UFC@DUT ~ LABORATORY :
zen, otherwhere & the art of space design
RECAP OF THE HAPPITECTURE PROPOSAL
AIMS OF THE STUDY
BROAD PARTICIPATORY PROCESS
FORMULATION OF THE COMMUNICATIONS BRIEF
Formulation of the Communications Brief and Campaign is dependent on actions at three distinct operational levels on the DUT Campus:
A. DUT MANAGEMENT, STAFF & ACADEMICS
DUT Management needs to recognise that this intervention will probably set benchmarks for future democratic interactions. This is a positive intervention, but creates expectations that senior management at DUT need to endorse. Responsibility for establishing the necessary knowledge and understanding of the project at this level lies with UFC as the project sponsors.
There are roles for various DUT departments within the proposed communications strategy, both in the initial pilot phase, and on an ongoing basis. In collaboration with DUT, this includes academic and services departments, such as Communications, Architecture, Psychology, Electronics, Computers, Drama, Arts, Facilities Management, Maintenance and Planning. UFC have facilitated cross- disciplinary conversations and support, including participation in seminars and direct presentations to student classes.
The DUT student body is represented in the pilot development stages, by seven students in the Architecture faculty, whom each submitted proposals for the UFC Blue Skies Call. They became known as the “Happitecture Students”, and each participated wholeheartedly and proactively in the program, and in weekly meetings.
The seven students have been extensively involved, under a mentorship program, in interactions and projects aimed at establishing awareness and fresh concepts and ideas about urban and campus space, its physical and metaphysical properties, responses, and communications methodologies. This has included regular discussion meetings, formal projects and assignments, and feedback in various media.
The broader student body was called to participate directly through implementation of this Brief, in the campaign roll-out stages. This included the “Happimaps Event” and the Happimaps App. The SRC was apprised of the project, and supported its principles.
C. OTHER STAKEHOLDERS
The communication proposal includes interactions with additional stakeholders other than university management staff, academics and students. These other individuals and groupings include commuters through and around DUT, taxi and bus drivers, informal traders, casual workers in the vicinity, and businesses operating on or near the campus. These people need to be included in planning processes, and given a voice in informing decisions which affect their livelihood or other circumstances. Fruitful work has been undertaken by others under the UFC@DUT Blue Skies banner, results of which may be incorporated within the Happimaps capture and recording environment.
The Happitecture exploration suggests a more creative philosophical methodology for urban planning, urban design and city architecture in South Africa. It draws from an inclusive, people centred, cultural, emotional, intuitive, mythological and metaphysical approach, to shape and fashion shared public places which contribute positively to the happiness of people.
We learn most about past cultures and generations through their marks left in caves or in music or mythology passed down through dance or story telling. Cave paintings and relics record beliefs, cultures and histories. So do nursery rhymes, traditional poems and mythologies of spirits or unseen forces. They are often set in ancestral dwellings, ancient forests, and imagined lands, where people live alongside ancestors, animals, dragons, giants and unicorns. Great places of past sports and social interactions still tell their tales of communities long gone. These spaces evoke emotions which are recalled over centuries. Some happy, some not so happy.
What are the stories we will relate for future generations about our current circumstances and relationships to natural and constructed spaces? What media will we use to communicate our culture and its happy and unhappy fables, to our descendants? What will the “imagined places” be like?
History will assess today’s practices through similar sets of clues. We will be seen as driven by technology rather than concerns for people. City and space planning is often premised on processed and filtered generalised information. Communications strategies are mostly informed by statistics stemming from bland written answers to stale questionnaires. Sterile technological rotes are followed, to set up schedules, reports and graphs.
“Masterplans” directly affect the spatial character and future forms of our campuses and cities. Information on which such plans are based must prioritise people in the equations. To get to the essence of human emotions, metaphysical aspects must be included. “Masterplans" must therefore be open to inputs from many people and professions, and based on multiple sources of knowledge and information. Communication techniques guiding space planning may need to span considerable time, and changing seasons or other external circumstances. Inputs should be captured and recorded in as direct a way as possible, with least translation or filtration.
