Detection of Intelligibility leaps using Isovist-waves: joining the dots to map potential ‘aha moment’ locations

Sam McElhinney, Ruth Dalton, Nick Dalton, Panagiotis Mavros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Our paper describes the exploration of and progress towards a new computational method to detect the location of potential ‘aha moments’ during the learning of a novel spatial configuration. ‘Aha moments’ refer to instances of sudden reorientation where the overall understanding of spatial configuration suddenly, and often unexpectedly, increases. We developed a novel computational approach to detect such a phenomenon, by spawning isovists from initial random points within the navigable space, then iteratively seeding new isovist points from the occluding edges of the latest iteration. When new isovists are able to reconnect with previously generated ones, the connection is held to be particularly advantageous (to a navigator) and the new link’s attributes, such as location, are noted. With our method, the spatial configuration is ‘explored’ progressively, simultaneously allowing the detection of changes in integration and intelligibility of the configuration as a whole.
We present the outcomes of applying our method to three case-studies; Hillier’s legible world/town, van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion, and Hertzberger’s Beheer Centraal Offices. The results show that isovist-derived, potential ‘aha locations’ are systematic, and appear at the intersections between large spatial and informational units. As such, the measure is assumed to have similarities with other, existing space syntax concepts (clustering coefficients, e- and s- spaces, revelation) but is also appears distinct in its focus on pairwise-connections with previously seen locations. We hypothesise that our measure is highly sensitive to locations where people identify shortcuts during spatial exploration or learning. The paper concludes with a discussion of future research directions.
Original languageChinese (Simplified)
JournalThe Journal of Urban Design
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 24 Sep 2022

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