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A B S T R A C T Rapid intensification of Auckland has made our visual awareness of the outdoor environment (windowscapes) more confined and restricted. The recent changes of Auckland’s windowscapes have made the shortcomings of New Zealand Building Code more apparent. This paper aims to demonstrate the importance of windowscapes in urban dwellers’ life and suggest some changes to current building code to provide healthier and liveable indoor environments. First, evidence from the literature on the impact of views on building occupants’ wellbeing will be reviewed. Then, New Zealand Code Clause (G7 Natural light) and its Acceptable Solution will be critically analysed to identify areas that require improvement. Our literature review indicates that private views are more relevant for health and wellbeing than building and planning legislation in New Zealand currently considers them to be. Hence, this paper suggests that windowscapes should become an essential part of future building codes and standards. This paper concludes that providing strict requirements regarding windowscapes is essential to building a healthier indoor environment.

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Towards appreciating the importance of windowscapes: Evaluation and suggestion for improvement of New Zealand Building Code *Dr.LEILA MIRZA 1,Dr.HUGH BYRD2 1 Building Control Department, Auckland Council, Auckland, New Zealand 2The University of Lincoln, Lincoln, United Kingdom E mail: Leila.mirza@hotmail.co.nz E mail: hbyrd@lincoln.ac.uk A B S T R A C T Rapid intensification of Auckland has made our visual awareness of the outdoor environment (windowscapes) more confined and restricted. The recent changes of Auckland’s windowscapes have made the shortcomings of New Zealand Building Code more apparent. This paper aims to demonstrate the importance of windowscapes in urban dwellers’ life and suggest some changes to current building code to provide healthier and liveable indoor environments. First, evidence from the literature on the impact of views on building occupants’ wellbeing will be reviewed. Then, New Zealand Code Clause (G7 Natural light) and its Acceptable Solution will be critically analysed to identify areas that require improvement. Our literature review indicates that private views are more relevant for health and wellbeing than building and planning legislation in New Zealand currently considers them to be. Hence, this paper suggests that windowscapes should become an essential part of future building codes and standards. This paper concludes that providing strict requirements regarding windowscapes is essential to building a healthier indoor environment. CONTEMPORARY URBAN AFFAIRS (2018) 2(1), 55-65. https://doi.org/10.25034/ijcua.2018.3656 www.ijcua.com Copyright © 2017 Contemporary Urban Affairs. All rights reserved. 1. Introduction 1.1 The importance of windowscapes for urban dwellers Windows have many roles: providing views, daylight, and ventilation. With the advent of buildings with large areas of glazing, increased time spent in buildings and increased awareness of the benefits of improved working environments, the importance of windows for building occupants has shifted in favour of windowscape. The provision of permanent supplementary artificial lighting and ventilation reduced the role of the window as the only source of daylight and fresh air, while the concept of transparency in architecture introduced a new type of relationship with the landscape outside. This was coincident, and possibly the result of, changes in the lifestyle of modern urban dwellers who spend the majority of their time indoors (Shoemaker, 2002, p. 141). In agreement with this, McLain and Rogers (1981) say that despite fresh air and natural light remaining the major functions of windows, people are more interested in window as a way of contact with the outside world. The importance of having a view for urban dwellers is confirmed in most studies on windows. Wells (1965) found that 89% of surveyed office workers stressed the importance of having access to the window even when there was abundant artificial light in the interior. An analysis (Nichols, 1977) of sixty questionnaires from volunteer participants working in an urban high-rise office building revealed that respondents without window views made more non job-related trips away from their workstations – presumably looking for a view to the outside – than respondents with views. Nagy et al. (1995) found that respondents from an underground office rated the importance of having a view much higher than those from aboveground offices. Both groups considered the view as the most important function of a window, followed by fresh air and natural light. According to the literature review by Farley and Veitch (2001, p. 8) “of all the benefits and psychological functions provided by windows the provision of a view appears to be most valued by building occupants.” In Bodart and Deneyer's (2004) survey, sunlight and visual contact with the outside were found to be the two most positive functions of windows for building users. Ne’Eman (1974) interviewed 647 users in four types of buildings (houses, school, offices and hospitals) and asked them how they would choose between a window providing sunlight into their interiors but with an unpleasant view and a window providing a pleasant view but without sunshine. The result revealed most would prefer a nice view through their windows to the provision of sunshine. Cooper-Marcus (1982) argued that attractiveness of neighbourhoods mainly depended on what residents could see from their windows. These results can be explained by the theory that humans have evolved to crave visual information about their environmental surroundings (Kaplan & Kaplan, 1977; Verderber, 1986;Arenibafo, 2016). 1. Literature review on preferred windowscapes 2.1 Factors influencing preferences for windowscapes Windowscape plays a crucial role in modern life for urban dwellers as the majority of their time is spent indoors. The visual quality of urban windowscapes can, consequently, have a great influence on the quality of life. But what factors can influence windowscape preferences and what are the most and least visually preferred features of urban windowscapes? Answering these questions are important as preferences reflect how given environments support well-being (e.g. Van den Berg et al. (2003)). Research shows that two main factors influence preferences for urban windowscapes: environmental characteristics and attributes of observers. This section only summarises key environmental factors, for more comprehensive literature review refer to Mirza (2015) and Lothian (2000). Environmental characteristics can be divided further into concrete features of urban landscape (e.g. water, greenery, sky, buildings) and psychological landscape descriptors (e.g. complexity and mystery). Buildings: Since buildings are an inevitable component of urban windowscapes, two key questions for designers and developers are: how can buildings be incorporated in an urban scene to positively increase the visual quality of the views? And what characteristics of buildings are more highly valued by viewers? Kfir et al. (2002) found the presence of residential buildings in the near distance were the most influential factor in negative assessments of the view.

