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JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING https://doi.org/10.1080/13467581.2023.2208204 An insight into the urban smellscape: the transformation of traditional to contemporary urban place experience a a a a b Kalyani Wankhede , Amit Deshmukh , Amit Wahurwagh , Akshay Patil and Mahesh Varma a b Department of Architecture and Planning, Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology, Nagpur, India; Department of Chemical Engineering, Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology, Nagpur, India ABSTRACT ARTICLE HISTORY Received 28 December 2022 Sensescape, predominantly explored from the viewpoint of viewscape and soundscape, needs Accepted 24 April 2023 investigation from other senses such as smell, a vital part of place experience. The place experience not only depends on senses but also on how senses act within the context. Cities KEYWORDS across developing countries, with dynamic tension of coexistence between traditional and Smellscape; traditional urban modern, are experiencing transformations, inducing major alterations in urban land-use sys- precinct; transformation; tems and have started to impact upon urban place experience and urban smellscapes diver- smell liking; place liking sities. Smellscape is a complex phenomenon posing challenges to the reductionist approach for better insight, hence requiring an effective conceptual framework for analyzing the smells- cape with reference to the transformations in cities. Four urban node precinct typologies, as representative cases from developing countries, namely, traditional, partially transformed, transformed and majorly transformed urban nodes, are assessed and presented in this paper. The smellscape and urban place experience, their interconnectedness, and interdependency are investigated in this paper. Based on interpretive epistemology from the cognition frame- work, the paper posits that the smellscape has a vital role in urban place experience, it correlates and influences urban place liking, and provides clues for theory building for the assessment of smellscape, an underexplored intangible aspect of sensory place experience. 1. Introduction negatively affect the place experience and quality of The urban ambiances are shaped and embodied life (Henshaw 2013; Xiao, Aletta, and Radicchi 2022). experienced as a result of diverse, at times distinctive, The focus on eradication and deodorization of smell in a fusion of seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, and planning policies resulted in olfactory blandness of smelling atmospheric characteristics (Thibaud 2011). place, which often contributes to a loss of the sense Senses perform a vital role in shaping the people– of place (Meighan 2007), so the smell-sensitive urban place relationship, and this long-term relationship planning is important for sustainable development. establishes identities and meanings to the physical Manzo explained that in the phenomenology of environments that create a sense of place (Davidson place experience is the most important element in and Milligan 2004). Sense of place expresses how peo- perception (Manzo and Lynne 2005). However, places ple feel about the place, and level of sense of place have different levels of sensory experiences as some varies depending on activities and meaning of place. places have a rich sensory experience which provides The higher level of sense of place encourages the opportunities for social interactions and encourages people interaction to connect with that place, and people to stay a little longer. Predominantly in dense that is why the creation and conservation of sense of urban fabric with a variety of activities, the sensory place is important in maintaining the quality of the experience allows people to remember the place in place (Nijafi, Kamal, and Mohd Shariff 2011). The a distinctive way by contributing to place identity. It experiences of smells enrich our understanding of is evident in various researches that the senses are an places and behavioral responses in places (Classen, important part of people’s everyday experiences Howes, and Synnott 1994). The smell plays different (Zardini 2006). roles in place experience and leads to behavioral Sight and hearing are the remote senses, whereas changes, such as therapeutic smells, natural smell the sense of smell, touch, and taste get activated by affects the human behavior positively; on contrary, going closer. Our senses of smell, touch, and taste are the smells such as smell from waste and traffic closely connected to our emotions (Smith and Susan CONTACT Kalyani Wankhede email@example.com Department of Architecture and Planning, Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology, Nagpur 440010, India © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group on behalf of the Architectural Institute of Japan, Architectural Institute of Korea and Architectural Society of China. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent. 2 K. WANKHEDE ET AL. 2001). Visual memories are good for immediate recall, (Xiao, Tait, and Kang 2018). Researcher Kate McLean whereas the smell impression remains longer in the used the method of smellwalk to generate the smellscape memory, thus playing an important role in the place maps having a graphical representation of various aspects experience (Herz and Engen 1996). Smell contributes of smellscape (McLean 2013) (McLean 2020). The case to the socio-cultural characteristics of communities study of Istanbul demonstrate how an embodied and places by adding distinctive impressions. Smell approach, which focuses on smell as intangible heritage offers an identity to a place that not only becomes that can serve as a catalyst for individuals and commu- part of our experience but also guides the behavior nities to access their memories, emotions, and values and within that place. The daily association with the smell increase the awareness of the role scent plays in defining enriches our sensory experience. However, deprivation locality (Davis and Thys-Şenocak 2017). The scent walks of smell makes places placeless that is culturally are conducted in Kastamonu city by Elif Ayan Ceven and unknown environments which are similar anywhere Nur Belkayali to expose the significance of the smell in (Relph 2016). Smells are unavoidable in people’s rou- experience of place and its role in urban memory which tine life in cities, varyingly sourced and around us; finally emphasized the importance of smell for urban there is an invisible world (Rodaway 1994). The litera- design and planning (Ayan Çeven and Belkayalı 2023). ture on the urban sensory environment reported the Monica Degen and Gillian Rose used the survey based smell from the point of view of its air quality, referring empirical analysis with the help of walk and interviews in to its negative aspects as nuisance odour and propo- sensescape study and suggested that the sense of place sals for its control (Degen 2014); however, very little highly depends on sensory experience. However, the research is reported on the positive aspects of smell. experience is mediated by factors like bodily mobility The study of smellscape in an urban context is signifi - and perceptual memories that affects the present experi- cantly connected with health and wellbeing (Spence ence of place by multiplying or dulling the sensory 2020; Gorman 2017) and is the most complex in nature encounter (Montserrat Degen and Rose 2012). Daniele (Henshaw 2013), yet the complete sensorial range is Quercia and fellow researcher examined the role of social absent from urban studies. media in mapping of urban smell environment. The study The viewscape is always used as a major design con- contributed in providing methodological tool for smells- sideration; however, the pioneer sensory scholar cape research and providing insight in how the city smells Pallasmaa stated that every experience of the environ- at macro-level which is important part of urban planning ment is multisensory (Pallasmaa 2005). The concept of (Quercia et al. 2015). Researcher PerMsgnud Lindborg and smellscape is first put forward by Porteous (1985). He Kongmeng Liew explored the smellscape imagination by investigated the experience of a place through smell comparative study of smellscape experience through and showed the importance of smellscape. In further onsite sensory walk ratings and virtual walk reproduced research, the “olfactory geography” is the term used by with audio-visual recording of the same place and mea- Rodaway (1994) to demonstrate the connection between sured the degree of association between real and ima- smell, smell sources, people, and place on a regional scale. gined smellscapes (Lindborg and Liew 2021). The In recent years, Henshaw used the term smellscape to smellscape study of old city center of Guangzhou, China, describe the smell environment of a precinct in totality. analyses smellscape of place by smell tracking and social She suggested that the smellscape investigation can be media data which helped in drawing smell maps. These implemented on three different levels like micro, mid, and maps areanalysed and tested through social media data macro by focusing on people’s experience through smell- and semantic analysis, resulted in inferring the impact of walk (Henshaw 2013). The research by Obrist analyzed the smell on neighborhoods environment and its key factors participants smell stories and summarized it into 10 cate- which helped in formulating strategies for planning with gories of people’s associations of smells in everyday life, integration of smell, leading to the sustainable develop- which helps in creating reference for designers to create ment of place (Gao et al. 2022). pleasant smell experiences (Obrist, Nicolas Tuch, and The traditional historic urban precinct has a unique Hornbæk 2014). Smell can arouse strong emotions and character that manifests certain qualities like a variety carry various meaning associated with people and place. of functions, an interesting streetscape which results in While exploring the smellscape and its theoretical back- a pleasant, lively, and safe experience of place (Nabil ground, research by Jeiling Xiao examines perceptual Felix and El-Daghar 2019). The last few decades of process of smellscape through case study of intramodal human history showed rapid urbanization with grow- transit space. The study helped in understanding the ing densities, resulting in a challenge to design, man- relationship of people and their emotional response trig- age, and conserve traditional historic urban areas. gered by