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Methods for making planning and participation more sensory

Jan Rottler

Emotions and sensory perception play hardly any role in the planning and design of cities and in the debate about the urban future. According to popular opinion, decision-making needs an “objective process”. Of all the senses, only the visual, the shaping of the urban form, is treated as something special because it is easy to grasp and communicate. But people experience the city emotionally and with all their senses—not just with the naked eye.

So if we want to design cities that focus more on people, on their needs and well-being, we cannot ignore these dimensions of experience. We need a sensory approach to both planning and participation processes in order to achieve a humane and ecologically sustainable future.

How we can make this happen is being elaborated on in the Methodology Profile. The individual steps were developed, tested and combined into a systematic methodology in the context of the Sense the City project. They build on each other and can be applied in different contexts and for different fields of action.