USING THE CAMPUS AS A LABORATORY ......
Investigate alternative methodology including broad participatory processes.
Planning methodology generally includes a top-down “stakeholder” participation process, which is either superficial and selective, or invites comment on a fully developed proposal within a system which appears designed to stifle opposition.
Within the standard institutional procedures there is seldom any concerted effort to engage all users of buildings and spaces in meaningful processes to arriving at informed and agreed conceptual solutions.
This study considers and appraises various methods for engaging with those affected by spaces or buildings subject to planning processes, in a way which allows for more honest and emotional responses. The intent is to create an environment conducive to this, and to capture “transient” opinions about the qualities of particular spaces and places at different times of day and year, from a broad cross-section of users.
Crowd-mapping through the “HappiMaps” system successfully demonstrates a suitable procedure to meet this intent.
To critique existing Masterplans.
Masterplan are created through an expedited process, using traditional top-down methodologies, which do not engage stakeholders in discussion on user preferences and experiences, subjective and emotional aspects, specific local knowledge, and perceptions of the quality of spaces and places.
This study proposes a new starting point for reviewing the Masterplan.
Existing plan needs to be improved through more inputs from stakeholders which are gathered and recorded, and then applied within a more inclusive and people-centred campus planning process.
Suggest a people-centred approach for planning spaces and places.
People involved with the campus spaces and places need to be included in the process of planning. They need to participate within a conducive environment in which they feel comfortable to express their emotional responses to spaces and places, and their dreams for the future. They need to feel they will be heard, and their inputs are recorded and properly considered.
This study proposes the application of various techniques and considerations for establishing a suitable environment for honest stakeholder participation.
In addition, the “HappiMaps” tool has been developed to capture and record inputs without filtering, which are visible to all and easy to retrieve and use during the planning processes.
Propose a different, creative and innovative approach to campus design (and urban design)
The planning process needs to be de-mystified to enable more direct inputs and influences from a variety of professions as well as a range of individuals.
Planning tends to concentrate on expansion and creation of more buildings, rather than on first improving and maximising the quality and character and potential of existing places, spaces and buildings.
Quality must be seen as just as important as quantity.
This study proposes that campus design & planning be undertaken through application of the accumulated inputs from the HappiMaps, within a game-playing process in which the decision-making goes beyond a top-down directive approach.
Campus planning must take account of optimal use of existing spaces, places and buildings, before proposing expansion.
The quality of existing spaces places and buildings must be improved or reinforced, based on responses drawn from the HappiMaps records. This must be done with reference to the identified principles for happy spaces.
Create a new starting point for campus design.
Current practice does not provide for campus masterplans to be driven from a subjective standpoint, which prioritises the romantic, mythical and metaphysical factors.
Under current practice, if surveys are carried out to inform designs, they represent only a fleeting snapshot, and are generally structured to capture records of objective issues rather than those of an emotional or metaphysical nature.
This study postulates that the HappiMap should form the starting point for campus planning and design.
The accumulated real-time and historical opinions, emotional responses, feelings, and facts which are recorded on the mapping system are drilled down and analysed, to generate clear patterns for unhappy areas requiring attention to improve quality, or identifying happy spaces that need to be protected, replicated and expanded.
Promoting collaborative discussion on peopled space and the concept of “quality”.
The idea of defining “quality” is central to Robert Persig’s questions into our acceptance of classical philosophy and science. Students and practitioners from planning and design disciplines are not encouraged sufficiently to explore the contradictions and inconsistencies in traditional science, technology and accepted classical philosophy, which limits our ability to plan with the metaphysical in mind.
Insights, ideas and philosophies which each student brought to these discussions was invaluable, and indicative of the depth of untapped intellect resident in our younger generation, which should be applied within all solution seeking processes.
Conceptualising interview procedures which capture perceptions, emotions and dreams.
Surveys undertaken to inform masterplanning processes are generally dry, uninteresting, and poorly structured. Answers are predictable and responses are often just aligned with the norms represented in the question.
The students and author researched and brainstormed alternatives, to list a series of possible methodologies for changing the dynamics of the “clipboard survey”.
This resulted in fourteen suggested approaches, and culminated in the practice of some of these ideas at the “HappiMaps Event” held on campus in October 2015.
This work gives clues for different approaches for campus communications. This could form the basis for further study, involving students and staff from other disciplines, including Psychology, Planning, Communications and Journalism.
Formulating “Happitecture” as a discipline which guides the development of high quality spaces and buildings.
Architecture, Planning, Urban Design and other built environment disciplines each have their own boundaries and traditions, which restrict the outcomes of planning processes which should be open, collaborative and multi-disciplinary.
The concept of “Happitecture” as postulated in this study has caught the imagination and received support from all quarters. It forms a gathering point for disciplines which otherwise perceive themselves as under qualified to participate in design and planning.
Development of a Space Happiness Index.
Measurement of emotional responses is difficult, in comparison with the capture of empirical data and statistics.
It is easier to measure other elements, and so this important dimension is often neglected.
This study develops a Space Happiness Index which is generated by individuals, and enables each person to arrive at their own definitions and quantifications. Through the HappiMaps, people decide on their own whether spaces and places are “happy” “neutral” or “unhappy”, and record them accordingly. This provides a record and an index which is unfiltered, and based on multiple interpretations and opinions, rather than imposing a single definition from the top down.
Relating the metaphysical to the physical as drivers of design.
Masterplanning processes in SA often and naturally neglect the metaphysical in favour of the physical drivers. This relates to prevailing societal values and traditions of classical science and philosophy.
This study records that Bhutan has established a different way of viewing the success or failure of policies and government actions, that is based on the precept that immeasurable elements may be more important than those which are more easily discerned.
The Paper opens the discussion on this aspect, but much more work is required in order to do justice to this concept.
Defining the relationship between Happitecture, Zen and Otherwhere.
There are interesting synergies between the concepts of “Happiness”, “Zen” (as a component of the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance), and “Otherwhere” (as conceptualised thematically for the Union of International Architects 2014 Durban Conference).
These three elements are central to this study about a new approach to campus planning, city planning, architecture and urban design.
This paper draws on the synergies to arrive at the “Happitecture” concept.
Further philosophical discussion needs to be opened up, to move out of the current conceptualisation of space, place and buildings as purely physical elements of the visible world, which require a technical approach to “resolve” through design and planning.
The metaphysical qualities of buildings and spaces are largely ignored in planning and design, leading to spaces and places which do not necessarily relate to the needs, aspirations and heritage of people.
JONATHAN EDKINS Pr.Arch Pr.CPM