-consultants to alternative designs in the form of simulated environmental sequences. This book brings together a social awareness, a knowledge of environmental perception and cognition, and an operational design method in an unprecedented synthesis. It focuses on the central and critical concerns of socially responsible designers, as well as on the interests of researchers in environmental psychology, sociology, and anthropology.

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