Residential community design should consider the psychology of the occupants

“Architects should explore the creation of a living environment suitable for the psychological requirements of human living”. In the return of human nature today, “home” as the harbor of the human spiritual world, its sense of belonging, comfort and functionality, is given higher and higher requirements. In this paper, we will take “Serenity Garden”, a high-grade district in Nanjing, as an example, and talk about the mutual influence between the spatial organization, green landscape and detailed treatment and the psychology of the residents in the design of the residential district.

1 Community profile

Serenity Garden is located in the east of Nanjing, and the scenic eastern suburbs of the landscape is only a wall away, the historical and cultural landscape collection, convenient and fast transportation, quiet in the middle.

The community only accommodates more than 400 households, is a small and medium-sized community. It was built in 1999, and since then, the green landscape, surrounding services and supporting facilities have been fully matured, and the life of the residents has been regularized, so the advantages and disadvantages in the design of the district have become more obvious.

2 The spatial organization of the district

2.1 Space type and level:

the district is centered on the public activity square, which penetrates into a series of group spaces, forming semi-public spaces, then transitions to semi-private staircase spaces, and finally enters the private space of each family. The type of space is from public to private, forming an orderly transition, so that the residents can slowly transition from the hustle and bustle of the city to the quiet atmosphere of the family.

2.2 Transition mode of space:

The transition between public space and semi-public space adopts the design technique of separation and continuity, mainly using low walls, plant markings, and height changes to suggest different types of space. The transition between public space and private space, on the other hand, places more emphasis on enclosure, creating a sense of psychological belonging and catering to the atmosphere of living, so the partitioning method of doors or high walls becomes preferred.

3 Design of public space

3.1 Central garden:

The central garden is mainly divided into two areas – rest area and water play area.

The rest area is dominated by greenery and interspersed with winding paths. However, the design does not pay attention to the layout of the space to stay, and there is a walk through the convenience, the use of less likely.

The water play area is designed with the theme of artificial pools, combining the “hydrophilic” nature of human beings and arranging stone bridges, rockeries, floor lamps and seats, etc. It is a beautiful environment, where elders can be seen taking their children to rest and play, providing a place for neighbors to get acquainted and communicate with each other. The shortcoming is that some of the seats are too close to the road, and there are few users.

3.2 Central Plaza:

The central plaza is divided into areas with different materials, reflecting changes in order. However, the whole space is dominated by low decoration, except for a few trees dotted in the middle, there is a lack of interesting design elements in the sight plane, making the whole space slightly monotonous.

4 Design of semi-private space

Group space: The design uses the recess of the road to limit the area with flowerbeds, or uses the change of paving material to delineate the space and arrange the resting place. However, the usage rate is very low, for the reason that firstly, this space is too close to the residence and lacks privacy. Secondly, the residents who enter the group space prefer to rest at home, while those who have communication or outdoor rest needs choose public space (such as the central garden), which puts the resting place in the group space in an awkward situation, and its actual nature should be more like a vignette.  

5 Fine-tuning

5.1 Greenery:

The design makes use of every inch of space to arrange greenery, forming a good community environment. In addition to its contribution to the environment, the flexible application of plants can serve other purposes.

5.1.1 Soften the boundary:

Whether it is the road and the road cliff, the road and the wall, the sidewalk and the retaining slope, the intersection is a right-angle collision, and the two materials meet rigidly together to cause visual uneasiness, so the designer cleverly uses plants to cover the boundary appropriately, replacing the cement texture with natural stone to create a feeling of natural growth, and also makes the interface intersection more humane. 

5.1.2 Enhancing the privacy of the first floor:

Users of the first floor and basement want their living conditions not to be exposed to the public. The widely used floor-to-ceiling windows often do not guarantee the privacy of ground floor residents, so people have to cover up the large windows with heavy curtains, which makes the floor-to-ceiling windows counterproductive. However, the plant configuration can solve this problem to a certain extent. Low holly trees make it impossible for people’s sight to reach the windows of the lower room directly, while the area a little farther away from the building is arranged with trees of one person’s height, which not only play a role in blocking the sight line, but also do not affect the light of the first floor residents.

5.1.3 Space embellishment:

For an empty or uninteresting space, greenery is the best means of embellishment. Set a beautiful tree in the corner, with a little green space, the space will have a life.

5.2 Water treatment:

The water treatment of the central garden is very clever. The designer hides the end of the waterway behind the bridge to avoid the embarrassment of the waterway stopping, which is very much like the treatment of Suzhou garden, leaving room for reverie.

6 Living psychology

6.1 Privacy:

People need self-knowledge, self-judgment, self-presentation, self-management and self-fulfillment. [1] Anyone wants to communicate and relax in a safe and private environment, no one wants to rest and talk in public.

The design should pay attention to the arrangement of stay, rest space, can use green plants, or fence railings, appropriate space enclosure or semi-enclosure, must not be in the building in the sight of people.

6.2 Comfort:

including sunlight, hydrophilicity, etc. When the building layout should be as far as possible to make the space opposite the long side of the two buildings to ensure a certain amount of sunshine time (there are many ways to achieve this purpose, you can consider making the building and the positive north-south direction to produce a certain angle so as to introduce sunlight), to provide the possibility of activities in these areas.

6.3 Sense of belonging (security):

modern society, work, life, study tension fast-paced, after a busy day, a safe, warm and comfortable living environment has undoubtedly become a long-awaited belonging. [1] This requires a clear enclosure around the community, there should be no visual dead ends in the small area. Provide enough places to play and rest, induce people to gradually establish a sense of neighborhood through interaction, and strengthen a sense of belonging to the community.

7 Summary

People are social beings, and the community is the grassroots cell of society. It is not only a physical environment, but also a social environment. The neighborhood should make people feel close and intimate, promote people’s spiritual pleasure, and reduce the depression caused by social and technological progress.

The design is no longer limited to architecture, but should include psychology, ecology, environmental science and sociology, etc. All disciplines interpenetrate each other to achieve the organic combination of human and nature, human and society.