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A B S T R A C T For centuries the aesthetic significance of space organization has been one of the significant subjects of study for most artists, architects, urban designers and philosophers. Cities which experience diverse stages of growth transmit dissimilar aesthetic values due to their locations, culture, history and background. This research will try to take out the aesthetic values of the traditional European cities through the literature on aesthetic of urban design. Accordingly, this study reflects the term urban aesthetics in spatial organization. It tries to answer the question of how space organization can lead to the aesthetic understanding of a place. The methodology for this study developed based on grounded theory study and qualitative assessments of European cities thorough the literature review. Overall, the study assessed integration, visual connectivity, vitality, spatial quality, as the main factors in shaping the aesthetic quality of the urban environment in European traditional cities. At the end, it proposed the findings to apply in contemporary urban designing.

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Aesthetics of Space Organization: Lessons from Traditional European Cities *Dr. HOURAKHSH AHMAD NIA1,MA.YOUSIF HUSSIEN SULEIMAN2 1&2Department of Architecture, NawrozUniversity, Duhok, Kurdistan Region, Iraq E mail: hourakhsh_ahmadnia@yahoo.com , E mail: Yousif.Sulaiman@nawroz.edu.krd A B S T R A C T For centuries the aesthetic significance of space organization has been one of the significant subjects of study for most artists, architects, urban designers and philosophers. Cities which experience diverse stages of growth transmit dissimilar aesthetic values due to their locations, culture, history and background. This research will try to take out the aesthetic values of the traditional European cities through the literature on aesthetic of urban design. Accordingly, this study reflects the term urban aesthetics in spatial organization. It tries to answer the question of how space organization can lead to the aesthetic understanding of a place. The methodology for this study developed based on grounded theory study and qualitative assessments of European cities thorough the literature review. Overall, the study assessed integration, visual connectivity, vitality, spatial quality, as the main factors in shaping the aesthetic quality of the urban environment in European traditional cities. At the end, it proposed the findings to apply in contemporary urban designing. CONTEMPORARY URBAN AFFAIRS (2018) 2(1), 66-75. https://doi.org/10.25034/ijcua.2018.3659 www.ijcua.com Copyright © 2017 Contemporary Urban Affairs. All rights reserved. 1. Introduction This study emphases on one of the long-standing questions in the arena of urban design: “Does the urban form influence the aesthetic understanding of it?”. Traditional medieval spatial organization of European cities is the example of good quality of space organization which many scholars have been studied to take out the aesthetic factors of shaping good quality of urban spaces in traditional countries (Cullen, 1996; Sitte, 1888; Krier, 1889; Zucker, 1959). As a big umbrella for this study the environmental aesthetic have been selected from the literature by focusing on the interrelation between principals of spatial configuration and human aesthetic perception. According to Cuthbert (2006) “an aesthetically pleasing experience is one that provides pleasurable sensory experiences, a pleasing perceptual structure and pleasurable symbolic associations”. This description delivers a valuable guide as to the diverse stages of aesthetic perception that are essential to be able to judge an art object or urban spatial configuration. Williams (1996) depicts three interactive elements in the cognitive processes which are representation, perception, conception. The process of cognition is characterized as the formulation of sensory information obtained from the real world. When sensory information from the world imposes us, cognitive processes at the perceptual level attempt to explicate and understand it (Williams, 1996). Figure 1. Idealized model of cognition - cognitive processing (Adopted from Williams, 1996). Lang (1988) divided the aesthetic assessment of space configuration into formal and symbolic aesthetic. Symbolic aesthetic represent meaning which has been hidden in an art object or space organization the symbolic object might also be a doorknob or even a tapering stone pillar so called “Obelisk” in ancient Egyptians era. Symbolic aesthetic in a specific culture might have aesthetic value and in the other culture which doesn’t have historical roots might not have. Formal factors representing aesthetic quality refers to the organization and spatial configuration of the elements of shaping urban spaces. The three most important formal factors affecting judgment are diversity, harmony and claritythat tends toward complexity and ambiguity (Nasar 1994). Table 1. Grouping of aesthetic qualities. This study will assess the formal aesthetic qualities in shaping aesthetic urban environments. In this regard, Gestalt psychology will helps to comprehend the distinctive human aesthetic taste to resolve visual objects into ordered patterns. Coherence, unity in variety, patterns in building facades and strong compositional elements such as verandahs are but some of the formal characteristics that can enhance a sense of order in a scene. The indispensable parts of the “Gestalt psychology” is connected with urban context. Gestalt psychology developed a systematic basis for aesthetics (Gibson, 1979) which explains the relationship between whole and the parts. According to Nasar (1994), human response to the quality of the environment will generate a positive aesthetic experience until reaching a level where preference begins to reduce. In this regard, Stamps (2000) states that the built environment provides stimulation of interest at three scales, which are a). Conceptualized as a silhouette (complexity of the outline). b) Form articulation (three dimensional modelling) and c). Surface texture. Personal experience is also an important factor in generating environmental stimuli. In this regard, as Weber (1995) stated, cognitive processes by assigning values to the derived meanings, helps to understand the environment and affect aesthetic judgments. Accordingly, understanding how this process working with each other will help us to assess the beauty of each and every context. “Powerful meanings attach to the way we comprehend the environment.

