The interdisciplinary research project HOME ZONE, integrating methods of art, urban planning and aesthetics, explores the perception of art in urban contexts in terms of their aesthetics and visual display and the impact of these on local places, urban traffic situation and identities. Equally important to the consideration of how home zones (moderate speed zone) outwardly appear, is the question of aesthetic perception by their users, because an implementation of contemporary knowledge in urban planning for forming non-hierarchical spaces for traffic participation requires empirical research on perception. In our project we employ methods from the fields of cognitive and environmental science (done by Humboldt University, Prof. Dr. Elke van der Meer) and participative urban planning (qualitative interviews), further from research in art field (real size model). This research provides the foundation for possible artistic, urban design interventions, tested through field research and a pilot home zone/slow-speed zone with variable layouts.


Goals of the research project

  • achieve empirical results on the relation between the perception of aesthetics in art work in home zones (shared space) and the attention of the different kinds of users in traffic (form, colour, security, space behaviour, atmosphere of urban space)
  • explore the correlation between the augmentation of attention and the feeling of security in traffic situations; to identify the specific needs of users in complexe circulation space (home zone) according to their goals/intentions for aesthetical purpose/interventions;
  • achieve the home zone as a common (urban) space without a hierarchy of participants, connected with or integrated into moderate- speed zones for art projects and urban contexts;
  • derive general recommendations from empirical results with regard to security, urban context and aesthetic value.

A first step established an archive/ typology of examples to work with and to develop a research base formed by architectural knowledge and psychological research into the perception of space and movement.
An important phase in the research process was the implementation and in situ creation of artistic intervention – established along the typology –  in a specific urban context. These five artistic interventions in public space in the city of Sierre (CH) with complex circulation situation were tested empirically in the field situation and in the laboratory of cognitive psychology at Humboldt University (qualitative and quantitative inquiries). The questions in the qualitative research were conducted along semi-conductive interview methods. The inquiries about empiric aesthetics were established according the model of aesthetic perception of Helmut Leder (University of Vienna) and Prof. Dr. Elke van der Moore (University of Humboldt Berlin). The urban functionality was questioned by methods of empiric aesthetics in urban planning (conducted by Dr. Martin Brucks, University of Humboldt Berlin).


Financial partners
HES-SO Fonds stratégiques
Canton de Valais