Commercially driven design professions have become increasingly more technical and scientific, and so much more remote from core human emotions, Practitioners lose touch with people and their individual cultures, legacy and heritage, which should underpin all design decisions.
A new way needs to be inclusive of classical and romantic approaches to communications to mine data to inform design. The design or planning brief must look beyond the visible and obvious, to find the “otherwhere” space, through a people-centred approach.
REACHING OUT : EXPLORING PEOPLE-CENTRED COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUES
“Conceptualising interview procedures which capture perceptions, emotions and dreams.”
COMMUNICATIONS BRIEF TO THE HAPPITECTURE STUDENTS :
Objective: Whilst having fun, to capture and record the suggestions and proposals for a communications strategy leading towards development of a “space happiness index”.
Intent : The communications strategy is to be set out in a way which enables full, energetic, willing and voluntary participation from the “ground up” of all participants, who should feel complete ownership of the information process, and should buy into the potential outcomes and benefits of their spaces.
Focus Area : Methodologies and activities which will "ignite the sparks” necessary in order to achieve and record a spontaneous response from a range of DUT Campus stakeholders, which reflect their individual rational, irrational and subconscious relationships with campus spaces and places. This must explore the terrain beyond classic and romantic model answers, and delve into responses at a metaphysical and intuitive level.
(a) internet / desktop research into alternative communication methods and psychological
responses to stimuli and
(b) direct discussion and conversation with peers and others around the topic, to widen the circle of possible approaches.
Evaluation : There should be no “filtering” or “censorship” of ideas and responses. There is no such thing as a bad idea! All suggestions and inputs will be captured, and further conversations will evolve as a result of all of the inputs.
Submission : briefly present individual suggestions, findings, and proposals. Use any suitable materials and methods to get ideas across to the group.
The Happitecture Students were encouraged to take inspiration from the words of Prof Jose Forjaz, speaking about the city as the “locus of democracy”, and to look at the potential for their work to influence and guide the “university of the future”. A quote and rationale were provided for that purpose.
RESPONSES TO THE COMMUNICATIONS BRIEF FROM THE HAPPITECTURE STUDENTS
The following proposals, observations and suggestions arose from personal conversations, debates, and submissions from the Happitecture students :
The “Beautiful” or “Average” campaign.
A PR research program conducted in the USA placed notices above two separate adjacent main doors into a public building. One was labelled “Beautiful”, the other “Average”. The intent was to challenge individual’s self perceptions in a non-verbal way. Facial expressions and body language during the process of decision-making were recorded in close-up from hidden cameras.This is suggested as a possible methodology to tap into with students or stakeholders on Campus. Individuals could be provided with choices to “vote with their feet”. Their choices / actions / gestures could be recorded to identify “true” responses to stimuli representing emotional responses (including happiness) to spaces on Campus.
The “Springbok” campaign
This was seen as a prime example of the strength of group communication, to establish a “wave” of response and inspire stakeholders and the wider student group to come on board the “happitecture train”. Enjoyment, joint interest, participation and group dynamics become useful tools in establishing an environment on Campus which engages all students and results in positive and willing responses to questions about their experiences of Campus.
Yuppstuff: coffee and consumer culture conversations
In 2014, Architecture students started a small company called “yuppstuff”. It was able to promote anything. It supported both the department newsletter and a coffee pop-up, selling people coffee and their own news. It was interactive newsletter space; that worked under the yuppstuff umbrella. The projects required interaction with the student body for their success. yuppstuff was able to achieve this platform space for the projects to get broader attention and interaction. The catchy phrase lit up the campus and saw students coming from all corners of Steve Biko campus to a desk placed in stairway on S3 L5 to find out what yuppstuff was, and purchase the same coffee they could have purchased elsewhere.
