URBAN DESIGN International

, Volume 12, Issue 2–3, pp 115–129 | Cite as

Computing the sense of time in urban physical environment

  • Perry Pei-Ju Yang
  • Simon Yanuar Putra
  • Meutia Chaerani


The research explores the physical attributes of urban form that help influence the sense of time in urban space. Although the relationship between urban form and temporal perception could be intuitively understood, a clearer description of this relationship relies on a certain degree of quantitative measurement that can predict the visual effects of urban form. A geographic information system (GIS)-based visual analysis was designed and applied to the test case. Four distinctively different urban fabrics in the Singapore downtown areas were selected as the urban laboratory for the test, representing four typologies: the main shopping street, the historical district, a pedestrian market street and the central business district area. The results of the field survey were compared with the GIS measure of urban visibility through a correlation analysis. We conclude that the interplay of urban form and pedestrian movements generates the sequential experience that determines the complexity and legibility as expressed in the perceived sense of time. This study also emphasizes the importance of two factors in constructing and facilitating pedestrians' perception of time in the urban environment, firstly dynamic sequential movement and secondly the adequate provision of diverse and dynamic vertical landmarks.


GIS visibility isovist viewsphere perceived urban form parameter 


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan Ltd 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Perry Pei-Ju Yang
    • 1
  • Simon Yanuar Putra
    • 1
  • Meutia Chaerani
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ArchitectureSchool of Design and Environment, National University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore

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