Revisiting Environment-Behaviour Research in Human-Centred Urban Planning and Design: A Cognitive Study on Berczy Park
The purpose of this paper is to review and discuss Environment-Behaviour Research in Human-Centred Urban Planning and Design. Through conducting this cognitive study, I intend to understand and explain phenomena rather than changing them. The main objectives are to assess the design quality of Berczy Park in Toronto, explore users' interactions with the physical environment in terms of experiences and activities, and explain the underlying interrelationships among design qualities, activities, and experiences in a specific time and space rather than a generalizing study on the totality of this public space. This mixed-method explanatory study is an exploration of Environment-Behaviour research techniques, human-centred urban planning and design principles, and some insights from Cognitive Psychology into the process of human experience. Key findings from this study indicate that the interrelationships among design qualities, activities, and experiences are not unidirectional and studying each in isolation could be misleading. The results suggest that in the case of Berczy Park, successful design of public space can be explained by qualities such as human scale, aesthetics, creative features, high numbers of options for sitting, standing, playing, seeing, mobility, and socializing as well as users reporting high levels of attention, joy, attraction, safety, comfort and satisfaction alongside low levels of noise and stress.