JBU III (2013) 1-2. Part B. ISB Summer School in Neuroergonomics and Urban Placemaking Students’ notes

Community youth engagement as an acupuncture needle for placemaking.
Open space revitalization in Artena, Rome

Inge De Boer, deboeringe@gmail.com
Francesca Rogers, frarogers@gmail.com
Catherine Ryan, catie@terrapinbg.com

Open space revitalization in Artena had the aim of introducing a design element that would serve as a catalyst for future interventions by the local community. As ISB students of Neuroergonomics and Urban Placemaking, we planned to achieve this through two tools and an acupuncture ‘needle’. The intent was in establishing a space that would appeal to the greater community and encourage interaction, followed by conceiving of an event, a small intervention that would awaken the potential of the space to the people of Artena; and perpetuated by the presence of a mobile kiosk that could be used for supporting any number of community activities.
The well-intended project was limited by time, materials and terrain, unexpectedly leading to a more powerful intervention than what was originally envisioned. Girls of fourteen, and of their own accord, took ownership of the revitalization effort to make the open space into a place for social interaction and activity.

Key words: Artena, urban acupuncture, placemaking, open space revitalization, youth engagement.

Sound as an acupuncture needle of placemaking.
Soundscape design in Artena, Rome

Jang Liu, jiang.liu@uni-rostock.de
Nissa Shahid, nissa.shahid@outlook.com

The paper presents a project based on the theories of Urban acupuncture and Placemaking, incorporated with the concept of Soundscape. The intention of this project was to move away from traditional placemaking strategies that usually result in visible improvement of the space. The aural environment, i.e., the soundscape in Artena was designed by introducing a specific sound into the local soundscape, the bell rings along with the mules’ movement. The bell ring was recognized as not only a pleasant sound that could change the atmosphere in the village, but also as an information source, a local seniors’ social care media. The bell ring also has the potential to become a soundmark of Artena, which could become incorporated in the cultural identity. A design concept for the bell of Artena was also proposed.

Keywords: Placemaking, urban acupuncture, sound, soundscape, soundmark, bell ring, mule, Artena.

Life bearing rocks

Eleni Ploumidi, eleniploum@hotmail.com
Ottavia Molatore, otty88@msn.com

Landed in the city of Artena for the International Society of Bioburanism’s summer school, we were immediately challenged to understand its environment at a level that would permit us to recognize not only its individual parts, but more importantly, how these parts are organized into a pattern (Lynch, 1960) which forms Artena’s unique identity. Following the Biourbanism approach, we aimed to decipher and point out the existing patterns and their interrelations. The project ‘Life Bearing Rocks’, focuses on the sequence of patterns that are manifested in the city’s rock cracks, bringing life in through the complexity of emerging buildings, movement flows, vegetation, and people. Using the tool of biourban acupuncture (Casagrande, 2013) we tried to give prominence to the wholeness that nature creates in the body of Artena through its discreet presence in the rocks’ cracks, by planting and cleaning the soil of small nodal points.

Key words: Biourbanism, biourban acupuncture, patterns, rock cracks.

Green reminiscence

Aggeliki Lymperopoulou, gellaki@hotmail.com

The theory of Biourbanism considers the urban body as a complex living organism, since it represents humans’ living environment. Thus, combined with the designing tool of Urban Acupuncture that pinpoints areas in need of repair (Casagrande, 2013), it is able to relieve stress through the living space, in the human species. Using these theories, the “green reminiscence” project held in an historical area of Artena’s location, brings in a symbol in order to stimulate the habitants. Using local materials and local patterns, it creates everlasting fractals that make the dwellers familiar with the Gaia Hypothesis, the humans’ subconscious connection with Earth, which exists under each and every man-made action.