A proposition is to run a “yuppstuff project 2015” as a real-time data collection pilot.
An additional proposition is to nominate a select day in the week to create this interactive platform where opinions and comments on Campus spaces may be harvested.
Practical results can be yielded on how to fashion the spaces in and around the university in a progressive way... mindful of the modern day student campus culture and lifestyle.
Event-led communications opportunity
Cultivating an event to facilitate interactions between stakeholders, and create awareness of
the Blue Sky / Happitecture initiative. Taking people into a comfortable environment, which may include games, food, music, poetry, refreshments.
Also, tapping into existing events, and using these as opportunities to engage on the issues of Campus space. Consider Musgrave Night Market, Umgeni Market, Essenwood Market.
Populating Negative Spaces
Use areas identified by students as negative or unhappy, to host :
Using existing popular communications to promote the communications programme. Possibly combining efforts to get Campus Radio to engage students and others for live interviews about responses to different spaces on campus, and ideas for the future campus.
Use Drama as a tool for generating debate and shift of consciousness. “Street Theatre”. Engage people in questions through movement, dance, and encourage them to act out emotional responses to the spaces.
Set programmes in all academic disciplines which require students to explore the campus periphery and record spaces as experienced by themselves and other students.
Capture and record an awareness of other users through deliberate and facilitated engagements in the everyday reality of a variety of students moving towards, within and away from the Campus.
Tapping into the existing knowledge base
Study and capture, for transmission, past surveys and research, particularly of a social and historical nature, to record an understanding of related sensitivities, networks, heritage, cultural needs and expectations, activities, livelihoods and interdependencies which impact on the campus. Ensure this information becomes part of the “story” which guides future planning.
Open channels of communication
Acknowledge and respect the inherent knowledge held by students and other stakeholders. Shift the “balance of power”, and open channels for communication in a non-threatening environment.
Enable open ended results, so further exploration will enable exchanges between people.
Properly Hear Multiple Stakeholders
Engage with surrounding communities which are physically or emotionally related to the campus. Use a communication strategy which enables direct interactions in different places.
Levels of relationships exist which cannot be known unless there is direct involvement in the campus and its variety of adjacent spaces and people. Knock-on effects and unintended negatives from remote planning may be avoided to some extent if there is engagement and understanding between those responsible for capturing plans for the future, and those responsible for communicating the needs and generators.
Students from all disciplines need to be exposed to the opportunity to learn from the people on site, the communities, and the custodians of the space. They then learn to work with real people and their environments, on their own terms; from the bottom up.
Exposure to Stimuli
Observing and capturing response to stimuli into the communication methodology. For example, an exhibition set up to engage participation and response. A straw-dog process to elicit outrage, or support - appealing to emotional responses to break through layers of communications.
Possible link to the traffic and commuter studies - pedestrianisation versus taxi vibrancy.
Critique formal processes of communication
Focus Group meetings, interviews. Public meetings.
Improvement on standard EIA processes.
Developer engagement with community... Generally characterised by fear, aggression or disengagement.
How to bring social aspects into planning? Planners need guidelines on social issues. Engagement :
- analyse existing processes
- focus groups on alternate methodologies.
- check other experiences, learn from positive or negatives
How can these methodologies be improved?
Change the way Planning relates to people.
Engaging new technologies
As technology advances, so methodologies and systems for campus communications need to be reviewed, updated and re-developed. The “information age” demands that real-time communications and notifications are available for use by staff and students.
DEVELOPMENT OF A SPACE HAPPINESS INDEX - CROWD MAPPING
Examples of good practice for use of new Computer Applications (Apps) technology exist in other local universities, notably the University of Stellenbosch, which boasts an integrated electronic communication system that also provides data for planning, maintenance and management.
Suitable off the shelf free-ware Apps exist which are potential solutions to the communications gap which seems to prevail. Using Apps as communication tools could be the norm on campus, and could assist in compiling essential information about student needs, activities, interests and improvements that could be made on campus.