smell in physical setting along with subjectivities Cities across developing countries, with dynamic ten- (Xiao, Tait, and Kang 2020). The further detailed study sion of coexistence between traditional and modern, focuses on pleasantness as the perceptual quality of are experiencing transformations in economies, socie- smellscape and provides a perceptual model for smells- ties, climates, politics, technologies, and so forth. These cape pleasantness with nine pleasantness indicators transformations are inducing major alterations to JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING 3 urban land-use systems and have started to impact where the researcher tries to derive a theory about the urban place experience (Mehanna and Abou 2019). phenomenon of interest from the existing observed Urban smellscape diversities are disappearing because data and supported with quantitative analysis of the use of sanitary chemicals, detergents, junk (Bhattacherjee 2012). In this method, observations are foods, and so on, but not to the extent of developed interpreted at two level as subjective perspectives of the countries. Thus, the complex phenomenon of smells- social participants and the meaning of the participants’ cape, besides the reductionist approach, needs inves- experiences to built rich narrative story about the phe- tigation with reference to the transformations in cities. nomenon in specific physical setting. This approach is Smellscape involves the interplay of factors like nature inclusive of multiple disciplines from professional of smell, environmental context, and the perceiver which domains and may indeed make a contribution to under- all are hard to capture. The smellscape acts differently in standing the relationship between smell and place. In a different context which makes it unique and case- previous research on smellscape, the method of smell- specific. Literature on smellscape presents a multitude walk (Allen 2021; Conti, Guarino, and Bacenetti 2020) of dimensions of urban areas, including various spatial was developed and proved as the most efficient and and temporal aspects, such as seasonal smells of plants, appropriate perceptual method to collect smellscape making it dynamic in nature. The published literature on clues at the precinct level. The researchers used people’s smellscape has not yet explored its full potential (Xiao language (Majid and Burenhult 2014) to collect data 2018). Further research is therefore required to get better from interviews as respondents’ feelings and responses insight into the complex nature of urban smellscape. The in their own language indicate their evaluation of the conventional approach of urban planning, such as devel- quality of place (Henshaw 2013). The smellwalk is effec - opment control regulations are inadequate and they deal tive tool for data collection as it provides rich descriptive with some negative aspects of smell; but in all these data about senses and place along with rating by parti- instances of design, the smell is not used as a resource cipants which is important for understanding intangible so the policies focusing on the positive aspect of smells- aspects of sensescape. It is used by many researcher like cape are important for meaningful placemaking. Adams (2009), Bruceand Davies (2009) and Paquette However, the present literature on smellscape provides and McCartney (2012) and specifically for urban smells- insight into the elements composing the smellscape, and capes, as Bouchard (2013), Neil Bruce, Henshaw, and the mapping techniques of smellscape, along with few Payne (2015), and Perkins (2020). The smellwalk requires models for placemaking, and very little research is done, sensitized researcher with active smelling process to specifically from developing countries, which draws understand through the process of actively smelling, attention towards transforming cities and the respective the researcher becomes sensitized to understand every- change in the richly organically evolved traditional his- day life of people with reference to smell, it results in toric urban smellscape. The study thus aims to investigate providing rich data which is more than vision and more how different determinants influence the smellscape of than representation (McLean 2017). a precinct and comparative analysis of four urban node The objective methods do not justify the study of precinct typologies, as representative cases from devel- intangible aspects like smellscape holistically. This oping countries, namely, traditional, partially transformed, methodology is appropriate as it provides opportu- transformed, and majorly transformed (urban nodes), are nities to explore the place with peoples’ perception. assessed to get an insight into the urban smellscape of The range of different outdoor urban environment transforming the city. Based on interpretive epistemology with unique land use, different set of activities, green from the cognition framework, the paper posits that the spaces, and busy roads were rated by participants on smellscape have a vital role in urban place experience, the basis of detected smell and their liking. This rating smellscape and urban place experience are intercon- is further investigated through qualitative interviewing nected and interdependent, it correlates and influences