Urban Smellscapes: Understanding and Designing City Smell Environments (Paperback) book cover

Urban Smellscapes

Understanding and Designing City Smell Environments

By Victoria Henshaw

© 2014 – Routledge

272 pages

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Paperback: 9780415662062
pub: 2013-09-25
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About the Book

We see the city, we hear the city, but above all: we smell the city. Scent has unique qualities: ubiquity, persistence, and an unparalleled connection to memory, yet it has gone overlooked in discussions of sensory design. What scents shape the city? How does scent contribute to placemaking? How do we design smell environments in the city?

Urban Smellscapes makes a notable contribution towards the growing body of literature on the senses and design by providing some answers to these questions and contributing towards the wider research agenda regarding how people sensually experience urban environments. It is the first of its kind in examining the role of smell specifically in contemporary experiences and perceptions of English towns and cities, highlighting the perception of urban smellscapes as inter-related with place perception, and describing odour’s contribution towards overall sense of place. With case studies from factories, breweries, urban parks, and experimental smell environments in Manchester and Grasse, Urban Smellscapes identifies processes by which urban smell environments are managed and controlled, and gives designers and city managers tools to actively use smell in their work.


"… the book is a valuable and detailed addition to the literature on the human senses, urban design and planning, and space and place. It combines rich qualitative data and examples of how smells are mediators and signals of urban life and for urban planners and politicians. With the necessary geographic sensitivity of designing and planning built environments also according to the sense of smell, the applicability and alignment of other planning methods and policies can be attained." – Bodo Kubartz, Independent Scholar, Brüggen, Germany

"Victoria Henshaw wants to bring our sense of smell back to the fore -- and is building a collaborative odour map to help. Her recent book, Urban Smellscapes, argues that scent has been crucially overlooked in urban planning."

Oliver Wainwright, Wired Magazine

Table of Contents

List of Figures and Charts Acknowledgements Glossary Chatper One: Introduction PART I: SMELL, SOCIETY AND CITIES Chapter Two: Perspectives on Smell and the City: Part I Chapter Three: Perspectives on Smell and the City: Part II Chapter Four: Smellwalking and Representing Urban Smellscapes PART 2: SMELL SOURCES IN THE CITY Chapter Five: Air Quality, Pollution and Smell Chapter Six: Food and Smell Chapter Seven: Urban Policy and Smell PART 3: SMELLSCAPE CONTROL, DESIGN AND PLACEMAKING Chapter Eight: Processes of Odour Management and Control in the City Chapter Nine: Designing with Smell – Restorative Environments and Design Tools Chapter Ten: Odour, Placemaking and Urban Smellscape Design Conclusion References

About the Author

Victoria Henshaw is a Lecturer in Urban Design and Planning at the University of Sheffield. She writes the blog Smell and the City. Her work centres on sensory perception and the design and management of cities, and has featured widely across the media including the Independent and BBC Radio 4 (UK), American Public Radio, Radio New Zealand and ABC Radio Australia (Perth). Prior to entering academia Victoria worked in town centre management and urban development.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / Urban