Seat-choosing behaviors and visibility: A case study of library reading rooms as study environments

Lisa Lim, Minseok Kim, Jaepil Choi, Craig Zimring

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Individuals choose seats as part of their everyday activities. This study explored seating patterns at a library where students chose their own seats to study individually. The study focused on the visual environments of the library as an extrinsic factor that impacts seat choice. The authors reviewed a year’s worth of data, confirming several relationships between seat preferences and visual environments, most notably that seats that gave students a higher likelihood of seeing others while not being seen themselves were selected faster, chosen more often, and occupied longer. The study also provides methodological contributions to the field. It validated the effect of visibility variables by comparing two constructs: visible area and likelihood of visibility. The likelihood-of-visibility variables, namely visual access and visual exposure, showed positive and negative linear trends, respectively, with regard to seat preference. However, the construct of visible area from each seat did not show a linear relationship with seat preference. The authors developed and proposed a new analytical method that reflects the impact of orientation on visual access and exposure. The results of this study suggest that designing spaces to have more seats with low visual exposure and high visual access may enhance overall seat utilization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-290
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Architectural and Planning Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018


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