method for triangulation. This provides the data ana- urban place liking and provides clues for theory building lysis at different levels to understand complex phe- for the assessment of smellscape, an underexplored nomenon like smellscape. intangible aspect of sensory place experience. Figure 1 explains the strategies and tactucs used as research methodology for smellscape study of identified case. The determinants of the sensory experience of 2. Methodology place are reviewed on the Likert scale and evaluated with correlation analysis (between smell liking and place To understand the complex nature of the smellscape, liking) as an objective dimension for measuring and physical, cultural, and social aspects of the urban land- understanding characteristics in a particular context. scape, and how they are linked and intertwined, and Then, the comparative analysis of the four cases having how they interact with and influence one another, an different smellscape scenarios are demonstrated. interpretive epistemology from the cognitive frame- The research question here is to what extent does work, the multi-methodical approach is implemented. the relationship between place liking and smell liking Interpretive epistemology suggests qualitative research 4 K. WANKHEDE ET AL. Figure 1. Research method. exist? Is there any pattern of the relationship in the liking are explored. At the tactics level, the smellwalk traditional and contemporary built environment in (with predefined routes and stopping points as indi- terms of smell perception? At the strategic level, the cated in Figure 2) and semi-structured (pre-walk and contexts, user profile, the focus of study, and determi- post-walk) interviews from participants are implemen- nants showing the relationship of smell and place ted to collect data. The data are analyzed with the help Figure 2. Overview of identified cases with associated general information. JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING 5 of correlation analysis and comparative analysis. (B) The Bajiprabhu Deshpande square (Ram Nagar) Comparisons between onsite observations and opi- is a representative case example from a partially nion surveys (on place experience, smell detection, transformed urban node precinct typology hav- and perception) are performed which helps in the ing a prominent temple precinct within the evaluation of reliability, validity and triangulation. The neighborhood. It was a planned neighborhood, methodological framework of systems of inquiry away from the historic core, but with the course (Groat and Wang 2002) provided the opportunity to of time developed into a neighborhood with understand and perform an objective assessment of a partially contemporary character. the urban smellscape and urban place experience of (C) The Athrasta square (the junction of eight four identified urban node precinct typologies. roads) (Lakshmi Nagar) is a representative case example from a transformed urban node pre- cinct typology (away from the historic core, with 3. Introduction to identified cases dominant green space, different land-uses, and Case study as a research method is used to explore the buildings in a planned manner). smellscape scenarios (Seawright 2008). The city of (D) The Variety square (Sitabuldi) is a majorly trans- Nagpur (a typical example from tropical a composite formed urban node precinct typology which ear- climate) is taken as a representative case of Asian cities lier was residential and now transformed into for heuristic purposes; it is one of the fastest developing commercial land-use with contemporary facades. cities with different spatial scales and precinct typolo- gies. Many historic cities from developing nations are The smellscape is context specific phenomenon affected undergoing various transformations and has wide range by external features like climatic conditions, volatile nat- of urban scenarios to explore from traditional built set- ure of the scents, temporal activities. However, for tings to transformed built settings. In urban areas, the unbiased and precise data collection the smellwalks are nodes are most accessible spaces to everyone in every- conducted at same time (morning and evening time) with day life. Nodes are surrounded with various functions, same group of participants. Figure 2 shows the prede- temporal activities and diverse users, which provides fined smellwalk route with stopping points of all four meaningful interaction of people and place (Trip 2007). cases. The smellwalks are conducted at morning and Therefore, to study the smellscape of city of Nagpur, evening time when there are maximum activities taking four nodes are selected as cases from four different place. Despite relatively small sample size (36 partici- typology of spaces that is traditional to transformed pants), the individuals of different age groups (aged urban settings. These four cases with different spatial between below 20 and above 60 years, as illustrated in scales and typologies contain different smells varieties Figure 3) and professions (with various individual charac- and provide unique experiences to examine. Hence, teristics) and participants playing a different role (illu- these four cases with different characteristics present strated in Figure 4) in each case are taken which within same city provides