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Aesthetics of Space Organization: Lessons from Traditional European Cities *Dr. HOURAKHSH AHMAD NIA1,MA.YOUSIF HUSSIEN SULEIMAN2 1&2Department of Architecture, NawrozUniversity, Duhok, Kurdistan Region, Iraq E mail: hourakhsh_ahmadnia@yahoo.com , E mail: Yousif.Sulaiman@nawroz.edu.krd A B S T R A C T For centuries the aesthetic significance of space organization has been one of the significant subjects of study for most artists, architects, urban designers and philosophers. Cities which experience diverse stages of growth transmit dissimilar aesthetic values due to their locations, culture, history and background. This research will try to take out the aesthetic values of the traditional European cities through the literature on aesthetic of urban design. Accordingly, this study reflects the term urban aesthetics in spatial organization. It tries to answer the question of how space organization can lead to the aesthetic understanding of a place. The methodology for this study developed based on grounded theory study and qualitative assessments of European cities thorough the literature review. Overall, the study assessed integration, visual connectivity, vitality, spatial quality, as the main factors in shaping the aesthetic quality of the urban environment in European traditional cities. At the end, it proposed the findings to apply in contemporary urban designing. CONTEMPORARY URBAN AFFAIRS (2018) 2(1), 66-75. https://doi.org/10.25034/ijcua.2018.3659 www.ijcua.com Copyright © 2017 Contemporary Urban Affairs. All rights reserved. 1. Introduction This study emphases on one of the long-standing questions in the arena of urban design: “Does the urban form influence the aesthetic understanding of it?”. Traditional medieval spatial organization of European cities is the example of good quality of space organization which many scholars have been studied to take out the aesthetic factors of shaping good quality of urban spaces in traditional countries (Cullen, 1996; Sitte, 1888; Krier, 1889; Zucker, 1959). As a big umbrella for this study the environmental aesthetic have been selected from the literature by focusing on the interrelation between principals of spatial configuration and human aesthetic perception. According to Cuthbert (2006) “an aesthetically pleasing experience is one that provides pleasurable sensory experiences, a pleasing perceptual structure and pleasurable symbolic associations”. This description delivers a valuable guide as to the diverse stages of aesthetic perception that are essential to be able to judge an art object or urban spatial configuration. Williams (1996) depicts three interactive elements in the cognitive processes which are representation, perception, conception. The process of cognition is characterized as the formulation of sensory information obtained from the real world. When sensory information from the world imposes us, cognitive processes at the perceptual level attempt to explicate and understand it (Williams, 1996). Figure 1. Idealized model of cognition - cognitive processing (Adopted from Williams, 1996). Lang (1988) divided the aesthetic assessment of space configuration into formal and symbolic aesthetic. Symbolic aesthetic represent meaning which has been hidden in an art object or space organization the symbolic object might also be a doorknob or even a tapering stone pillar so called “Obelisk” in ancient Egyptians era. Symbolic aesthetic in a specific culture might have aesthetic value and in the other culture which doesn’t have historical roots might not have. Formal factors representing aesthetic quality refers to the organization and spatial configuration of the elements of shaping urban spaces. The three most important formal factors affecting judgment are diversity, harmony and claritythat tends toward complexity and ambiguity (Nasar 1994). Table 1. Grouping of aesthetic qualities. This study will assess the formal aesthetic qualities in shaping aesthetic urban environments. In this regard, Gestalt psychology will helps to comprehend the distinctive human aesthetic taste to resolve visual objects into ordered patterns. Coherence, unity in variety, patterns in building facades and strong compositional elements such as verandahs are but some of the formal characteristics that can enhance a sense of order in a scene. The indispensable parts of the “Gestalt psychology” is connected with urban context. Gestalt psychology developed a systematic basis for aesthetics (Gibson, 1979) which explains the relationship between whole and the parts. According to Nasar (1994), human response to the quality of the environment will generate a positive aesthetic experience until reaching a level where preference begins to reduce. In this regard, Stamps (2000) states that the built environment provides stimulation of interest at three scales, which are a). Conceptualized as a silhouette (complexity of the outline). b) Form articulation (three dimensional modelling) and c). Surface texture. Personal experience is also an important factor in generating environmental stimuli. In this regard, as Weber (1995) stated, cognitive processes by assigning values to the derived meanings, helps to understand the environment and affect aesthetic judgments. Accordingly, understanding how this process working with each other will help us to assess the beauty of each and every context. “Powerful meanings attach to the way we comprehend the environment.

Journal of Contemporary Urban Affairs
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This page is a summary of: Aesthetics of Space Organization: Lessons from Traditional European Cities, Journal of Contemporary Urban Affairs, June 2017, Journal of Contemporary Urban Affairs (JCUA), DOI: 10.25034/ijcua.2018.3659.
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