The Value of Design: A Study of Pedestrian Perception in New Delhi, India
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This thesis studies the influence of values and perception on pedestrian behaviour, to recommend how places can be designed to satisfy their user needs. By satisfying needs we mean creating user perceptions that resonate with the environmental values held by the users. This study examines user perception of a number of pedestrian environments in New Delhi, India to identify if the environments satisfy their users’ environmental values, and then to explain how this happens. It studies Kevin Lynch’s performance dimensions for good city form – safety, access, fit, sense, and control – as some environmental values that are common to most people. The study finds that user perceptions of how the environment affects these values will influence user behaviour. It also becomes evident that the legibility of paths, edges, and landmarks plays an important role in the mechanics of perception. Legibility is crucial to the pedestrian’s mental image of the environment: the more legible the paths, edges, and landmarks, the easier it is for the user to construct his or her mental image. Legible surroundings will enhance the user’s perception of the environment’s ability to satisfy his or her values. The findings are used to recommend design improvements for the pedestrian environment. The successful application of this study method in New Delhi suggests robustness of Lynch’s analysis regarding how the legibility of the physical environment – especially of paths, edges, and landmarks - is a key determinant of the success of an environment to satisfy important values that are common to most users.