Implications of Architectural Proportions, Biophilia, and Fractal Geometry for Urban Science
This article reviews current research in visual urban perception. The temporal sequence of the first few milliseconds of visual stimulus processing sheds light on the historically ambiguous topic of aesthetic experience. Automatic fractal processing triggers initial attraction/ avoidance evaluations of an environment’s salubriousness, and its potentially positive or negative impacts upon an individual. As repeated cycles of visual perception occur, the attractiveness of urban form affects the user experience much more than had been previously suspected. These perceptual mechanisms promote walkability and intuitive navigation, and so they support the urban and civic interactions for which we establish communities and cities in the first place. Therefore, the use of multiple fractals needs to reintegrate with biophilic and traditional architecture in urban design for their proven positive effects on health and well-being. Such benefits include striking reductions in observers’ stress and mental fatigue. Due to their costs to individual well-being, urban performance, environmental quality, and climatic adaptation, this paper recommends that nontraditional styles should be hereafter applied judiciously to the built environment.