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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Berkeley Environmental Simulation Laboratory: A 12 Year Anniversary

  • Author(s): Bosselmann, Peter
  • et al.

When, in 1972, Donald Appleyard, together with Kenneth Craik, received funding from the National Science Foundation to update what had been a rather simple environmental simulator purchased from Yale, both of them had been working in the field of environ­ mental cognition for several years. Appleyard's opportunity to work on the Image of the City project with Lynch and Myer had resulted in the book The Viewfrom the Road. During the course of that project he had experimented with three ways of simuiating the experience of driving along highways: notation systems, perspec­ tive sequences and films produced through a modelscope. The notation system describing the environmental experience was the easiest to develop, and it became common practice in urban design throughout the world. Although they do describe components of the experience, notation systems do so in an abstract way-and they are idiosyncratic. Only the inventor understands his system and no one else uses it. To the public, esoteric notation systems are incomprehensible. Sequences of perspectives are much more understandable. They are not used as much, perhaps because the method is still rather abstract and it takes some work to visualize the sequences as a continuous movement experience. Static per­ spective renderings remain the most common way of simulating environmental experience. However, modelscopes, motion picture cameras, and realistic scale models have the most promising pros­ pects of accurately and realistically simulating an experience of the environment.

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