HOT OR NOT – IDENTIFYING EMOTIONAL “HOT SPOTS” IN THE CITY
Cities become increasingly populated, which calls for new approaches to ensure that cities continue being viable places for citizens to live in. The focus of these approaches should be on understanding citizens regarding their feelings, needs and behaviours. This includes an understanding of the perception of and the emotional reactions to urban structures from citizens’ points of view. Following the approach of urban emotions (Zeile et al., 2005), different objective physiological and subjective self-report measures were used in an experimental study in order to capture these emotional responses and to visualize the data in an emotional map. A small sample ( N = 13) of students was asked to collect positive as well as negative hot spots in a park area in the city centre of Stuttgart, i.e. spots that elicit positive or negative reactions. The results show the general potential of the park to function as a recreational area, but also identify room for improvement (e.g. concrete structures in the park). While physiological measures are useful to capture subtle emotional responses in larger areas, subjective measures seem to be more useful for understanding the reasons of the emotional responses by identifying positive as well as negative hot spots. A visualization tool introduced in this paper allows urban planners and other stakeholders (e.g. citizens, tourists) to view the results and analyse the data in an accessible way.