Smart Sensoring and Barrier Free Planning: Project Outcomes and Recent Developments

Smart Sensoring and Barrier Free Planning: Project Outcomes and Recent Developments

Antônio Nélson Rodrigues da Silva (University of São Paulo, Brazil), Peter Zeile (University of Kaiserslautern, Germany), Fabíola de Oliveira Aguiar (Center of Technological Sciences - Maranhão State University, Brazil), Georgios Papastefanou (GESIS Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Germany) and Benjamin Sebastian Bergner (University of Kaiserslautern, Germany)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4349-9.ch005
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Abstract

As more and more people face mobility constraints due to the natural aging process of the population, barrier-free planning becomes an important urban planning issue. It is elemental to know the place of spatial barriers associated with the negative emotion - the “stress” of probands. To achieve this, a method of psycho-physiological monitoring was developed, using a special technical device to measure autonomic bodily functions as indicators for emotions - a Smartband. This chapter presents the main characteristics and the outcomes of two projects that have applied the method, one in Germany and the other in Brazil. Future research directions are also discussed in this chapter. In summary, the next steps are to automate the interpretation of the collected data and to combine the existing methods with the development of a smartphone-based app to allow people to give some qualitative hints about urban parameters.
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Background

The idea of using smart sensoring methods for identifying “points of negative emotions” is not new. It came from the concept of “Mental Maps,” in which Lynch (1960) explored the idea that humans are able to memorize paths and to recall them if needed. These maps contained the following elements: paths, borderlines, areas and focus points, as well as landmarks. Thus, paths are the predominant aspects of a city, because they are like canals through which the spectators can move. Moreover, some areas have been marked as they have been experienced as pleasant or threatening (Lynch, 1960). Critics of this technique point out that not every participant had the drawing skills needed to adequately express his/her exact imagination using a graphical plan. The use of GPS technology and the automatic tracking of a walk in a city can now help to reduce these deficiencies, as demonstrated by Phillips et al. (2001), for example. In another study, Elgethun et al. (2003) used the GPS technology to identify areas with potential exposure to environmental contaminants. The integration of “feelings” or “well being” into GIS was introduced by Sorin Matei, with his Mental Maps. His work is strongly oriented on the previous studies of Lynch. Matei mapped feelings for the first time on a map and visualized them additionally in a three-dimensional VRML model. The result was a 3D-Map that shows areas of well being and fear in the city of Los Angeles (Matei et al., 2001).

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