Key words: Biourbanism, Urban Acupuncture, Gaia Hypothesis, local pattern, fractal, self-similarity

The Artena’s “Case Spallate”

Dilara Akülke, dilaraakulke@gmail.com
Esra Demirel, esrademirel3@hotmail.com
Christian Kyle Jordan Perry, PerryKJ@alfredstate.edu

The historical identity of Artena has strong texture and natural spaces that give the town a strong potentiality for social life. Nevertheless the town lacks an effective, recreation area. We identified an unlinked free space used as a weak green garbage area. Our aim is returning that potential area into life, by linking it to a green recreational function, i.e. by making it a meeting and vista point.

Key words: potential, strong texture, stone, link, meeting point, unique, turn into alive place, vista point

Rethinking “Case Spallate”

Sira Savoldi, sira@renatosavoldi.191.it

During the Summer School in Artena, one of the proposed exercises was about resetting the so-called “Case spallate” – an area below the small Piazza Don Amedeo Vitelli, consisting of two terraces without access from the street. This empty urban space is the result of war bombing, and it is underutilized and neglected until now.
Several proposals were made, in order of summarizing wishes and demands of the population, but they have been gradually dropped during the construction. Trying to overcome the difficulties of the place and to emphasize its potentialities was one thing on paper. On the other hand, going on the field revealed the “essence of the place”, who prevailed over the will of designers. For example, benches for admiring the view were added, which were not previously thought of before our survey. Upon project completion some structures were created: an access path, a “waterway” to collect meteoric waters, a space which can work as a water pool or an entertainment area, according to the time of year.
In the final phase of the work, which lasted a couple of days, the population began to take interest in the re-qualified space, and to reclaim it.

Key words: redevelopment, re-evaluation, meeting place, belvedere, events, participation of the population, biourban acupuncture.

Uncovering social needs and values in Artena, Rome
A community values mapping approach

Emily Lorance Rall, e.rall@tum.de
Sira Savoldi, sira@renatosavoldi.191.it

The following paper describes a community values mapping approach designed to explore social needs and values as well as hotspots of activity in the small village of Artena, Italy. The research was conducted during the course of the 2013 Biourbanism Summer School, and designed to form the socio-cultural context for small intervention projects conceived as part of a revitalization strategy for the town. Short semi-structured interviews were carried out with a random sample of 26 residents of the town using paper-based maps to locate important meeting areas and walking routes, places of meaning, and places of opportunity. The research indicated that the most activity-rich and meaningful areas of town lie on its outer edges, whereas areas most needing improvement are concentrated in the middle of town, particularly in bombed out vacant lots. The community values mapping approach used proved to be a useful tool for highlighting important elements of the social context of a community as well as for providing a voice to community residents who are frustrated at the lack of municipal attention to town concerns. The potential application of the tool as an aspect of biourbanism research and design are highlighted.

Key words: community values mapping; participatory planning; biophilic design, urban revitalization, biourbanism, urban planning, human well-being, mental mapping


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Eleni Tracada
University of Derby (UK)
Faculty of Arts, Design and Technology
Head of Built Environment Research Group


Once again I should like to thank all authors who contributed to the publication of this current issue of the Journal of Biourbanism. I should like also to express my gratitude to all our colleagues and academics who accepted to review all papers submitted; they also offered guidance and invaluable feedback to all authors. And of course my appreciation to all our colleagues and sub-editors’ hard work during the last few months is immense; we continue to support all authors as better as we can and especially we welcome new researchers’ efforts, as they offer fresh ideas and topics to the academic world. In fact also in this issue we have accepted research papers, which do not only offer innovative interpretation of theories and practices, but also assess research findings and furthermore recommend new technical methods to improve urban services and infrastructure.

As usual distinguished authors have submitted further research findings from their current projects and I believe that all us together, either established or fresh thinkers are striving to keep our impetus high and honour research accomplishments cherished by Biourbanism principles and practices. And once again I believe that fruitful discussions and debate will emerge and provoke more inquisitions on current issues and problems related to the social and economic growth of communities struggling to recover through the difficult years of turmoil worldwide; urban sprawl often does not seem to respond to what human beings need to see as dwellings and urban facilities. Services and infrastructures often do not follow ordered patterns and decisions are made without consultation with local communities with the result of getting them more and more frustrated and deterred from participatory planning and design of their cities and preservation practices safeguarding the natural resources and environment.