For the purposes of development of a “heat map” for Happitecture on campus, three possible Apps were identified :
Benefits listed include :
The Happitecture team adopted “Ushahidi” as an interim platform, to capture and map responses leading to a Happiness Index. This program is flexible and can be adapted or changed as circumstances evolve, and linked to a more holistic system.
HappiMaps are pioneered on the Ushahidi platform at the Durban University of Technology campus, under the Happitecture program. DUT is viewed as a laboratory and as a microcosm of the City.
Developed in Africa, Ushahidi is characterised as a tool for community journalism. The Ushahidi website describes “an open source web application for information collection, visualisation and interactive mapping ...(which)... helps to collect information... categorise it, geo-locate it, and publish it on a map.” It proved to be a useful platform for the purposes of Happitecture.
The Ushahidi framework was initially developed to monitor, report and record conditions related to the national elections in Kenya. The Crowdmapping component has been used since then for various other purposes, generally aimed at providing a platform for community information, mobilisation and coordination. The system has been used as a help and assist aid in the Haiti floods following Cyclone Katrina, as a method for recording civic interventions in India, and to report community grievances in South Africa.
The Ushahidi Crowd Map enables capture and storage of visual and written information, including videos and photos. Linked to Happitecture, this data can be analysed and applied to inform and guide regenerative and new spatial interventions, and more sensitive people-centred and user oriented planning. The resultant HappiMaps provide us with a tool for identifying spaces according to their degree of happy / unhappy response from people using those spaces.
The HappiMaps crowd-mapping site was established by the author. The system was intuitive, and easy for a novice to set up. Two site administrators, one from UFC@DUT, and the author, were given site access. The Happitecture Students were briefed and provided an initial response within the application. Each student downloaded the free App to their cellphone or laptop, and posted reports using the system. Early glitches included difficulty with accessing the first Happimap, limits on uploads using the Android platforms, and problems with uploading videos and photos. The deficiencies were ironed out over time, with minor changes to the program setup.
Reports and maps may be accessed through the Ushahidi App using the user name
happitecture2@dut and URL https://happitecture2.crowdmap.com.
THE HAPPIMAPS EVENT ON 30TH SEPTEMBER 2015
The Happimaps Event was set up as a pilot for future interactions with people on campus. Interactions are consistent with the Happitecture concept and apply the suggestions arising from the proposed campus communications campaign. This first event was intentionally limited in scope and scale. Future events which should be initiated and managed by DUT as part of a broader communications strategy, can more thoroughly test the concepts for effective interactions which are suggested in this paper.
The event took place on 30th September 2015, to raise awareness of the Blue Skies initiative and the Happitecture proposals, and to encourage direct participation in the HappiMaps App. Many departments of DUT assisted with the arrangements, including Communications, Audio Visual, Maintenance, UFC, and the Plant Nurseries. The Happitecture Students volunteered to arrange musicians and were responsible for interactions with participants on the day. They also assisted with setting up and demounting the displays, and creating an attractive and enticing environment.
The site for the event was identified by the Happitecture students as one of the “least happy” on Steve Biko campus. The area to the east of the Library, at basement level, is unkempt, and characterised as a negative, undefined space, with no focus, no edges, and no distinctive character. It leads to a desolate parking area, and sits uncomfortably between the student hostels, the student fees payment offices and student counselling services offices. The library windows and office windows which could open into the space, are locked and blinded, to the detriment of the space itself, as well as the office workers and library users. The emotional characteristic of the place is negative and threatening. Students report to these offices generally in circumstances of some distress, and are made to queue in the space whilst awaiting access to overcrowded offices and under-staffed administration.
Even if only for one day, it became important as a demonstration of Happitecture, to positively change the character of the space, and create new memories. Ideas arose for introduction of a Zen Garden to replace bland paved areas, for setting out of a forest of trees to enclose and define a gathering and interaction space, for hanging bright inverted umbrellas to create focus, and straw bales to allow for seating. Arrangements were made for music and food to be provided. The solid gable end walls of the hostels were decorated with large scale maps and photos, and the space functionally divided using gazebos and screens.
