Värdering av stadsmiljöer

Lena Steffner

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)

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Doctoral thesis - Author: Lena Steffner
Evaluation of urban environments, a method to measure experience

The doctoral thesis builds on the licentiate thesis, Aesthetic evaluation of urban environments – a method using the public’s affective appraisals and experiences (2004). The central problem in the work is that experts and the public often differ in their evaluation of urban environments. The public tend to evaluate the environment by affective appraisals and their own experiences of how the environment functions. The experts tend to evaluate the environment according to current discourse in their professions.
The purpose of this thesis is to develop a method that measure experience of urban environment and thus creates bases for communication between inhabitants and experts on common goals for city planning in a democratic process. The method is a systematic way of describing urban characters and measuring how they are experienced through questionnaires. The questionnaire is formed primarily in tradition of research by Jack Nasar and James Russell. The measuring is done by asking the participants of their usually experiences of places familiar to them, shown on photos in the questionnaire. The results are described in diagrams of how many percent of the participants experience the environment as exciting, pleasant and safe or its opposites; boring, unpleasant and unsafe. The circle diagrams are made after James Russell’s theories of human core affect. The participants are also asked to identify specific factors that have had influence on their experience of the environment. Thirty different factors have been identified altogether. A staple diagram describes an evaluation of these factors in the investigated area. The staple diagram is organized by the most positively evaluated factor to facilitate reading strengths and weaknesses of the urban investigated environment to be considered in future planning.
The method depends on descriptions of the variety of urban characters in a city to give the background of what are to be measured. Different ways of describing urban character are discussed in the thesis. A specific systematic approach of describing urban character is suggested and applied for the three urban areas with different characters that are investigated in the thesis. Areas with different urban characters have been chosen for the thesis so that they together with the licentiate work covers the medieval city with wooden houses, the industrial city built in a grid pattern with stone houses, the garden city, the function divided city and the postmodern city. The result of the investigation shows that the examples of medieval, the industrial city in a grid pattern and the garden city are valued as more satisfying to the public than the function divided and postmodern urban characters.
The results have been validated by a group of participants and experts. The validation also includes how students at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), in Stockholm have tested the method. The result of the validation indicates support for the hypothesis that a certain amount of consensus can be expected in matters of affective appraisal of urban character.
The thesis is concluded with a discussion on the method including biases and suggestions for improvements as well as a reasoning of appropriate situations for using the method.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Faculty of Engineering, LTH
  • Laike, Thorbjörn, Supervisor
Award date2009 Sep 18
Print ISBNs978-91-7740-098-1
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

Defence details

Date: 2009-09-18
Time: 09:00
Place: Room B, Arkitekturskolan, Sölvegatan 24, Lund University Faculty of Engineering

External reviewer(s)

Name: Ranhagen, Ulf
Title: Adj professor
Affiliation: Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan, Stockholm


The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015.
The record was previously connected to the following departments: Faculty of Engineering, LTH at Lund University (000006000), Urban planning (011036006)

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Engineering and Technology


  • urban environments
  • evaluation
  • measure
  • method


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