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Spatial openness as a practical metric for evaluating built-up environments

  • Computer Science
  • Design
  • Mathematics


This paper reports on a primary metric tool developed in a collaboration between an architecture researcher and a computer science researcher. The development of this tool emerged from the concept that the spatial openness (SO) -- the volume of free space measured from all possible observation points -- is an important quality indicator of alternative spatial configurations within given constraints; this concept is based on the idea that the geometry and morphology of the built-up environment influence perception. Previous work showed that comparative SO measurements in alternative spatial configurations are correlated with the comparative perceived density, and in particular that a higher value of SO indicates a lower perceived density. We present a feasible 3D computational method for measuring SO and demonstrate its potential use in the design process. The SO metric is a step towards the development of quantitative comparative evaluation of building shapes and spatial configurations related to the 3D observation of open space.

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