Students and others were led to the event space from better populated areas, by the Happitecture students with the assistance of helium balloons and red rope route markers.
The event took place between study leave and an exam period, and was held on a day of unpredictable weather. A ferocious afternoon thunder-storm capped a humid and hot day. The wind and rain resulted in cancelation of the music and dance event, but many people were nonetheless attracted to the exhibitions and maps. A surge of enthusiasm for the process erupted during the period when free airtime was offered for participation in the mapping process.
UFC@DUT ~ LABORATORY : zen, otherwhere & the art of space design 16
The event attracted over three hundred posts, with participants identifying happy, unhappy and neutral spaces and places on campus, and filling in reasons for their choices. The Happitecture Students facilitated the posts, explained the idea behind the HappiMaps, and were diligent in encouraging participants to provide responses based on their honest emotions. There was a great deal of heated and animated discussion during the process, and may students and workers expressed their appreciation of the process which allowed their opinions to be recorded.
The video booth set up at the site was less successful, with most people reluctant to be video- recorded. Only eight recordings were captured through this process. All in all, however, all involved were energised by the event, and enjoyed the experience. The main purpose, of spreading the word about HappiMaps, and capturing responses to the map and App., were adjudged to have been achieved.
The large scale aerial map of the Steve Biko Campus proved a hit with students, staff and workers, who populated it with stickers of red, yellow and green. This map, and the associated comments and reasons, is used in the following section of this report, as a base from which campus planning may be reviewed.
THE CITY CAMPUS SEMINAR ON 2nd OCTOBER 2015
As a follow-on from the Steve Biko Campus Event, a seminar was arranged at the City Campus, to further publicise the HappiMaps process, explain how the App can be accessed, and to facilitate capture of more posts to the App.
The seminar was very poorly attended, partly because of the time of year and looming exam timetables. However, useful information was imparted, and very informative comments were received from those present.
Several posts have subsequently been logged identifying happy and unhappy spaces at the City Campus. However, it is recommended that a more intensive communications and participation process be implemented at the City campus as well as other parts of DUT, in order to ensure participation and spread knowledge of the program as a whole.
As part of the seminar, various problems with current facilities and planning at the City Campus were identified, and some potential solutions to improve the happiness index generally on this campus were suggested.
Suggestions included identification of the need for extensive negotiations with the municipality in order to rationalise traffic flows and systems around the campus. This could open opportunities for desperately needed expansion, hopefully leading to direct access to Botha Park and other adjacent neglected and under-utilised, unhappy spaces.
APPROACH TO CAMPUS DESIGN
Proposing 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. A unifying vision and protocol would assist in establishing a collaborative environment within which an inclusive plan can be generated.
The traditional planning disciplines tend to concentrate on identifying future needs, assessing current capacity and then proposing expansion of premises and creation of more buildings to fill the “gap”. A multi-disciplined planning approach could explore other non-technical aspects of the future campus, including the social and emotional characteristics of spaces, and the inter-relationships between existing or proposed spaces and an optimal learning environment. Interventions could be set out as a matrix of improvements, which aim to provide a richness of quality of the environment on campus, which extends beyond physical change.
As a starting point for re-evaluation, quality must be seen as just as important as quantity. This means that the “quality” of the desired environment needs to be defined and agreed upfront. One method for definition of this “quality” could arise through broad participation in the HappiMaps process, and careful analysis of responses. Campus design & planning may be directly informed by the accumulated inputs from HappiMaps. Analysis of the responses and posts should be undertaken within an inclusive game-playing and role-playing process, in which the responsibility for filtering, evaluation, summarisation and decision-making is shared across many disciplines.
