Space Syntax's Relation to Seating Choices from an Evolutionary Approach
Space syntax provides information on the probabilities of certain behaviour types (e.g., seating choice, movement) depending on the configuration of space. The evolutionary approach (e.g. Appleton’s prospect-refuge theory) in environmental psychology can help designers in creating spaces by providing a better understanding why certain parts of an open space or a building are avoided or occupied, why good "observation points" or "hiding places” are preferred. Our research aimed to explore how different space syntax variables predict specific behaviours – the seating choices of 216 participants – in a 3D virtual model of a lounge area and how the prospect-refuge theory relates to these predictions. The participants had to choose a seat in simulated spaces in two social situations, which differed in the degree of focused work and concentration: one of the situations implied seeing others and being seen, while the other highlighted focused work and hiding. The results show that there was a variation in the seating choices depending on the goal of the situation (user: trying to be seen or hiding). The expected significant correlations with the space syntax measurements were presented in the situations where being seen was the goal of the participants. However, in the situations where hiding was induced, our results need further clarification. Our future goal is to provide quantitative, evidence-based reflection on the prospect-refuge and space syntax theories, and to investigate the psychological factors (e.g., goal of the user) that need further consideration when applying these theories in the design practice.