Emotional planning

Urban planning is not typically known for being an emotional subject, but should it be? As reported this week in Science X, a project called MindSpaces is seeking to do just that. The process involves digitising the proposed scheme in virtual reality and allowing stakeholders to interact with the digital space. The users’ brain activity, heart rate and skin response are then monitored and analysed using machine learning techniques to identify the most and least pleasing aspects of the design. In a second walkthrough any offending structures are then adapted and the subject retested. The question is posed as to whether this could be a better way of aligning buildings to our emotional needs, rather than the more functional needs which receive most focus in traditional design techniques. This might be seen as more important than ever, in a world where the experience associated with building use is playing a more significant role in its value chain and commercial approach. It is also an example of where digital twin technology can play a new role in the design process.