This research concerns a number of key issues which are of central importance to understanding public participation in the context of urban design.

It is thought to be essential that underused areas are developed in such a way that better physical and other connections can be generated across urban centres. This research is considering and modelling potential solutions to the issue of disconnection, and will undertake to gather and report a detailed study of associated public perceptions, attitudes and values.

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The importance of major planning and design proposals for life in our cities cannot be underestimated, and the potential value of establishing an accessible and integrated city as a result would be significant for residents and visitors alike. To a great extent, though, the success or failure of design proposals will depend on their being embraced by users, thus providing an economic foundation and helping to support a self-sustaining longer term development of the city.

This research will employ computer visualisation and cultural perception studies to gather vital data pertinent to specific areas within Aberdeen. In the short term, this data could be used to develop, evaluate and refine specific design solutions for the area. It is of utmost importance to gain a clear understanding of peoples’ perceptions and understanding of the city centre as a social and physical landscape. The ways in which people value historic buildings will be explored in some depth, and the project models and web space used to explore how information can trigger ideas, challenge norms, and assist in reaching consensus.

The research is being funded by Aberdeen City Council.

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