Ergonomics of spatial configurations: a voxel-based modelling framework for accessibility and visibility simulations

S. Azadi, N. Bai, Pirouz Nourian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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How can we assess the ergonomic comfort of a sizeable spatial configuration such as the indoor space of a complex building or an urban landscape when we design, plan, and manage the space? Is there a fundamental difference between indoor [architectural] spatial configurations and outdoor [urban] spatial configurations with respect to ergonomics? Can we have a unified approach to the computational study of spatial ergonomics? This paper addresses these fundamental questions while providing a brief taxonomic review of the scholarly literature on these matters from a mathematical point of view, including a brief introduction to the modelling-based approaches to the computational ways of studying the fundamental effects of spatial configuration on human behaviours. Furthermore, the paper proposes a computational approach for ergonomic assessment of spatial configurations that explicitly allows for combined accessibility and visibility analyses in the built environment. The gist of this approach is the conceptualisation of spatial configurations as rasterised (voxelated) 2D manifold walkable terrains whose voxels have 3D vistas, unifying the simulations and analyses of accessibility and visibility. The paper elaborates on how such a representation of space can provide for conducting various sorts of computational queries, analyses, and simulation experiments for research in spatial ergonomics. The paper concludes with a mapping of the computational modelling approaches pertinent to the study and assessment of spatial ergonomics; and marks avenues of future research on various categories of exploratory, generative, and associative models for ex-ante and ex-post assessment of ergonomic matters at spatial scales.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1300843
Number of pages15
JournalFrontiers in Built Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • spatial ergonomics
  • accessibility
  • visibility
  • architectural morphology
  • urban morphology
  • simulation models


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