Architecture and psychology

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Teka Kom. Arch. Urb. Stud. Krajobr. – OL PAN, 2006, 15-22

SOCIOLOGICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL ASPECTS OF ARCHITECTURE AND URBAN SPACE
Jana Šafránková
Czech Technical University in Prague, Faculty of Civil Engineering, Department of Social Sciences, Thakurova 7, 16629 Praha 6. Czech Republic phone: +420 224354368, e-mail: jana.safrankova@fsv.cvut.cz

Abstract: Architecture and urban space playan important role among the sociological and psychological factors that influence humans and their well-being. Sociology and psychology analyse the role of architecture in the conscious shaping of urban space in the 21st century. This issue is very important from the point of view of sustainable development, as well as education of civil engineering graduates and urban sociologists. Key words:urban space, sociology, psychology

INTRODUCTION Architecture and urban space play an important role among the sociological and psychological factors that influence humans and their well–being. Sociology and psychology analyse the role of architecture in the conscious shaping of urban space in the 21st century. This issue is very important from the point of view of sustainable development, as wellas education of civil engineering graduates and urban sociologists. Sociology of settlement, the city and the housing, deals, among others, with building (or architectural) activity of man, and his perception and needs. At the same time, interpretative sociology deals with this dilemma as well. However, there is little interest in those problems in Czech sociology. Beside a few articles, nomonograph on the topic has recently been published. The last publication, “The Genesis of The City”, written by Horska, Maur and Musil, mainly concerns social and spatial aspects of the city. In his essay in the Sociological journal (Sociologický časopis), M. Illner points to many significant urban problems which call for sociological analysis. These problems, which have a direct impact on the formationof social and spatial urban structure, include residential segregation, suburbanisation of the city’s periphery, depopulation of downtowns, revitalisation of habitation, revitalisation of industrial areas and integration.

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J. Šafránková

Another important sociological question concerns the development of urban society, which has an indirect spatial implication. In the case of the Czechsociety, this means: 1. quantitative stagnation of town population and changes in its demographic structure, 2. the socio-economic structure of citizens is changed. On the one hand, there is an extreme drop in the amount of industry workers; on the other hand, the employment rate in services is increasing, 3. unemployment of citizens is increasing, 4. privatisation changes relations between ownersand users; moreover, it often changes living conditions, 5. growing socio-economic differences in urban societies, 6. there is a slow, but irreversible ethnic, national and cultural population heterogeneity, 7. big cities expand to surrounding areas, thus creating metropolitan regions [Illner 2003, p. 132-134]. At present, sociology does not solve these problems from the viewpoint of urbanism andarchitecture. Urban population, similar to European societies in general, is ageing. Some of the districts already have the character of places for “elderly people” and are loosing their age heterogeneity. Meanwhile, the extreme drop in the amount of industry workers does not change workers’ district areas, as even the workers who switch their profession retain their social-economic status. Theincrease in unemployment results in severe dilapidation and sometimes even devastation of workers’ districts. This problem has a negative influence on the young generation due to its depressive action, as well as the negative values it promotes. Privatisation, by changing the owners, causes strong feelings of uncertainty among some inhabitants. At the same time, certain parts of blocks, built in...
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