The role of urban form in the perception of density

Rights statement
Awarding institution
  • University of Strathclyde
Date of award
  • 2023
Thesis identifier
  • T16777
Person Identifier (Local)
  • 201988359
Qualification Level
Qualification Name
Department, School or Faculty
  • Even though urban environments should be consciously designed to foster positive experiences for mental health and well-being, sociability and quality of life, many fail to do so and density, which is much needed, is frequently associated with negative impressions. Individuals experience it differently due to cultural, age and personality variances. The built form, however, is a universal indicator of density that is present everywhere. Although there are various objective metrics of density that aid in the design and planning of the built environment, there are insufficient methods for recording the subjective sense of density. This study identifies the aspects of the built environment that influence our perception of density while optimising the benefits of density to bridge the gap between the conceptualisation of high-density environments and their subjective interpretation by users. This study includes both subjective and objective components of density and uses multidisciplinary techniques to conduct field investigations to understand how pedestrians experience built environments. Using psychophysics and the personal construct theory as approaches to map the human perception of density to elicit personal conceptions without introducing researcher bias, two surveys were undertaken. They were intended as short, interactive tasks that are done using a customised web application for the first survey and Qualtrics for the second survey. This study reaches three conclusions. First, elements of the built environment such as building height, variety of built form, the presence or absence of vegetation, the level of activities and building use influence the perception of density. Second, the contribution of different visual components in the urban environment to the perception of density and determine the percentage representation of each component in high, moderate, and low density scenarios. Third, visual assessment indexes by developing the quantitative and qualitative database of images representing low, moderate and high levels evaluating environs of different densities.
Advisor / supervisor
  • Romice, Ombretta Rossella Linda
  • Porta, Sergio
Resource Type
Embargo Note
  • The electronic version of this thesis is currently under moratorium due to copyright restrictions. If you are the author of this thesis, please contact the Library to resolve this issue.