Unquestionably some researchers and authors are still finding vital support to their work by being sustained through Christopher Alexander’s theories and practices; these have been further enhanced by Nikos Salingaros’ epistemological analysis and elucidation in the last few decades. In fact, in his Of architecture, music and brains: Do we live in atonal cities?, Alexandros Lavdas, a Senior Researcher in the Centre for Biomedicine, European Academy in Bolzano, Italy has attempted to argue successfully that the twentieth century has not only reinvented music, but also architectural expression. The author affirms that there are structural parallels between pre-modern and modern music and architecture; he also discusses and offers evidence that neuro-aesthetics depend heavily on tonality and complexity of fractal urban growth. Instead modernism has created tasteless and atonal cities, which often created mental disorders and confusion to the human brain. The author discusses that aesthetics is the result of computation and therefore the existence of this computational function in our brains is biologically so relevant, because “the aesthetic criterion is the result of our ability to detect what is likely to be good for us” and therefore improves and balances our state of mind. The author provides evidence of affinities between music pitches and fractility of the built and unbuilt environments. The author supports the theory that atonal music is not fractal and proves that modern architecture lacks of tone completely; “tonal music, figurative artwork and pre-modern architecture have elements of fractal structure … described by non-Euclidean mathematics”; the sounds carry intelligence which is measured by fractility mainly in harmonious compositions. The author also explains why metaphors about complexity of the city (scientific analogies), which are beloved by designers today, are not the same thing as the actual complexity of cities. The author concludes that neuroscience findings may be equally important to architectural and urban design today; he has also used very relevant sources to be supported throughout this fascinating discourse.

In his An Adaptive Approach to Domestic Design, Bruno Postle discusses the need to design ordinary domestic buildings by use of Pattern Language in order to gain design optimisation. Thus, the author attempts to support the idea that, evolution and mutation in domestic design shows that a Form Language through evolution has developed as Free Software; the results obtained by this software are comparable with historical built environment which followed informal and flexible urbanism and not rectangular and very restrictive grids of master planning. Patterns of informally created cities reveal that these were put in place to suit the day-to-day needs of their citizens; an evolution appears as co-evolution between neighbouring buildings. The author discusses with diligence basic pattern language of ideal domestic design and also provides formulas to measure fitness criteria challenged by human needs against cost of life; he also discusses and explains evolution strategies by possible combinations of typologies seen as crossovers. He provides a series of mathematically supported graphs related to typologies/growth of cities and increase of population. Indeed he provides fine examples of graphs related to a fittest single storey house after 640 generations! This proves that patterns play an everlasting role in urban developments and human life as long as life exists on this planet and beyond.

Three authors, Maria Bostenaru Dan, Diana Aldea Mendes and Thomas Panagopoulos discuss the economic efficiency of earthquake risk mitigation in their Assessing the costs of hazards mitigation in the urban structure. The authors have looked at the way ICT can contribute to organise the information from the building survey to economic computations in modelling and through games. The authors discuss about economic tools to be adopted for disaster reconstruction by considering Building Information Modelling (BIM) and especially Space Syntax and social games techniques; a disaster involves multiple actors and it may be the basis of a new game. The authors explain carefully how modelling reconstruction after disasters follows game technology and is supported by multimedia and appropriate software capable to provide very precise 3D city models for quick and resourceful reconstruction processes and results.

In their A Psychological Assessment of Urban Landscaping of Public Agencies Premises in Jos City, Salaudeen Bayo et al focus on the psychological assessment of urban landscaping practices of public agencies in Jos City, Nigeria. The authors have carried out research by using a specific psychological model of investigation on carefully selected landscape sites of public agencies. The study shows that, in Jos City, there is need for landscape planning policy capable to create awareness of citizens in relation to the appreciation of practices and applications of valuable landscape designs. The adopted methods of landscape design cannot be appreciated by citizens at the moment, because architects do not expand their ideas from the building design to the landscaped surroundings. Thus, psychological reaction may result often very negative towards built and unbuilt spaces in cities, like the case of Jos City.

