In achieving the objective of the study, the remainder of this paper is organized as following, see Fig. 1.

Fig. 1
figure 1

The research methodology, Source: The researcher

Psychology perspective of the human senses

Before discussing on the spaces design criteria from the human sense’s perspective, we should first define the open spaces: “the space that exists between buildings and some of them, or that which forms squares in which numerous activities can be done”. Then outline the human senses and its benefits’ briefly as “a physiological system which sends the physical environment to signals reaching the brain to help us interpret and perceive the world around”. In other words, it is the gate through which human perceive the surrounding environment. Human also has other senses in addition to the common five ones as mentioned herewith after (Zimbardo et al. 2002):

  • Balance: It is a mechanical sense provides leading contribution that makes humans perceiving the gravitational force, the direction and speed at which we are moving even if the eyes closed without losing balance (Mollet 2008).

  • Acceleration/Equilibrioception: It is a mechanical sense that makes human feel a change in the speed of the body’s movement, whether with acceleration or deceleration, and the excitation causes pleasure, as stimulated in swing kids (Morris 2004).

  • Joints position Sense: Also consider as mechanical sense that depends on nerve receptors of self-movement and body positioning in both walking and running, helping balance through perceived feelings of both feet and leg joint (Mollet 2008).

  • Pressure: It is one of the internal sensations that constitutes a person feel comprehensive (stomach, bladder, rectum) or contraction (intestine), it helps in forming behavioral impulses to satisfy human needs such as eating or defecating (Morris 2004).

  • Internal chemical senses: It is a group of sensations that have chemical receptors, determines the absorption of some kernels in blood as carbohydrates, salts, and some other particles. Thus, helps to feel hunger (concentration of carbohydrates in blood) and thirst (increased concentration of salts in blood) (Cena and Clark 1981).

  • Temperature sense: It is responsible for determining the temperature of the human body to keep its living and wellness, when this sense fails off with the effect of either high or low temperatures, the human feels distressed (Cena and Clark 1981).

  • Vision: Sight or vision sense which means the capacity to witness and understanding the whole surrounding details. Seeing technically is a complex action, depends on information send by lens from the light reflects off an object to the retina then the cornea bends the light works like the shutter of a camera.

  • Hearing: An important sense that aid in the perception of meanings, as nerve receptors in the inner ear, which carries sound and equilibrium data to the brain.

  • Touch: It is carried out by skin. Touching is to use hands to feel, move, operate, or otherwise encounter something (Strickland 2011).

  • Smell: It is a chemical sense conserving the ability of nose to distinguish various smells and it conceived the most typical of the sense data. It likewise holds a stellar role in the sense of taste.

  • Taste: Is one of the complex operations that depend on many senses, which is able of tongue to distinguish taste, it affiliated to both smell and internal pressure senses, as it discovers when the tummy is full, the hot from the cold food through thermal sensors spread in the oral cavity. And of course, this sense has a potent influence on the perception of Urbanism, especially food court Tourist spaces.

Old design standards

Kevin Lynch design standards/criteria

Lynch et al. (1984) methodology has divided designing urban spaces into three main groups: “General, sensuous, and special standards”.

These standards can be divided into a group of points that deal with all space’s aspects “environmental, urban, economic, and social nature”, as Table 1.

Ann Beer, Breen, Rigby standards

As Beer and Higgins (2004, p.8) stated, the basic concepts of influence in urban space planning can be summarized as follows.

  • Physical environment: It refers to all environmental features that exist in the surrounding areas.

  • Flora and Fauna: The space design should not alter the flora and fauna of the surrounding environment.

  • Soil: The nature of soil affects the use of materials and treatments. The designer’s success measured by his ability to adapt the quality of the soil to serve the design purposes.

  • Topography:-Beer believes (2004, p.8,39) that topography contributes to regulating and distributing activities.

  • Water: It means preservation of any natural source of water.

  • Climate and air quality: It means taking into consideration the local climatic features of the site.

