Preference and visual texture as a measure of performance : articulating the principles of biophilia

Cooper, Jon and Kropf, Karl and Oskrochi, Gholamreza; (2022) Preference and visual texture as a measure of performance : articulating the principles of biophilia. In: Annual Conference Proceedings of the XXVIII International Seminar on Urban Form. University of Strathclyde Publishing, Glasgow, pp. 443-450. ISBN 9781914241161

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There is growing evidence showing contact with nature has benefits for mental and physical health. Within the design community, evidence has been encapsulated in the concept of biophilic design. The underlying principle is that humans have evolved in nature and therefore share 'an innate love of contact with other living organisms' (Wilson 2017). , there are however a number of philosophical, ethical and practical issues that arise with the application of the 'biophilic hypothesis' in urban and architectural design. This paper reports on research that expands on these issues, centred on the computational method of visual texture analysis as developed by one of the authors (Cooper). The output of the method is the generation of a numerical measure, visual texture level, drawing on fractal geometry, combined with the identification of texture types. Looking at the results of a number of investigations and applications, the paper suggests the combination of texture level and texture type can provide an effective link between people's preferences and different types of urban tissue. Applications include the identification of character areas for urban design coding and preference filtering for property search. The paper concludes by reflecting on the potential for visual texture analysis to complement and improve on traditional methods of urban morphological and tissue analysis and provide a basis for extending and articulating the principles of biophilia.

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