CumInCAD is a Cumulative Index about publications in Computer Aided Architectural Design
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id avocaad_2001_16
authors Yu-Ying Chang, Yu-Tung Liu, Chien-Hui Wong
year 2001
title Some Phenomena of Spatial Characteristics of Cyberspace
source AVOCAAD - ADDED VALUE OF COMPUTER AIDED ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN, Nys Koenraad, Provoost Tom, Verbeke Johan, Verleye Johan (Eds.), (2001) Hogeschool voor Wetenschap en Kunst - Departement Architectuur Sint-Lucas, Campus Brussel, ISBN 80-76101-05-1
summary "Space," which has long been an important concept in architecture (Bloomer & Moore, 1977; Mitchell, 1995, 1999), has attracted interest of researchers from various academic disciplines in recent years (Agnew, 1993; Benko & Strohmayer, 1996; Chang, 1999; Foucault, 1982; Gould, 1998). Researchers from disciplines such as anthropology, geography, sociology, philosophy, and linguistics regard it as the basis of the discussion of various theories in social sciences and humanities (Chen, 1999). On the other hand, since the invention of Internet, Internet users have been experiencing a new and magic "world." According to the definitions in traditional architecture theories, "space" is generated whenever people define a finite void by some physical elements (Zevi, 1985). However, although Internet is a virtual, immense, invisible and intangible world, navigating in it, we can still sense the very presence of ourselves and others in a wonderland. This sense could be testified by our naming of Internet as Cyberspace -- an exotic kind of space. Therefore, as people nowadays rely more and more on the Internet in their daily life, and as more and more architectural scholars and designers begin to invest their efforts in the design of virtual places online (e.g., Maher, 1999; Li & Maher, 2000), we cannot help but ask whether there are indeed sensible spaces in Internet. And if yes, these spaces exist in terms of what forms and created by what ways?To join the current interdisciplinary discussion on the issue of space, and to obtain new definition as well as insightful understanding of "space", this study explores the spatial phenomena in Internet. We hope that our findings would ultimately be also useful for contemporary architectural designers and scholars in their designs in the real world.As a preliminary exploration, the main objective of this study is to discover the elements involved in the creation/construction of Internet spaces and to examine the relationship between human participants and Internet spaces. In addition, this study also attempts to investigate whether participants from different academic disciplines define or experience Internet spaces in different ways, and to find what spatial elements of Internet they emphasize the most.In order to achieve a more comprehensive understanding of the spatial phenomena in Internet and to overcome the subjectivity of the members of the research team, the research design of this study was divided into two stages. At the first stage, we conducted literature review to study existing theories of space (which are based on observations and investigations of the physical world). At the second stage of this study, we recruited 8 Internet regular users to approach this topic from different point of views, and to see whether people with different academic training would define and experience Internet spaces differently.The results of this study reveal that the relationship between human participants and Internet spaces is different from that between human participants and physical spaces. In the physical world, physical elements of space must be established first; it then begins to be regarded as a place after interaction between/among human participants or interaction between human participants and the physical environment. In contrast, in Internet, a sense of place is first created through human interactions (or activities), Internet participants then begin to sense the existence of a space. Therefore, it seems that, among the many spatial elements of Internet we found, "interaction/reciprocity" either between/among human participants or between human participants and the computer interface seems to be the most crucial element.In addition, another interesting result of this study is that verbal (linguistic) elements could provoke a sense of space in a degree higher than 2D visual representation and no less than 3D visual simulations. Nevertheless, verbal and 3D visual elements seem to work in different ways in terms of cognitive behaviors: Verbal elements provoke visual imagery and other sensory perceptions by "imagining" and then excite personal experiences of space; visual elements, on the other hand, provoke and excite visual experiences of space directly by "mapping".Finally, it was found that participants with different academic training did experience and define space differently. For example, when experiencing and analyzing Internet spaces, architecture designers, the creators of the physical world, emphasize the design of circulation and orientation, while participants with linguistics training focus more on subtle language usage. Visual designers tend to analyze the graphical elements of virtual spaces based on traditional painting theories; industrial designers, on the other hand, tend to treat these spaces as industrial products, emphasizing concept of user-center and the control of the computer interface.The findings of this study seem to add new information to our understanding of virtual space. It would be interesting for future studies to investigate how this information influences architectural designers in their real-world practices in this digital age. In addition, to obtain a fuller picture of Internet space, further research is needed to study the same issue by examining more Internet participants who have no formal linguistics and graphical training.
series AVOCAAD
email aleppo@cc.nctu.edu.tw
references Content-type: text/plain
last changed 2005/09/09 08:48
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