  • Landscaping: The use of forming elements as brushes and plants to give the site a distinct personality.

  • Diversity of human experience and the human habitat.

    1. (a)

      Impression: It intended to impress users with the place by achieving a set of vocabulary, including diversity.

    2. (b)

      Privacy: Whether it is auditory or visual, should consider that element differs from one culture to another

    3. (c)

      Built environment: It refers to the user’s sense of the surrounding environment, but this will lead to less privacy and crowded spaces.

    4. (d)

      Noise: This measure should be respected by the designer so that the users can feel comfortable in the space.

    5. (e)

      Security: The increasing in the sense of security, the greater the interaction and feeling attached to the place, this can be achieved through the visual clarity and defining a clear site boundary.

    6. (f)

      Green areas: The presence of greening within the urban space increases the users’ admiration.

    7. (g)

      Personality: Done by providing a set of characteristics and vocabulary within the space in a way that gives unique style.

    8. (h)

      Aesthetics: To provide a degree of aesthetic features within the space (Beer et al. 2004).

    9. (i)

      Visual axes:- It refers to the necessary of opening visual axes on the waterfront (in the case of spaces with the waterfront). (Breen and Rigby 1994).

Through previous study of Kevin Lynch’s and Ann Beer methodology contributing to the design considerations for open urban spaces (social-aesthetic-economic-environmental-urban) related to the H.S., these aspects can be shown in Table 2.

Table 2 The relation between Lynch and Pierre spaces designed criteria and the human senses

Special design criteria for spaces overlooking the waterfront:

  • Pedestrian Connectivity: On larger sites, adequate pedestrian access should be provided and linked to the waterfront to increase accessibility, when possible. These pedestrian paths need to be designed to be safe and comfortable (Pandita et al. 2021).

  • Surface Parking: Parking spaces are not recommended along the waterfront and alternative locations should be provided. However, if it is necessary to provide a parking lot close to the waterfront, the visibility of cars on the site should be reduced by planting trees to obscure the view of the parking lot (Pedro 2020).

  • Vehicular Access: Cars must be separated from pedestrians when they reach the waterfront. Providing continuous vehicular access external to the pedestrian area to connect with the neighbouring properties is one method of doing this (Oriana and Marta 2010).

  • Lighting: Provide consistent lighting along the beach path and in public gathering places (Ivana et al. 2022).

  • Seating area: Providing seating areas that that are appropriate to each space and are directed towards the waterfront (Min et al. 2019).

  • Signage: These must be made of durable materials that can withstand moisture and the environmental conditions surrounding waterfronts (Reyhan et al. 2015).

  • Walls: Avoid having empty or ugly walls overlooking the waterfront and good architectural details should be used on building facades to create a visually pleasing view (Cecil Group Inc 2008).

  • Sea walk: The pedestrian path must be unobstructed along the path and the materials from which the track is made must be resistant to moisture and surrounding climatic factors (Amany and Rasha 2020).

Case studies (international, Arab, and local experiences)

This study has taken the International, Arab, and Local experiences as its focus on designing waterfront open urban spaces. The objective of this section is to illustrate and assess the concluded theoretical principles, as sense of place or identity in relation with activities that are accorded in physical elements, giving them meaning (Relph 1976) see Fig. 2

Fig. 2
figure 2

Sense of place and relation with activities, physical setting and meaning, Source: (Relph 1976)

The analysis study was also based on identifying and reclassified design standards related to the H.S.. The chosen examples fulfil the following selection criteria:

  • Diversity of waterfronts experiences (sea–river) within the urban space.

  • Development experiences should be succeeded and distinguished for users as well as planners.

  • Focusing on the experience’s positive aspects of which is already implemented.

London city

London is the capital and biggest city of England and the United Kingdom, stands on the River Thames in the south east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea. The river Thames flood through central London and the city’s top tourist, leisure, including Tower Bridge, the London Eye, and the Tower of London as mentioned in Haughton et al. (1997).