The suggested re-evaluation process can be predicated on development of a campus vision and planning protocol. An important component of the protocol would include agreement that the quality of existing spaces, places and buildings should first be improved or reinforced. Plans could be based on responses drawn from the HappiMaps records, and with reference to the identified principles for happy spaces which are listed in
The most recent campus masterplan has followed the standard process, with emphasis on technical analysis. The plan does acknowledge the need for improvements to existing facilities, is based on thorough analysis, and addresses the identified gaps and needs included in the brief. It is a fully competent example of this planning methodology. The outcomes are somewhat predictable, but the process may not have taken sufficient account of sentiments on the ground, and specific characteristics of places and spaces about which students and other users have strong opinions and attachments. Some of the decisions informing the plan may therefore have unintended and unforeseen consequences.
Technical analysis of the campus has been carefully carried out and is well presented in a comprehensive and extensively illustrated Campus Masterplan. The plan emphasises the intention to more effectively join up the various components which make up a unified campus, and sets a direction for expansion.
Any review procedure of the existing campus masterplan would need to be conducted over a reasonable period, and with inputs from multiple stakeholders, including the authors of the existing plan.
UFC@DUT ~ LABORATORY : zen, otherwhere & the art of space design 18
A review of the latest existing masterplan may well reinforce most of its elements. The technological and design-driven approach provides an excellent starting point for a new look at the campus future through a more people-centred lens. The classic view will be enriched through overlay of additional inputs from multiple stakeholders.
The HappiMaps reports to date provide a snapshot of prevailing sentiments and responses; but this is indicative of a relatively small sample of students. Other stakeholders need to be encouraged to participate and log reports on a continuous basis. This requires an ongoing communications process, and buy-in from DUT management as well as others on campus.
DUT HAPPIMAPS : SAMPLE
A sample of responses received through the initial processes is illustrated on the map above. Each round sticker is marked with a unique number, which is recorded in the crowd-map against the report.
Drilling down to the detailed reports enables a reasonable depth of information to be gathered, which can be used to further analyse conditions at particular parts of the campus. Specific questions could be loaded onto the HappiMaps system from time to time, to test various options, or find out more about specific spaces.
Examples of the reports posted are contained in Appendix D. Analysis of the responses does not fall within the scope of the current exercise and study.
A typical graphic analysis of responses may seek to aggregate particular responses within specific areas at a particular time.
Any of these dimensions may be applied or moderated, so that clear pictures of the responses of affected people can be recorded and applied within the group planning process which should follow.
The Happitecture Study has provided useful ideas, and pilots a process which deserves further application and experimentation. The HappiMaps tool is in its infancy. A concerted effort is required in order to encourage more students, staff and affected people to think about the spaces they use, and to contribute to a better informed future plan.
Findings can be applied beyond the university as laboratory. Similar approaches to inter-disciplinary and people- centred planning, using simple reporting methods, apply equally to city planning, urban design as a discipline, and architecture.
Further research and analysis is required into the potential for game-playing and role-playing in planning, using the electronic records provided through HappiMaps as a useful starting point.
Dr Bev Edkins for partnership, support and assistance with ideas and the vagaries of reporting formats.
Dr Kira Irwin, Dr Monique Marks and the UFC Team for continual encouragement and suggestions and help.
Dr Alan Khan and the DUT Communications Team.
Brian o’Leary for early help with concepts, ideas and access to surveys.
Abigail Knox for her collaboration and enthusiasm, particularly during the HappiSpace Event.
The UFC Blue Skies Team as a whole for initiating, participating and supporting the process.
Dylan McGarry for sharing his experience, and assistance during the HappiSpace Event.
All contributors to the UFC@DUT Seminar Series 2015, from whom inspiration has been gleaned, and ideas harvested, including Vaughn Sadie, Neil Coppen, Tyler Spencer (uShahidi), and Tinus Kruger.
