Walkable Urban Environment: Sensory Experiencing in Bechar City (Algeria)
Keywords:walkability, urban environment, sensory experiencing, street, Bechar city
Walkability is becoming one of the central themes in urban research. It is among concerns of city’s designers. Several studies have shown that walking in the city preserves the environment and people’s health. Walkers merge into the city in a total, i.e., effective, sensory, cultural, etc. They perceive the city with their senses. So then, the urban morphology of the street as well as the architecture of the buildings that delimit them influence the sensory perception of the pedestrian. On the other hand, another notion having a considerable development in the last decades is the urban atmosphere. It highlights the other sensory dimensions (thermal, sound, olfactory, tactile, etc.) of the urban space and goes beyond its visual aspect. This research aims to study the walkability in one of the most frequented streets by pedestrians in Bechar city (south of Algeria). Its main objective
is to know how walkers perceive the urban environment of the street by focusing on their sensory experience. It combines two notions: walkability and atmospheres in the urban space. We used several research techniques: morphological and sensory analysis of the street, participant observation, photo-elicitation interview and survey. The research results attest that there is a strong relationship between the urban environment of the city and walkability. The components of the street such as dimensions, architecture of the buildings that limit it and the prevailing atmospheres have a direct impact on walking in the city and sensory perception of pedestrians. Then, this research is not limited to the visual aspect of urban environment of the street but it emphasizes other sensory dimensions which are often neglected by architects and urban designers of Bechar city.
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