Occupants' Perception of Openness in Federal Courthouses

Jan 08, 2013

In a previous study the authors attempted to identify the underlying dimensions of openness in federal courthouse architecture. Using a behavioral lens, this paper reports the findings of a follow-up study that focused on the building occupants’ response to clients’ interpretations, representing a key conduit between clients’ intention and public response. 108 courthouse occupants, from 3 federal courthouses, completed a questionnaire survey during 2004 - 2005. Data suggests that occupants conceive openness mainly in terms of transparency and exposure. Further, statistical analyses also suggest that openness may be a two-dimensional construct, from the occupants’ viewpoint, in contrast to the four-dimensional framework hypothesized previously. Findings highlight subsets of interpretations that constitute occupants’ perception of openness, articulating an important schema in the link between clients’ intentions and public perception. The study creates the necessary foundation for a deeper understanding of and solutions to the security-openness conflict.

Debajyoti Pati
Mahbub Rashid
Craig Zimring
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