Institute of Environmental Quality

San Francisco, CA, United States

Institute of Environmental Quality

San Francisco, CA, United States
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Stamps A.E.,Institute of Environmental Quality
Environment and Behavior | Year: 2012

This article reports 10 findings from five experiments, with 124 participants and 96 environments, on how atmospheric permeability mediates perceived enclosure. Enclosure is important because it influences safety, and safety may be dependent on atmospheric permeability. Atmospheric permeability was expressed as clear air or fog. Overall, fog made places seem more open. Numerical guidance is provided to assist future work in this line of inquiry. © The Author(s) 2012.


Stamps III A.E.,Institute of Environmental Quality
Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design | Year: 2012

A preceding paper suggested that the information content of buildings could be calculated by using sets of LEGO ® as a language and then applying the entropy of that language to Lego models of buildings. A competing hypothesis is that the information content of buildings can be calculated based only on the parts of the buildings. An empirical experiment with Lego models indicated that use of a language is neither necessary nor sufficient for calculating information content of buildings. Counting numbers of different parts of the buildings works much better. © 2012 Pion Ltd and its Licensors.


Stamps III A.E.,Institute of Environmental Quality
Environment and Behavior | Year: 2013

This article reports seven new, original findings, based on 4 experiments, 56 environmental scenes, and 71 participants, on how the factors of area over which one could walk (boundary height, boundary porosity, and boundary proximity) influence perceived spaciousness or enclosure. Perceived spaciousness was most strongly related by the area over which one could walk. Enclosure was most strongly related to boundary height. Proximate boundaries had stronger effects on perceived enclosure than did distal boundaries. Results were highly reproducible over vastly different environmental venues, indicating that the research protocols worked very well. © The Author(s) 2012.


Stamps A.E.,Institute of Environmental Quality
Environment and Behavior | Year: 2010

This article suggests that the ranges through which people can see through or move through environments are extremely important.The label corresponding to this theory is permeability theory. Eight hypotheses are generated from permeability theory using two responses (perceived enclosure and perceived spaciousness) and four properties of the physical environment (permeability of boundary, amount of light, horizontal area within a boundary, and boundary depth). Empirical data from 4 experiments, 54 environments, and 130 participants indicate that permeability theory correctly predicted 6 a priori hypotheses and also correctly predicted that the remaining 2 hypotheses would have effect sizes too small to detect. The main determinants of judged enclosure or spaciousness are visual permeability of the boundary, amount of light, and horizontal area. Numerical guidance is provided to assist future research. © 2010 SAGE Publications.


Stamps III A.E.,Institute of Environmental Quality
Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design | Year: 2010

This paper addresses the question of how to create environments that people will want to explore. Four environmental properties (slines, entropy, floor area, and shape) were tested for exploration time in three experiments that included thirty-eight virtual environments and sixty participants. Slines had the strongest effect on exploration time (r = 0.36), followed by entropy (r = 0.34). Floor area and shape had much smaller effects on exploration time (r = 0.10 and r = 0.09, respectively). Possibilities for future research are discussed. © 2010 Pion Ltd and its Licensors.


Stamps III A.E.,Institute of Environmental Quality
Environment and Behavior | Year: 2011

This article reports findings from three experiments, covering 46 environments and 66 participants, on how strongly four properties of the physical environment influence perceived spaciousness.The properties were horizontal area, boundary height, elongation, and color. Ten original findings were reported. Overall, horizontal area had the strongest effect on perceived spaciousness (r =. 60; more floor area increases perceived spaciousness), followed by height (r = -.22; lower boundaries increase perceived spaciousness). The effect of color on perceived spaciousness, when amount of light is controlled, was much smaller (r =. 14). Findings for elongation were different for concave and convex spaces (r's of -.22 and +.26). Quantitative syntheses of the current work with previous work are presented, as is numerical guidance for cost-effective future work. © 2011 SAGE Publications.


PubMed | Institute of Environmental Quality
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Perceptual and motor skills | Year: 2013

Permeability theory suggests that safety in environments depends on how far and how easily one can perceive or move through environments. Parts of environments that limit perception or retard locomotion elicit impressions of being enclosed, so properties of environments that influence perceived enclosure are important in permeability theory. One prediction of permeability theory is that the more permeable the boundary, the less enclosed the region within that boundary will seem to be. Another prediction is that boundary depth will have little influence on perceived enclosure. These predictions were tested in the venue of Greek temples. 30 participants were tested (14 men, 16 women; M age = 40 yr.), who rated perceived enclosure for 18 stimuli. The stimuli were constructed using a virtual scene from the Tholos in Delphi with the positions of the columns forming the boundaries. The boundaries were designed to have different levels of permeability and depth. Data were analyzed in terms of effect sizes and focused comparisons. Results indicated that perceived enclosure was most strongly influenced by the visual permeability of the boundary, while depth of boundary had a much smaller effect on perceived enclosure.


PubMed | Institute of Environmental Quality
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Perceptual and motor skills | Year: 2012

It has previously been shown that distance mitigates the extent to which visual cues convey perceived threat. It was hypothesized that the visual cues of eye contact, sex, facial expression, and posture would all convey threat. It was further hypothesized that the effects of visual cues on the perception of threat would decrease with distance, but the extent of those decreases was unknown. In the present study, participants were exposed to images of people situated in a physical venue. The images were created to exhibit combinations of the levels of the four visual cues (yes or no for eye contact, male or female for sex, hostile or benign for facial expression, and hostile or benign for posture). Participants were given an opportunity to record how threatening the images of the people seemed to be. The results supported all a priori hypotheses regarding the effects of the visual cues. The results also generated estimates of the distances at which those visual cues ceased to convey threat.


PubMed | Institute of Environmental Quality
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Perceptual and motor skills | Year: 2012

The permeability theory of environmental design predicts that perceived enclosure will be more strongly related to boundary properties such as height as opposed to the size of a horizontal area within a boundary. An experiment on perceived enclosure, provided by 24 participants on 12 spaces in a park, indicated that enclosure correlated at .85 with boundary height and -.60 with horizontal area. These results were as predicted by permeability theory.


PubMed | Institute of Environmental Quality
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Perceptual and motor skills | Year: 2012

An experiment is reported based on 12 streetscapes and 25 participants on how five spatial/temporal factors influenced aesthetic judgments about ordinary streets. Overall, aesthetic judgments were more strongly related to the temporal variables of total time, stationary time, and decision time rather than the spatial variables of path length or number of turns made to obtain different views. It is suggested that fancy simulations or detailed scrutiny are probably not needed to evaluate streetscapes as seen by people in the street.

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