Thesis Info

Thesis Title
Exploring the experience in everyday pedestrian routes
Evdoxia Christina Malisianou
2nd Author
3rd Author
Number of Pages
Delft University of Technology
Thesis Supervisor
Pieter Jan Stappers
Supervisor e-mail
Other Supervisor(s)
Caroline Hummels
Language(s) of Thesis
Department / Discipline
Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering
Languages Familiar to Author
English, Greek, Italian
URL where full thesis can be found
environmental psychology, user experience design, Interaction design in public spaces
Abstract: 200-500 words
Introduction In order to reach their daily destinations many people walk along the same pedestrian paths. Perhaps, at first, they gave this daily 'journey' their whole attention, but after a while they don't actively notice it unless something out of the ordinary interrupts it (Wrights & Sites, 1997). With time this everyday path can become over-familiar, an almost invisible part of the routine, where individuals walk around isolated in their own thoughts, trying to separate themselves from surrounding noises and visual information. Many people make use of these ‘in between’ moments of isolation for daydreaming, whereas others try to find ways of making them less 'boring'. What causes these changes in people’s behaviour towards their surroundings? From studies of Environmental Psychology¹ it is a proven fact that the environment, and therefore environmental stimulation, has an essential impact on people's psychology (De Young, R., 1999). Is this isolation from the immediate environment a conscious choice or is it a natural consequence? Passing environments The environment that this project focused on is found in the urban pedestrian paths, along which people move daily and the spaces comprised by these daily routes. These were defined as the pedestrians’ passing environments. Walking is a quite ancient condition of perception and thinking. It is not only movement through an environment as an arrangement of objects. That movement constitutes a proper environment to which people can relate by various senses. Motion is a basic part of people’s everyday life and determines their perception and appropriation of environmental features, landscape appreciation, and social participation (Winkler J., 2002). However, there are times when eventually daily paths become over-familiar through overuse and are moulded into stereotypes, such as 'dull', 'annoying', 'frightening', 'stressful', to such an extent that they lose most dynamic aspects when looked at in retrospective. Routinized pedestrians Many people enjoy walking as a leisure activity. A solitary walk to think, or in pairs to talk, can be very relaxing. Furthermore, there are times when people have no other option, other than walking, in order to arrive on time to their daily destinations (due to traffic jams, closed metro stations, etc). In all cases they are considered to be pedestrians. However, this project didn’t deal with the entire crowd of pedestrians². The focus was on the specific group of pedestrians for whom, walking daily from an origin point (ex, house) to a destination point (ex, work), has already become a part of their routine. Throughout this report, these people will be referred as routinized pedestrians. Therefore, routinized pedestrians are people who walk along the same path on a daily basis. Many routinized pedestrians move along busy, public environments which are usually overloaded with visual information and sound pollution, others in more quiet environments. Accordingly, the experience can differ from one routinized pedestrian to another depending on many variables. These variables were to be explored. Project's goal The project's goal was to design an interaction in order to enhance the routinized pedestrians' experience in their daily passing environments as well as to research this interaction’s effects by means of experiential prototypes placed along their route. Approach In order to reach the goal a 'research through and for design' method was followed. Accordingly, this project consisted of both research and design, carried out so as to constantly support each other. The research was conducted 1) first by means of literature and 2) later through a number of routinized pedestrians' experiences. Using the information obtained through the research, many ideas were generated, concepts were created and a final design was further developed into a set of experiential prototypes. Finally, using these prototypes, a user experience testing