inclusive study of smellscape provides rich data giving insights into the various inter- within unique contexts of Asian city. connected dimensions of place experience. The representative cases as urban node precinct These participants are directly engaged with identified typologies namely, traditional (historic core), partially places either on a daily, occasional, or recurring basis and transformed (planned neighbourhood), partially trans- provided data to improve the understanding of how formed (planned neighbourhood with green spaces), individuals experience the place. The residents and shop and majorly transformed (commercial core) are identi- owners (insiders) are significant place users as they can fied for investigation. All these nodes have unique relate to the place in their daily activities and may know blend of activities with different smell sources and the evolution of place and temporal activities within presence of users from diverse socio-cultural back- a precinct. Thus, the sample size of this type of individuals grounds; furthermore, these cases also reflect people’s is about 45% of total participants as they are part of the daily city life offering various rich context-specific per- socio-cultural identity of the place. Local visitors are the ceptual characteristics of smellscape for investigations. group of individuals (20% of total participants) having a strong connection in terms of functional or psychologi- (A) The representative case from traditional organi- cal attachment to the place. The outside visitors include cally evolved urban node precinct typologies is the participants who are from other cities or other parts of taken as Kalyaneshwar Temple square (Mahal), the city occasionally visiting the place and are included to which is the historic core of the Nagpur city and understand the place identity from non-residents’ (out- has a traditional character from Bhonsale siders) perspective. The group of professionals includes the participants who have knowledge of the present dynasty architecture and mixed land-use of urban scenario, policies in terms of the determinants of the building providing a unique sensory the sense of place. The responses from this group are experience. 6 K. WANKHEDE ET AL. Figure 3. Participants’ age profile. Figure 4. Participants’ role profile. important for understanding the architecture, planning, these place experiences, the smell is observed as the designing, management, and maintenance of the place; crucial close-range sense in framing the sensory about 15% of the participants are from this group. The experience of a place. Figure 5 summarizes the com- participants from different age groups are considered for parative opinion and validates the question under this research as the place experience differs according to exploration and further investigation of the complexity age and role profile. The gender and age bias are nullified of the relationship between smell and place liking is by using gender and age balanced sample selection. implemented as follows. With an objective of comparative comprehension of the smell and place liking, opinion surveys and partici- 4. Analysis and discussion pant’s rating for smell and place liking are noted for all identified cases on the basis of a four-point Likert scale In order to understand the role and importance of in which “4” is very much liked and “1” is very much different senses in the positive meaningful perception disliked. The urban fabric of all four cases evolved with of a place experience, participant’s opinion surveys the passage of time, hence showing less or more and ratings for identified cases are noted. And, in Figure 5. Comparative opinion (average rating) on the importance of sense affecting the positive perception of the identified cases. JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING 7 degree of traditional and contemporary-built fabric (i) The average smell and place rating of case 4 elements. The linear relation between two variables, (Variety square, Sitabuldi) are found to be the the smell and the place, is observed. Figure 6 shows lowest (1.81 for smell and 1.92 for place) among the relationship between smell and place rating, and all cases (refer to Figure 6). The land use and Figure 7 and Table 1 summarize the correlation details transportation made Variety square, Sitabuldi, for all identified cases. a major shopping destination, creating huge Figure 6. Comparative smell and place (average) rating of all identified cases. Figure 7. Smell versus place ratings. 