In a very thought-provoking paper with the title Urban Spatial Structures and their Economical Sustainability, Vladimira Šilhánková from the College of Regional Development in Prague analyses six key types of structures and their financial implications in development by considering construction and maintenance. The study also focuses on technical infrastructure and transport costs and gains in suburban areas in Czech Republic; the author compares economic demands of traditional urban forms, especially blocks of flats, and suburban development and also looks at historical urban fabric integration in new planning. The paper show cases in city centres, middle-class villas areas and ex-Socialist developments of blocks of flats as historical urban context and compares with new sprawl of dwellings, industry and recreation areas in green belt new expansion of cities. The author presents with detail economic demands on the implementation of public facilities in all the areas mentioned above from the regeneration of historical fabric to latest developments of expansion; she also explains in detail predictable prices of Building and Transportation Infrastructure and makes clear that there are clear advantages in latest urban residential developments rather than developments in suburban areas.

And we conclude with two very interesting technology papers, which deal with ventilation improvements in buildings and infrastructural details in street networks. Thus, the authors are discussing the latest technologies available to facilitate life and movement in modern cities. Seong Lee, Xuejun Qian and Steven Garcia from Morgan State University present their paper Analysis of the Integrated Ventilation Systems with Desiccant Wheels for Energy Conservation and IAQ [Indoor Air Quality] improvement in the Commercial Buildings; they argue that, integration ventilation technologies are now demanding to reduce energy use and ensure that IAQ at the same time. The authors have used a variety of available software to produce annual energy simulation results, which show very interesting information of a considerable amount of savings by using integrated systems and latest technology. Another team of authors from the same University discuss on Building a Sustainability Index for Highway Infrastructures: Case Study of Flexible pavements. Stella Obazee-Igbinedion, Manoji Jha and Oludare Owolabi gets us to highway infrastructures which need constant periodical maintenance to retain optimum performance of pavements at times and conditions – several times maintenance has to prevent damages and hazards from freak climate conditions and heavy uses. The authors discuss pavement serviceability by considering sustainability in the processes and especially in their methodology of assessment of the conditions of the pavements.

As it has been explained above, it has been a great pleasure to act as Editor in Chief of this issue as well. I should also like to thank all authors who submitted papers, but did not get the opportunity to be published this time, because of major or minor corrections asked by peer reviewers in the meantime. I am looking forward to receiving these submissions for our next issue and having them published soon as we have in programme to produce two more issues for this year. Our scientific committee and the executive team of the International Society of Biourbanism have published deadlines of submission for the next issues of our Journal of Biourbanism in the official website. Please, keep an eye constantly on this site, in which you will also find more materials published or announcements on the progress of specific important publications relevant to our past, current and future activities. You can also find information about our future events: international workshops, conferences and symposia and also on how you become full member of our thriving community of scholars and academics around the world.

I am always convinced that all issues raised by the papers included in this current issue will continue our fruitful and stimulating discussions, instigating more inquisition and generating new articles and perhaps themes for our Biourbanism conferences and workshops soon. All our members of our committees and, especially our scientific committee, keep encouraging research developments in the discipline and philosophy of Biourbanism worldwide and we shall keep organising events, etc., which constantly enhance international professionalism and relationships in this important discipline. Therefore we wish to encourage all readers and scholars to participate in additional discussions and contribute actively by writing their thoughts and findings in more papers which will populate our next issues of the Journal of Biourbanism and other related publications and especially themed books.

Thank you for considering our continuous peer support efforts. I look forward to receiving your new contributions soon.

My best wishes to all of you.

Of architecture, music and brains: Do we live in atonal cities?

Alexandros A. Lavdas
Senior Researcher, Center for Biomedicine
European Academy Bozen/Bolzano (EURAC), Italy.