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Towards appreciating the importance of windowscapes: Evaluation and suggestion for improvement of New Zealand Building Code *Dr.LEILA MIRZA 1,Dr.HUGH BYRD2 1 Building Control Department, Auckland Council, Auckland, New Zealand 2The University of Lincoln, Lincoln, United Kingdom E mail: Leila.mirza@hotmail.co.nz E mail: hbyrd@lincoln.ac.uk A B S T R A C T Rapid intensification of Auckland has made our visual awareness of the outdoor environment (windowscapes) more confined and restricted. The recent changes of Auckland’s windowscapes have made the shortcomings of New Zealand Building Code more apparent. This paper aims to demonstrate the importance of windowscapes in urban dwellers’ life and suggest some changes to current building code to provide healthier and liveable indoor environments. First, evidence from the literature on the impact of views on building occupants’ wellbeing will be reviewed. Then, New Zealand Code Clause (G7 Natural light) and its Acceptable Solution will be critically analysed to identify areas that require improvement. Our literature review indicates that private views are more relevant for health and wellbeing than building and planning legislation in New Zealand currently considers them to be. Hence, this paper suggests that windowscapes should become an essential part of future building codes and standards. This paper concludes that providing strict requirements regarding windowscapes is essential to building a healthier indoor environment. CONTEMPORARY URBAN AFFAIRS (2018) 2(1), 55-65. https://doi.org/10.25034/ijcua.2018.3656 www.ijcua.com Copyright © 2017 Contemporary Urban Affairs. All rights reserved. 1. Introduction 1.1 The importance of windowscapes for urban dwellers Windows have many roles: providing views, daylight, and ventilation. With the advent of buildings with large areas of glazing, increased time spent in buildings and increased awareness of the benefits of improved working environments, the importance of windows for building occupants has shifted in favour of windowscape. The provision of permanent supplementary artificial lighting and ventilation reduced the role of the window as the only source of daylight and fresh air, while the concept of transparency in architecture introduced a new type of relationship with the landscape outside. This was coincident, and possibly the result of, changes in the lifestyle of modern urban dwellers who spend the majority of their time indoors (Shoemaker, 2002, p. 141). In agreement with this, McLain and Rogers (1981) say that despite fresh air and natural light remaining the major functions of windows, people are more interested in window as a way of contact with the outside world. The importance of having a view for urban dwellers is confirmed in most studies on windows. Wells (1965) found that 89% of surveyed office workers stressed the importance of having access to the window even when there was abundant artificial light in the interior. An analysis (Nichols, 1977) of sixty questionnaires from volunteer participants working in an urban high-rise office building revealed that respondents without window views made more non job-related trips away from their workstations – presumably looking for a view to the outside – than respondents with views. Nagy et al. (1995) found that respondents from an underground office rated the importance of having a view much higher than those from aboveground offices. Both groups considered the view as the most important function of a window, followed by fresh air and natural light. According to the literature review by Farley and Veitch (2001, p. 8) “of all the benefits and psychological functions provided by windows the provision of a view appears to be most valued by building occupants.” In Bodart and Deneyer's (2004) survey, sunlight and visual contact with the outside were found to be the two most positive functions of windows for building users. Ne’Eman (1974) interviewed 647 users in four types of buildings (houses, school, offices and hospitals) and asked them how they would choose between a window providing sunlight into their interiors but with an unpleasant view and a window providing a pleasant view but without sunshine. The result revealed most would prefer a nice view through their windows to the provision of sunshine. Cooper-Marcus (1982) argued that attractiveness of neighbourhoods mainly depended on what residents could see from their windows. These results can be explained by the theory that humans have evolved to crave visual information about their environmental surroundings (Kaplan & Kaplan, 1977; Verderber, 1986;Arenibafo, 2016). 1. Literature review on preferred windowscapes 2.1 Factors influencing preferences for windowscapes Windowscape plays a crucial role in modern life for urban dwellers as the majority of their time is spent indoors. The visual quality of urban windowscapes can, consequently, have a great influence on the quality of life. But what factors can influence windowscape preferences and what are the most and least visually preferred features of urban windowscapes? Answering these questions are important as preferences reflect how given environments support well-being (e.g. Van den Berg et al. (2003)). Research shows that two main factors influence preferences for urban windowscapes: environmental characteristics and attributes of observers. This section only summarises key environmental factors, for more comprehensive literature review refer to Mirza (2015) and Lothian (2000). Environmental characteristics can be divided further into concrete features of urban landscape (e.g. water, greenery, sky, buildings) and psychological landscape descriptors (e.g. complexity and mystery). Buildings: Since buildings are an inevitable component of urban windowscapes, two key questions for designers and developers are: how can buildings be incorporated in an urban scene to positively increase the visual quality of the views? And what characteristics of buildings are more highly valued by viewers? Kfir et al. (2002) found the presence of residential buildings in the near distance were the most influential factor in negative assessments of the view.

Journal of Contemporary Urban Affairs
Girne American University

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This page is a summary of: Towards Appreciating the Importance of Windowscapes: Evaluation and suggestion for improvement of New Zealand Building Code, Journal of Contemporary Urban Affairs, August 2017, Journal of Contemporary Urban Affairs (JCUA), DOI: 10.25034/ijcua.2018.3656.
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