8 K. WANKHEDE ET AL. Table 1. Correlation between smell and place rating of all identified cases. Confidence interval Name of cases Code Correlation coefficient (R) Significance A Kalyaneshwar Temple square, Mahal Case 1 0.50 0.17 0.73 Moderately low positive correlation B Bajiprabhu Deshpande square, Ram Nagar Case 2 0.42 0.07 0.68 Low positive correlation C Aath Rasta square, Lakshmi Nagar Case 3 0.26 −0.11 0.57 Low positive correlation D Variety square, Sitabuldi Case 4 0.12 −0.25 0.46 Mildly low positive correlation development pressure and hence offers sub- [refer to Table 1 and Figure 7(b)], which is low stantial opportunities for encroachment which positive correlation. As the sense of smell is results in hindrance to traffic and pedestrian associated with emotions, over a period of movement and insufficient open space made time, smellscape induces a sense of belonging adverse impact on the place liking (Akshay and liking. Qualitative analysis of participants’ Patil 2013). The smell is low rated, because of (such as, residents, local visitors, and so forth) the low-maintained spaces, pollution from vehi- responses revealed a peculiar form of emotional cles and surrounding construction activities, association behaviour (however, the descrip- lack of vegetation, and smoke from various res- tion of which is beyond the scope of this paper). taurant extraction vents. As the smell and place (v) In contrast, the average smell and place rating rating is the lowest in this case, and its correla- of case 1 (Kalyaneshwar Temple square, tion coefficient is also observed as the lowest Mahal) is found to be the highest (2.76 for [0.12, refer to Table 1 and Figure 7(d)], which is smell and 2.81 for the place, refer to a mildly low positive correlation between smell Figure 6) among all cases. Case 1 is an inter- and place liking. This smellscape can be consid- esting and a rich traditional architectural his- ered as a feedback process of the system of the toric core with the unique character of the majorly transformed urban precinct. indigenous built environment accommodat- (ii) On the other hand, the average smell and place ing mix land use, varied facades (small unites, rating of case 3 (Athrasta square, Lakshmi Nagar) is many openings – doors, windows, and balco- found to be 2.21 for smell and 2.38 for the place nies), safe, planned religious spaces (and pro- (refer to Figure 6). Case 3 is a contemporarily trans- cession path), lively and attractive shopping formed urban precinct with comparatively less streets. Case 1 has an aromatically appealing mix of functions and activities. The precinct is traditional temple precinct as a dominating also densely vegetated and dominated by resi- feature, additionally imparting aromas from dential buildings. The smell rating of case 3 corre- surrounding vegetable and flower market, sponds with the presence of comparatively fresh tempting odors from food vendors and haw- air because of vegetation, controlled built densi- kers, providing a wide range of smellscape ties, and improved sanitary systems, and hence experiences. In comparison with other cases, attracting more joggers, sitters, and lingerers. the correlation coefficient of this case is And, the correlation coefficient of this case is observed as 0.50 [refer to Table 1 and observed as 0.26 [refer to Table 1 and Figure 7(c)] Figure 7(a)], which is moderately low positive which is a low positive correlation between smell correlation. and place liking. (iii) To a great extent, average smell and place rating Out of all these cases, cases with more degree of of case 2 (Bajiprabhu Deshpande square, Ram traditionally built environment typology, senses are Nagar) (2.01 for smell and 2.09 for the place, refer engaged to a greater extent, when compared with to Figure 6) and case 3 is moderately similar, as it cases having more degree of new contemporary/trans- has the same mix of functions and activities, formed urban precinct typologies. Additionally, in all whereas the vegetation is slightly lesser in case 2. these cases, a positive correlation between smell and And, the presence of a traditional temple precinct place rating is observed (refer to Figure 7). (with religious ambiance) made this place The sense of smell is intimately connected to the a destination for senior citizens, devotees, and experience of a place. There are three major factors joggers (and Yoga performers). This place can influencing the place experience of an individual: cog- often be seen with a dynamic disposition of festive nitive, behavioral, and emotional factors (Semken (Ganesh Puja, Durga Puja, Ram Navami, and so 2009). The cognitive and behavioral factors explain forth – changing the smellscape drastically) and the physical characteristics of the place as form and happening ambiance. function, whereas emotional factors explain non- (iv) In this case, the correlation coefficient between physical characteristics of the place like meaning. the smell and the place is observed as 0.42 Investigation of the smellscape and place experience JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING 9 and their interconnected and interdependent relation- street built interface encouraging human inter- ship provided ground to understand smellscape and action, and promoting psychological and physi- its vital role in shaping a place experience. This is done cal security, whereas 57% and 50 % of the by identifying nine determinants (common in urban participants rated vegetation and public realm- public spaces of Asian cities) for the place experience, infrastructure as least affecting parameters for namely – safety, air quality, sound quality, odor quality, place experience, respectively [Figure 8(a)]. built form and enclosure, vegetation, public interac- Because of the dense urban fabric, there are tion, public infrastructure, and waste management. very few trees and green spaces as well as The evaluation through these determinants is done in owing to high vehicular and pedestrian flow a number of subjective ways (such as theoretical lenses on narrow streets, there is no space for