Through the analysis of the spaces design standards in London the follows were observed, see Table 3:

Table 3 Design criteria considered when analyzing spaces in London

Jeddah city

Jeddah is a Saudi city which is sited in the coast east of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the primary port on the Red Sea Its waterfront is the interface along the seacoast of the city from north to south. The Corniche is the central place for tourism and recreational activities for residents and visitors.

It is separated into three sectors: north, central, and south cornice (UN HABITAT 2019).

It is now possible to classify the design standards for Jeddah spaces as mentioned below (Al Ghamdi 2003), see Table 4.

Table 4 Design criteria considered when analyzing spaces in Jeddah

Sharm El-Sheikh City

An Egyptian city on the southern summit of South Sinai Governorate, on the coastal strip along the Red Sea. Sharm El Sheikh is the executive hub of Egypt’s South Sinai Governorate, which cover the smaller coastal towns of Dahab and Nuweiba as well as, St. Catherine and Mount Sinai.

The city and holiday resort are a significant center for tourism in Egypt, while also drawing in many international conferences and diplomatic meetings (Global Environment Facility Investing in Our Planet Portal, Green Sharm El Sheikh 2018), Classify the design criteria for spaces Sharm El-Sheikh as follows, see Table 5.

Table 5 Criteria considered when analyzing spaces in Sharm El-Sheikh

Analytic study: case study evaluation and analysis

The analytical study focused on “perceptions of city people” of a varied range of city users. To accomplish this objective, the data collection stage as considered one of the most significant scientific research methods, mainly in behavioral studies, which refer to the individual’s human needs, and their service facilities. This methodology of the field study applied in Fuwwah City, Kafr El Sheikh Governorate, Egypt, which carried out in two main stages, see Fig. 3.

Fig. 3
figure 3

The methodology of data collection, Source: The researcher

Fig. 4

Questionnaire analysis results, Source: The researcher

First: field observations:

This field observation was conducted to understand the waterfront images, analysis, and identity through the following (Fig. 4):

  • Environmental considerations

    The city owns a special climatic nature as its dominated by the Mediterranean.

    The city owns a special climatic nature as its dominated by the Mediterranean climate. Low temperature with frequent rains and sudden weather changes. Plant elements have not been used to provide shade areas in the summer (thermal sense). As for the topography and nature, there is no contour along the seacoast, which helped the pedestrian path be in the same level (Ministry of State for Environmental Affairs, Environmental Affairs Agency 2008).

  • Urban/functional considerations

    The concrete urban treatments that help formulating the visual image, which symbolized by floors and tiling vocabulary, as cement tiles used. Sitting areas provided, just along the cornice, but for signs and paintings were used randomly.

    Using simple lighting elements was noticed. Attention awarded to pedestrian services, such as garbage bins. There are no specific entrances, no attention being afforded to the landscape elements as (separators, sculptural elements, distinctive marks, water elements or even greenery coverage).

    The electrical outlets have been treated in a good safe manner with no risk to pedestrians. Pedestrians’ density observed to be decreases during the daytime, particularly in summer while increases at night.

    The communication between pedestrians’ and surrounding environment is poor, with no variety in the vocabulary alternative.

    Activities as cafeterias in front of the Corniche do not exist widely, alike parking lots.

  • Social/humanitarian considerations

    Most of the users are city residents, noticed that the city identity not considered in the spaces. Equally for the disturbing sounds, the Corniche path not separated from the surrounding activities as privacy not considered.

  • Aesthetic/perceptual considerations

    The identity and visual clarity elements are one of the important, influencing factors in the aesthetic considerations, unfortunately, does not appear within the Corniche space, as poor landscape vocabulary used, as for the aesthetic factor, the seating areas distributed randomly.

  • Economic considerations

    The lighting poles chosen from untreated iron, as a result, periodic maintenance was necessity needed, led to cost increase.

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