The twentieth century has seen the total reinvention of both music and architectural languages. While radically new music composition systems have known a large popularity by composers – less so by the public – they still occupy only a niche, albeit a large one, in the word of composition. On the other hand, modern architecture sought to dominate the landscape completely, and largely succeeded in it, not only by offering a higher profit margin for developers, but mainly by proclaiming the ideological superiority of its approach, based on criteria that were arbitrary and had no scientific foundation – in other words, on dogma.
We discuss here some structural parallels between pre-modern and modern music and architecture, and propose that Alexander’s 15 Properties and Salingaros’ 3 Laws of Architecture that derive from them are the equivalent of the basic laws of tonality and harmony in music. We also propose an experimental setting for further investigating the neurological correlates of forms corresponding – or not – to these laws.

Keywords: Architecture, music, brain, neuro-aesthetics, modernism, fractal, complexity, tonality, syntax.


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An Adaptive Approach to Domestic Design

Free Software developer

This paper discusses the need for an adaptive and iterative process for the design of ordinary domestic buildings that meet human needs. The approach described here is to use Pattern Languages as fitness criteria to guide an iterative design optimisation. To complement this, a Form Language for domestic buildings is proposed that is physically buildable, sufficiently flexible, and suitable for evolution through mutation and crossover. This evolutionary method has been implemented as Free Software, and the results are comparable with historical informally constructed buildings.

Keywords: housing, adaptive architecture, evolution, genetic programming, informal design, Pattern Languages

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Assessing the costs of hazards mitigation in the urban structure

Maria BOSTENARU DAN (Researcher)
Department of Urban and Landscape Design
”Ion Mincu” University of Architecture and Urbanism, Romania

Diana ALDEA MENDES (Assistant professor and researcher)
Departamento de Métodos Quantitativos, ISCTE
Lisbon University Institute, Portugal

Thomas PANAGOPOULOS (Professor)
Research Center on Spatial and Organizational Dynamics
University of Algarve, Portugal


In this paper we look at an issue rarely approached, the economic efficiency of earthquake risk mitigation. The urban scale at which a natural hazard can impact leads to the importance of urban planning strategy in risk management. However, usually natural, engineering, and social sciences deal with it, and the role of architecture and urban planning is neglected. We look at the way ICT can contribute to organize the information from the building survey to economic computations in direct modelling or through games. Also we take into consideration at a rare element, which is the role of landscape planning, through the inclusion of green elements in reconstruction.


Keywords: Green space, Economic efficiency, Games, Information modeling.
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A Psychophysical Assessment of Urban Landscaping of Public Agencies Premises in Jos City

Abdulwaheed Bayonle, SALAUDEEN
Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria, Jos, Nigeria
Lecturer of landscape planning

John Yohanna, DUNG-GWOM
Geography and Planning Department, University of Jos, Nigeria
Professor of urban and regional Planning

The study focused on the Psychophysical assessment of urban landscaping practices of public agencies in Jos City. The City is experiencing rapid infrastructural development by the state and uncontrolled development alike by the people. As a result of this, the natural vegetal cover has diminished rapidly over the years and the choice of plant materials to complement the new structures is not well chosen. This is not unconnected with the inadequate awareness creation by professionals for developers to appreciate the importance of landscape plan and the value of natural vegetation around most developments. The Psychophysical model was employed to assess seventeen carefully selected landscape sites of public agencies; these were given to seventeen purposely-selected participants from the academia and professionals to sort the landscape photographs according to their own preference. The result revealed that, the four most preferred landscape photographs were from federal agencies, while three out of the four least preferred landscape photographs were from state agencies. This is because most of the federal agencies entail landscape plan prior to landscape establishment, unlike the state agencies that according to the study entail no landscape plan prior construction. The study therefore supports the need for landscape planning policy and awareness creation in the city of Jos.

Keywords: Psychophysical, Landscape, Assessment, Practices, Agencies.

