User attitudes and goals as a basis for evaluating physical environments
Whitehead, Lawrence William
Master of Architecture
All of the complex factors making up the attitude and goal structures of users of the physical environment will affect their responses to this environment. The degree of satisfaction of these goal structures by patterns of activities offers one approach to evaluating physical environments. By examining the activities valued by users, and the constraints placed on these activities by physical environmental factors, particular physical systems can be evaluated by the support they give to these important user activities. The thesis is developed as follows: (1) Basic problems involved in measuring individual attitudes and goals are discussed, and a catalog of methods that might be used in such measurements is presented. (2) A model of activity occurrence factors is developed, showing three basic requirements: (a) activities must be needed by a sufficiently large population within the given organizational structure; (b) resources must be available or allocated to support the activity (referred to in the thesis as the "administrative" function); (c) an adequately supportive physical environment must be available. (3) A case study is presented that determines goal and activity patterns of students in a graduate school situation. Through the testing of hypotheses about attitude interrelationships, the model is verified, and it is shown that user attitudes about personal goal satisfaction, and about the perceived interest of those persons allocating resources, directly affect user responses to the physical environment. This suggests the importance of determining user goals, and examining organizational structure and functioning, as well as providing adequate physical environments, if user-valued activities are to be supported. (4) A detailed evaluation of the buildings of the case-study organization is presented, based on data obtained in the questionnaire study reported in the thesis. The evaluation shows the type of problems that affect users' activities. Intervention steps are suggested. (5) The method of study used here is itself evaluated, and its faults and useful portions are noted. Suggestions for further research are given.