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The PlaceConcept Methodology: A Technique to Investigate Place-Based Emotions

Sally Augustin

Human emotional responses to places are often intuitive and difficult to vocalize, but people only thrive in spaces that meet their emotional needs. The PlaceConcept methodology, which is firmly rooted in psychology’s phenomenological tradition, comprehensively elicits user (or potential user) emotion-based assessments of existing and proposed spaces. It captures emotion and design related information important for the creation of spaces using a forced choice, image-based projective online tool. This technique differs from other image-based methodologies because it includes not only stimuli to measure general emotional response, but also items to assess place design criteria that influence emotional response to space (territoriality, sensory richness, privacy, restoration level, level of control, prospect and refuge, interpersonal density, and personal space). The tool has been utilized in both commercial and residential applications and found to be useful for understanding emotional response to places and for developing profiles of spaces that are immediately applicable.


environment, image, online survey