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Urban Spatial Structures and their Economical Sustainability

College of Regional Development Prague, Czech Republic

The article analyses the spatial structures of a present-day (Central) European town. Based on the research of professional literature it defines nine basic types, which are further characterised and systemised. The six key types of the spatial structures are then studied from the point of view of their economic demands regarding construction and maintenance. The acquired data are subsequently compared taking into account various aspects and, in addition, the demands on construction and maintenance are examined. The article also deals with the analysis of the infrastructure needs of suburban areas and the evaluation of their economic demands. Another analysis focuses on the new transport and technical infrastructure construction requirements in selected suburban areas in the Czech Republic. Subsequently, an analysis of the outlays regarding the building and operation of infrastructure is presented. The closing part is formed by a comparison of the outlays regarding the building and operation of infrastructure in suburban areas and traditional urban structures.

Keywords: spatial structure, sustainability, technical infrastructure, transportation infrastructure, economical analysis, economical sustainability, expenditures.

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An Analysis of Integrated Ventilation Systems with Desiccant Wheels for Energy Conservation and IAQ Improvement in Commercial Buildings

Seong W. Lee (1), Xuejun Qian, Steven Garcia
Industrial and Systems Engineering Department
School of Engineering, Morgan State University
Baltimore, Maryland 21251,  U. S. A.
(1) seong.lee@morgan.edu


Ventilation systems are critical to heating or cooling spaces in commercial buildings. 2% of one fifth of all the energy produced in the U.S. is consumed by the commercial buildings’ ventilation systems.  However, the existing ventilation systems are needed to improve the energy efficiency and indoor air quality (IAQ) strategy.  The integrated ventilation technologies are demanding to reduce energy use and ensure IAQ and dissemination to market.  The Schaefer Engineering Library at Morgan State University was selected as a demonstration site with integrated ventilation strategies.  Different Software (Design Builder, Trace 700, etc.) and Design of Experiment (DOE) were used to model and analyse the UFAD and overhead variable air volume (VAV) ventilation systems. The annual energy simulation results indicated that integrated systems along with different source technologies could save more than 20% of energy and improve significant amount of IAQ.

Keywords: Ventilation; Overhead Variable Air Volume (OHVAV); Under Floor Air Distribution (UFAD); Desiccant Wheel; Energy Efficient; Indoor Air Quality (IAQ).

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Building a Sustainability Index for Highway Infrastructures: Case Study of Flexible Pavements

Stella O. Obazee-Igbinedion
Center for Advanced Transportation and Infrastructure Engineering Research
Department of Civil Engineering, Morgan State University, USA

Manoj K. Jha
Center for Advanced Transportation and Infrastructure Engineering Research
Department of Civil Engineering, Morgan State University, USA

Oludare Owolabi
Center for Advanced Transportation and Infrastructure Engineering Research
Department of Civil Engineering, Morgan State University, USA


The road network system consists of highway infrastructures which need to be maintained periodically – due to deterioration – in order to increase the life span of the system and provide riding comfort to the travelling public.  Factors that cause pavements to deteriorate are accumulated traffic axle loads, environmental conditions, climate, etc.  Deterioration creates conditions that undermine the performance of pavements.  A literature review indicates that analytical methods have been developed to design different components of pavement performances due to pavement conditions and sustainability.  These models were mostly based on definitions, operation, structural and functional research oriented analysis and they have contributed substantially to the society. However, the integration or correlations of sustainability indices with pavement condition indices were not fully explored. To fully understand and develop the proposed model, the triple sustainability dimensions (environmental, economic and social) which plays a major role in planning for both construction and maintenance of pavements is discussed.  A multi-linear regression analysis (MLRA) is proposed to calculate the sustainability index.  The following four possible characteristics of pavement performance indices for flexible pavements are considered (as independent variables) and analyzed for each section of pavement under consideration: (1) roughness, (2) surface distress, (3) skid resistance index, and (4) structural deflection.  A numerical example using field investigation data is performed to illustrate the developed approach.


Keywords: Flexible Pavements; Sustainability Index; Pavement Condition indices; Multi-Linear Regression Analysis (MLRA) Model; Pavement Performance Evaluation.

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