co-creating the future … simulating office occupation patterns with conversation-based social models

Agent-based Semiology – Simulating Office Occupation Patterns with Conversation-Based Social Models is a paper I contributed to the 40th Conference on Education and Research in Computer Aided Architectural Design in Europe (eCAADe) in Ghent (BE) titled Co-Creating the Future: Inclusion in an through Design. The conference proceedings can be downloaded for free here. Please find the paper’s abstract here, the full paper is available on my research blog, strictly for non-commercial, academic and research purposes only.

Optimizing Office Occupation Patterns With Agent-based Simulations

Robert R. Neumayr (Vienna), 2022.

Abstract: The importance of fostering conversation to optimize office space performance has been well researched since the introduction of the 1970s cybernetic office layout strategies and recent research suggests that formal and informal conversations at work can no longer be meaningfully separated, making efficient conversation patterns even more central to a successful office layout in the age of knowledge economy. In such a setup, social factors, like hierarchy, group membership, or expertise, contribute more to the formation of an office’s spatial occupation patterns than the space’s morphology itself. Consequently, standard tools of space evaluation, such as Space Syntax, that rely on the analysis of topological description, yield inconclusive results, as the quantitative description of the space can no longer be matched to the changing patterns of interactions observed in that space. The research methodology described in this paper, therefore, aims to simulate and evaluate contemporary office environments in a different way. Embedded in the conceptual framework of agent-based simulation, it does not foreground the configuration of space itself but focuses on developing a population of agents sophisticated enough to allow for the emergence of an a simplified, yet plausibly life-like collective office scenario. Here, special occupation patterns evolve over time based on series of subsequent communication events between agents in a space, where participants, locations, total number of conversations, and durations depend on previous events as well as on a simplified social model. Different office scenarios are then analyzed against a set of selected criteria to identify successful office configurations. This paper describes the methodology’s underlying concepts and setup, introduces the agent-based simulations that were developed and presents research results and speculates about future next steps towards a more comprehensive agent-based social model.

Keywords: Design Methodology, Agent-based Modeling, Office Space Simulation.