The spatial configuration of local climate zones reveals effects on wayfinding in human walking

Ping Yu Fan, Kwok Pan Chun*, Mou Leong Tan, Daphne Ngar Yin Mah, Ana Mijic, Graham Strickert, Omer Yetemen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The importance of easy wayfinding in complex urban settings has been recognized in spatial planning. Empirical measurement and explicit representation of wayfinding, however, have been limited in deciding spatial configurations. Our study proposed and tested an approach to improving wayfinding by incorporating spatial analysis of urban forms in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Great Bay Area in China. Wayfinding was measured by an indicator of intelligibility using spatial design network analysis. Urban spatial configurations were quantified using landscape metrics to describe the spatial layouts of local climate zones (LCZs) as standardized urban forms. The statistical analysis demonstrated the significant associations between urban spatial configurations and wayfinding. These findings suggested, to improve wayfinding, 1) dispersing LCZ 1 (compact high-rise) and LCZ 2 (compact mid-rise) and 2) agglomerating LCZ 3 (compact low-rise), LCZ 5 (open mid-rise), LCZ 6 (open low-rise), and LCZ 9 (sparsely built). To our knowledge, this study is the first to incorporate the LCZ classification system into the wayfinding field, clearly providing empirically-supported solutions for dispersing and agglomerating spatial configurations. Our findings also provide insights for human-centered spatial planning by spatial co-development at local, urban, and regional levels.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0289780
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number9 SEPTEMBER
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Fan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


KPC is supported by the Vice Chancellor’s Challenge Fund (CF) Award (2023-2025) and the Accelerator Programme (2022-2024) from the University of the West of England.

FundersFunder number
University of the West of England


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