The Seven HappiStudents, for their readiness to accept the ramblings of an OWM and to share in outrageous concepts and ideas, adding creativity, innovation, knowledge and skill to the many conversations and debates:
Euridice Helena Lutucuta Mxolisi Hlongwa
Thobani Ndlovu Thashalen Naidoo
“Formulating “Happitecture” as a discipline which guides development of quality space and buildings.”
“Happiness is, unarguably, a universal value that binds the rich and the poor, the developed and the developing and articulates the ultimate purpose of life. It is about making true societal progress in ways that are meaningful, joyful and lasting.”
Architecture for a Sustainable and Happy Society. KEYNOTE ADDRESS BY THE HON’BLE JIGMI Y THINLEY, PRIME MINISTER OF BHUTAN, AT THE CONFERENCE OF THE XXIV WORLD CONGRESS OF ARCHITECTURE IN TOKYO, JAPAN. 28th September, 2011.
“Architects are at the heart of what makes and interprets human experience. They are the ultimate narrators of human story. And we know that man’s story is one of change, of hope, dreams, of destruction and of renewal. But of late, the changes that we are experiencing are more about the unfortunate result of our callous and foolish actions. Our dogged pursuit of change for the better through material wealth at any cost has brought the world to a state when its own survival has become an issue. By striving for continuous economic growth to satisfy our insatiable hunger for ever more, we have destroyed much of the natural life support system and what remains may not last very long at this pace.”
“It is almost always the grand structures and edifices that withstand the ravishes of time and the elements or their remnants that tell us the stories of great civilizations of the past. These are the works of great architects whose columns, cornices and walls are often embellished with artistic wonders. They seldom fail to cause awe and reverence.”
“We are heading for an ecological disaster from which none may recover. Socially, we are disintegrating. We are failing to live together as family, friends and community and as one kind. Cities and buildings have become places that make strangers of even the closest neighbours;”
“On the political and security front, the world continues to fragment into dangerous entities with many holding destructive powers of the kind that even the largest of armies of the past would never dream possible.”
“Democracy is the watch- word today. But even as democracy flourishes in form and by declaration, more people are helpless against the brutality of tyrants and corrupt governments than in the recent past. What sadly flourishes in truth is inequality, deprivation and conflict. Even in so called mature democracies, one cannot find inspiration. Good governance is rare.”
“All these are happening because of our pursuit of material prosperity – because we think that development is all about GDP/GNP growth. The irony is that in the past seven decades that we have sought economic growth with little concern for ecological, social and other costs, little or no additional wealth has in fact, been created. Much of what we think we have is illusory - nothing durable and least dependable in troubled times.”
“We need to change. We need to change the architecture of human society and its economy. We desperately need to alter our way of life and rethink our values. But going backward is not an option while we cannot move forward along the same path. We need to take possession of our intelligence and use it to find a way out and forward rather than accept the doom that awaits us along with all else that the fragile earth holds and sustains.”
“Happiness is, unarguably, a universal value that binds the rich and the poor, the developed and the developing and articulates the ultimate purpose of life. It is about making true societal progress in ways that are meaningful, joyful and lasting.”
“GNH .... is based on the belief that development must serve a purpose rather than be an endless process for continued economic growth that simply cannot be sustained by a world with limited natural resources within a delicate eco-system. As a development paradigm, it is founded on the belief that happiness is the state of being that every individual or society seeks, and that the purpose of development must, therefore, be to create conditions that enable its pursuit.”
“Material prosperity must not come at the cost of spiritual impoverishment.”
HAPPINESS AND WELLBEING
Psychological responses to spaces
For mental and physical wellbeing, we need to look at the intersection between HEALTH, COMFORT & HAPPINESS.
Well-being : “feeling good and functioning well”
Health can be measured through symptoms
Comfort is about the surroundings or physical environment (satisfaction) Happiness is about EMOTIONS and so is MAINLY SUBJECTIVE Emphasis changes from quantitative to qualitative.
