Spatial Enclosure/Sense of Place is Appealing. But Why??
I was hoping someone might be to answer a question that has been lingering in my head. Why do people find places with good spatial enclosure appealing and enjoyable?
I understand that buildings/trees help define and frame the public realm and that 1:3 ratio creates an environment where the human eye sees more building in their peripheral than horizon and that makes you feel like you are in an ‘outdoor room'.
So what is it that when buildings and/or trees frame the public realm it is so universally appealing? I understand that these appealing places also have buildings that engage the street, active street level uses, prominent windows/doors, and other urban design features that contribute to a pleasant environment. So why is it when these design features are combined with a well-defined public realm it is so appealing or enjoyable.
Your average person doesn't walk through Savannah or Paris and think to themselves what lovely spatial enclosure, but generally everyone loves to walk and spend time in these places.
It's got to be something biological, something hardwired into our brains.
Maybe the easiest way to answer this is by explaining why people do not like public realms that lack good spatial enclosure, i.e placeless. I know that people find this environment unappealing, but what happens psychologically...do people feel unsecure or vulnerable?
I'm hoping someone out there might be able to explain the universal psychological or biological reaction people have in places with good spatial enclosure and places that don't have spatial enclosure. I want to be able to explain to the general public or commissioners on why well-defined public realms makes people happy.
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