suffi - of age and gender), whereas a rating scale (having cient public infrastructure. This kind of chaos specific responses) with positive, negative, and neutral though self-organized is noticeable in most of is presented in this paper. Figure 8 summarizes the the historic areas of developing countries percentage-wise comparative place experience evalua- (Akshay Patil 2013). tion (that is, the rating scale of positive, negative, and (B) The percentage-wise participant’s opinion on neutral) of all four identified cases with respect to place experience in case 2 is shown in above-mentioned nine determinants. Figure 8(b). In this case, the odor quality and waste management are rated as the (A) In case 1 (Kalyaneshwar Temple square, Mahal), highest positively affecting determinants 57% of the participants rated safety and public (because of the contemporary interventions realm-interaction as the highest positively and partial infrastructural transformations affecting parameters considering the mix-use such as facilities of waste management, buildings on the edge of the street with many cleaning, and efficient maintenance) (and openings towards the street providing good the presence of floral scent from the temple Figure 8. Comparative percentage-wise participant’s opinion on place experience of all identified cases. 10 K. WANKHEDE ET AL. front and flower vendors influencing the odor presence of pedestrians), whereas air quality quality positively), whereas safety and built and public realm-infrastructure are rated as the form and an enclosure are rated as the high- highest negatively affecting determinants est negatively affecting determinants (because of heavy traffic, the air quality (because of individual houses on large plots, degraded, and additionally, due to the insuffi - there is almost no enclosure to the street, cient infrastructure in this overly density pre- resulting in very less building and street cinct) for place experience of Variety square, interaction, which made the streets unsafe Sitabuldi. at afternoon and night-time) for place experi- ence of Bajiprabhu Deshpande square, Ram The system of smellscape perception emerges Nagar. from the four significant factors that are, smell (C) The percentage-wise participant’s opinion on (including its sources and type), environmental place experience in case 3 is shown in quality, place character, and lastly, the perceiver. Figure 8(c). Out of these determinants, vegeta- There exists a close interrelationship between envir- tion and air quality are rated as the highest onmental quality and place liking (or perception). positively affecting determinants (because of Similarly, a close interrelationship also exists the presence of greenery and the resultant between the type of smell detection and smellscape good air quality) along with sound and odor liking (or perception). In the survey, detected smells quality, whereas built form and enclosure and are noted and classified according to the standard public realm-interaction and safety are rated as smell wheel (Henshaw 2013). Smells are likely to be the highest negatively affecting determinants governed by the operating hours of the source of (as the individual houses are on large plots, their production. Hence, smellwalks are so imple- there is almost no enclosure to street and less mented that they cover almost all typical hours of public realm-interaction) for place experience of a day. In the smellwalk, participants mentioned Athrasta square, Lakshmi Nagar. types of (detected) smell and further responded (D) Figure 8(d) shows the percentage-wise partici- that how much is its impact on perceived smells- pant’s opinion on place experience in case 4. cape as positive, negative, and neutral. Figure 9 Out of these determinants, safety and public shows the percentage-wise participant’s opinion realm-interaction are rated as the highest posi- on smell detection and smellscape perception of tively affecting determinants (because of the all identified cases. Figure 9. Smell detection and perception. JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING 11 Figure 10. Urban sensory experiences and smellscape. (A) In case 1, the Kalyaneshwar Temple square, forth. These aromas are opined as positively Mahal, out of the detected smells, floral scent affecting sacred pleasant smellscape percep- is rated as the highest positively affecting factor tion; at the same, few participants opined as (this rating is clearly because of the floral scent negatively affecting perception classifying from the temple and surrounding flower shops these aromas as a pollutant, smoky, filthy, and within the precinct creating pleasant atmo- so forth. sphere), whereas smells from air/traffic pollu- (B) In case 2, the floral scent and smell from food tants and building materials are rated as the and waste management are rated as the high- highest negatively affecting factors [this rating est positively affecting factors (because the maybe for the smell from heavy traffic along floral scent from the temple along with the with the nearby continuous (some or other) smell from eateries of surrounding areas within construction activities within the dense urban clean neighborhood creates interesting and fabric of the precinct] for smellscape percep- a livable atmosphere) whereas smells from air/ tion. A