AMS WeSense

Social sensing and the perception of the urban environment

Which environmental factors influence our perception of the urban environment? What impact do sounds and smells have on our perception of different places? And how do these factors affect us?  

This pilot project uses an iPhone app to collect information about citizens’ perception of public spaces in Amsterdam such as parks, streets and squares.

New technologies such as social sensing by smartphone apps can provide dynamic data about citizens’ perception of urban surroundings. Spatial decision-making is often based on physical data and expert-based interpretations of people’s needs. In many cases however, citizens’ experiences differ from those of experts. Meaning that today we have ample data available about the physical environment in Amsterdam, but a layer of data about how citizens perceive those environments is still lacking. Instead of relying on expert-interpretations, the aim of this research is to provide data on the actual perceptions on public spaces in Amsterdam. This information should lead to new insights and assist in the development of policy for public spaces.

Download the app and create an overview of your experiences and compare these real-time with others.

The first results of this research are displayed on the website

Project duration
Summer 2016 – Summer 2017

Project leader
René van der Velde
TU DELFT, Faculty of Architecture, Chair of Landscape Architecture
Principal researcher
Alexandra Tisma, Senior researcher Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, The Hague

Rigina Christiaans, Manager Visuals & Data, Planning and Sustainability, Municipality of Amsterdam, Amsterdam
George McKerron and Nickolas Begley, Psychological Technologies (PSYT), London
Henk Staats & Rick Fransman Department of Social and Organizational Psychology Leiden University
DIMI – Delft Infrastructure and Mobility Initiative

Contact person(s)
René van der Velde
Phone: +31639251090

Alexandra Tisma
Phone: +31641312236

Iphone app 3

This project is an AMS Stimulus Project. The aim of Stimulus Projects is to give to new and existing AMS partners support to innovative research that has a strong upscaling potential. The projects should realize short-term research output, which act as a catalyst of a new solution direction, concept or approach.