FIVE KEY PHYSICAL DESIGN CHARACTERISTICS CONTRIBUTING TO WELL-BEING AND POSITIVE MENTAL HEALTH:
(Aked,, J., Thompson, S., Marks, N., & Cordon, C., (2008). Five ways to well-being: The Evidence, London: New Economic Foundation.)
“... a sufficient quantity and quality of diverse environmental, social and physical resources can influence human cognition, which, in turn, can increase the healthy behaviours of the wider population.”
RULES OF THUMB FOR HEALTHY DESIGN, BASED ON THE FIVE CHARACTERISTICS :
Allowing users control over their environment
Reduce reliance on cars - encourage walking
Variety of hard and soft landscapes, for passive (quiet) or active use Bio-diverse environment
Multiple use of space
Proximity to Nature
Degrees of screening
Views of activity
Paths which require energy - slopes, stairs, obstacles
Rewards for Movement
Enable food preparation and eating as a social activity Local food production/ urban agriculture
views of the sky
personal control on indoor light quality and quantity Natural solar radiation in winter
Natural breezes and airflow in summer
Deep Shade, dappled sun, full sunlight options Warm and cool surfaces
Night cooling systems for daytime coolth
Daytime warming for night warmth
Local Climatic Design
Quiet places for contemplation, learning, thinking and studying Acoustic separations
Distance separation of loud and quiet areas Attenuation of noise sources
Spaces where noise can be welcomed Happy noises ?
Psychology of colour (red enhances detail-oriented tasks; blue supports creativity, etc) Psychology of space enclosure (low caves for focus, versus open plains for abstract thinking) Psychology of form and shape (curvilinear beauty versus rectilinear, jagged discord)
“...one of the opportunities for architecture is that , through the design of form, space and materiality, it can order our relationships with each other and our environment by creating interactive settings.... It can do this ... to improve our sense of well-being, and enrich our lives...”. Our well-being (“happiness”?) is intimately linked to moments of delight. A successful (space) is one where there is an accumulation of many moments of delight...”
Extracted and summarised from:
"ARCHITECTURE FOR WELLBEING AND HEALTH” : KOEN STEEMERS (University of Cambridge) DAYLIGHT AND ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE, VELUX GROUP, SPRING 2015
PRESENTATION AT UNIVERSITY TRES ROMA
SPAZZIO PUBLICO BIENNALE - AUGUST 2015
Happitecture suggests a more creative philosophical methodology for urban planning, urban design and city architecture in South Africa. This new approach draws from an inclusive, people centred, cultural, emotional, intuitive, mythological and metaphysical approach, to shape and fashion shared public places which make people HAPPY.
We seem to do our best to exclude emotional and metaphysical aspects from our design and decision-making processes when it comes to space design. We do not sufficiently involve ordinary people in the decision making processes for development and regeneration of their spaces.
The commercially driven design professions have become increasingly more technical and scientific, and so much more remote from core human emotions, and so we lose touch with people and their individual cultures, legacy and heritage, which should underpin design decisions. A new way needs to be inclusive of classical and romantic approaches to design, but must look beyond, and find the otherwhere space in between.
So we need to immerse ourselves in a variety of stimuli, including pictures, sculptures, stories, dance and mythologies, to find that dream world between conscious and unconscious- that place which includes classical and romantic notions, but goes beyond.... That place we call OTHERWHERE. This is the dimension described by Persig in his classic books from the seventies, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and Lila; that place we all inhabit or accommodate in our intuition and our individual genius.
At a recent conference at University Tres Roma, which was a component of the Spazzio Publico Biennale, the concept of “Happitecture in the context of “Happiness in Public Space” was floated. This elicited comments from many delegates, from differing professional disciplines, including amongst the Planners, Urbanists, and Architects, a Psychologist, a Sociologist, a Waste Engineer and a Cell Biologist:
FIVE REFERENCES AND INFLUENCES
SAMPLES OF HAPPIMAP REPORTS AS AT OCTOBER 2015