A Study of Co-Presence in a University Architectural Studio using Bluetooth Contact Tracing

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‘Co-presence’ in space syntax analysis is considered a fundamental prerequisite to various forms of social interaction (Hillier and Hanson, 1984). Spatial organisation has been found to significantly influence co-presence pattern formations (Hillier and Hanson, 1984; Hillier, 1996) and behavioural patterns (Golledge and Stimson, 1997; Sailer and McCulloh, 2012) in architecture. However, accurately identifying the precise location and duration of social interaction (and hence the building’s influence) can be challenging using conventional methods such as self-reporting and observational analysis due to reliability concerns and the inability for ubiquitous observations across large spaces. This paper investigates how non-intrusive, low-cost Bluetooth contact tracing devices (Proxxi Technology Corporation, 2022), visibility graph analysis and a post-experimental group debrief could provide practical insights on location and interaction frequency between undergraduate students at Lancaster University’s new School of Architecture. These findings could prove useful to educators, researchers, and architects by showcasing the use of contact tracing technologies in academic spaces alongside “soft”, adaptive, spatial solutions such as desk allocation. The authors found that spatial configuration influenced copresence event frequency between participants in certain locations; those whose drawing boards/desks were in more integrated spaces encountered other participants more frequently. A strong negative linear correlation with 56% of the variance was also found in the number of interactions between participants, explained by the visual step depth levels between participant desk locations. Furthermore, the findings suggested a statistically significant correlation (p-value of 0.0062) in the population of pairing interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings 13th International Space Syntax Symposium, SSS 2022
EditorsAkkelies van Nes, Remco E. de Koning
PublisherWestern Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL)
ISBN (Electronic)9788293677673
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes
Event13th International Space Syntax Symposium, SSS 2022 - Bergen, Norway
Duration: 20 Jun 202224 Jun 2022

Publication series

NameProceedings 13th International Space Syntax Symposium, SSS 2022


Conference13th International Space Syntax Symposium, SSS 2022


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