Observing Behavior in the Built Environment


  1. Describe the environment
    1. Describe the present environment, emphasizing elements that shape the physical form:

                                                               i.      Manifestations of privacy (setbacks, blank walls, shrubbery, fences, siting)

                                                             ii.      Elements of contiguity (materials, scale, sidewalks, trees, color)

                                                            iii.      Means of punctuation or variety (gates, towers, monuments, vistas, parks)

    1. Draw a base map

                                                               i.      Locate houses, circulation systems, special plantings, etc.

                                                             ii.      Make an overlay showing the intensity of circulation movement

                                                            iii.      Make an overlay showing public and private spaces

                                                           iv.      Make other overlays as relevant (e.g., open vs. private space)

  1. Describe one groupís behavior in the environment (a family, a play group, etc.)
    1. Make a detailed survey of possessions (props that might be used in the environment, opportunities that compete with the environment)
    2. Study the groupís home-base in relation to daily life and in relation to the environment
    3. Plot all movements of the group for one week on an overlay
    4. Record an exact description of the groupís activity for one day
  2. Conclusions & Reflections

Draw limited (after all, you have only observed one group) conclusions about the appropriateness of the physical form to the groupís needs



Source:Robert L. Vickery, Jr.1972.Anthrophysical Form.Charlottesville, VA:University Press of Virginia.