multitude of responses is noted for the traffic pollutants and smoke and other are rated smoky aroma from incense/Dhoop, cow dung as the highest negatively affecting factors (classified under other religious smells), and so (because air pollution from heavy traffic and 12 K. WANKHEDE ET AL. congestion at the square as well as the smoke Case 4 is a majorly transformed urban precinct with and other smell due to temporal activities and mono-functional buildings, chaotic mix of functions and informal gatherings at the square sometimes activities, encroached streets, pedestrian-vehicle conflicts, creates unpleasant atmosphere) for smellscape and dismissive and uninspired streetscapes. The everyday perception of the Bajiprabhu Deshpande commercial activities, vending activities, pedestrian, and square, Ram Nagar. traffic concentration creates chaos for most of the time. (C) In case 3, smells and fragrances of the vegeta- The smell sources are aried, but the concentration of smell tion and natural elements are rated as the high- within the transformed built fabric does not provide sig- est positively affecting factors (as dense nificant smell experience and hence the smellscape liking greenery and large trees are dotted in and gets affected and few times smell identity gets lost in around the node precinct creating healthy plea- chaos. The smellscape experience can be curated with sant atmosphere), whereas smells from non- the sensitive planning while transformation. food and air/traffic pollutants are rated as the highest negatively affecting factors (although in this urban node precinct, there is a presence of 5. Conclusion dense greenery and large trees, this node is a junction of eight vehicular roads with dense Based on interpretive epistemology from the cognition pedestrian crowds) for smellscape perception of framework, comparative analysis using smell walk, semi- Athrasta square, Lakshmi Nagar. structured (pre-walk and post-walk) interviews, on-site (D) In case 4, out of huge diversified urban observations, the correlation between smell liking and smells, hardly few detected smells are clearly place liking, opinion surveys (on place experience, smell rated as positively affecting factors [being detection, and perception) of smellscapes of four identi- a major urban node of the city, smells from fied urban node precinct typologies as representative eateries, street vendors, shops of various cases, namely, traditional, partially transformed, trans- types of goods (that is why the name formed, and majorly transformed urban nodes, are inves- Variety square), and dense pedestrian crowds, tigated. In these precinct typologies, moderately low attracting a lot of people to this (highly trans- positive, low positive, low positive, and mildly low positive formed commercial) precinct] for the urban correlation between place liking and smell liking are smellscape experience of this precinct. And, observed, respectively. The following is the contribution: comparatively more types of smells are detected and perceived as negatively affect - (a) The smellscape has a vital role in urban place ing factors for the urban smellscape of Variety experience, and they are linked and intertwined. square, Sitabuldi precinct, namely smells They interact with and influence one another in from, air/traffic pollutants, and people (as positive or negative way. The study of tradi- roads are narrow with heavy traffic along tional urban node showed that the rich smells- with the huge number of pedestrian crowds, cape due to temple activities along with and very few trees within the dense urban architecturally significant built form provides fabric of the precinct making the atmosphere pleasant place experience. The pleasant place uncomfortable). experience gets amplifies with variety of smells from religious temporal activities and get dimin- The comparative analysis of smell liking and place ished when temple, vending and surrounding liking provides case-specific inferences with refer- activities are close. ence to degree of transformation of urban node (b) There exists a positive correlation between smell precincts. The relationship between urban sensory liking and urban place liking. The paper helps to experience and smellscape is represented with understand the complexity of the olfactory system photographic documentation of all four cases and the relationship between the smellscape and inFigure 10. the urban place experience. Further transforma- In Case 1, the fragrance from flower vendors and the tions in the traditional urban areas are likely to religious use of fragrance from temple offerings, cam- emerge in the coming years. However, in such phor, and incense sticks creates a serene atmosphere. a transition process, the continued existence of The everyday religious activities along with supporting richly organically evolved urban place experience vending activities make the place vibrant and provide depends mainly on multilevel holistic intervention rich sensory experience for most of the time. 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Journal of Asian Architecture and Building Engineering – Taylor & Francis
Published: Nov 2, 2023
Keywords: Smellscape; traditional urban precinct; transformation; smell liking; place liking
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