Research Topic

Environmental Psychology and the Built Environment

About this Research Topic

A marked rise in population around the world, and the physical and social realities of climate change, apply pressure to architects, planners, developers, and researchers alike to understand how best to design sustainable, efficient, and aesthetically-pleasing built environments. With this pressure comes an affordance for innovation in engineering and construction principles and practices. The scientific community has, in parallel, been stimulated to augment knowledge about the ways in which humans transact with built spaces. It is timely and prudent to communicate where and how these works intersect.

Environmental psychology is an interdisciplinary sub-field of psychology that studies, using both theoretical and practical frameworks, how people perceive, feel about, and behave in, a variety of built and natural settings. The body of environmental psychology literature concerning the mechanisms by which humans sense, perceive, navigate, remember, and find meaning in different spaces and places has not often merged with literature on building design and construction. However, in recent decades, journals in the fields of engineering, planning, and architecture, along with those dedicated to applied psychology research, have published findings that account for building users’ needs, preferences, and reactions to designs in a range of settings, from public centers, airports, offices, libraries, prisons, schools, residences, hospitals, and more.

Research that investigates concepts and methods appropriate to the social sciences, and environmental psychology in particular, often focus on human responses to levels of stimuli in an environment and their effect on users in a number of contexts (e.g., acoustics, lighting, air quality, thermal comfort; stress, productivity, health and wellbeing). Studies that investigate predictors of user controllability and satisfaction, as well as of participatory planning, sense of place, and attitude or behaviour change are becoming increasingly relevant as more modern buildings around the world are being designed or retrofitted with sustainability in mind.

The aim of this Research Topic is two-fold:

(1) to explore novel and promising strategies to help design and construction practitioners, and the general public, to understand building user needs and preferences concerning a variety of settings

(2) to communicate successful ways in which the principles and practices of environmental psychology have been utilized in an interdisciplinary design cycle. Papers that report ‘lessons learned’ from projects or studies are encouraged. We welcome original research, reviews, commentaries and perspectives on topics dealing with these issues, with a focus on advancing interdisciplinarity between design, construction science, and environmental psychology. In addition, we are especially interested in perspectives on new, but empirically-supported, approaches to teaching environmental psychology within the disciplines of sustainable engineering, design, architecture, and construction.


Keywords: User experience, behaviour, psychology, design, environment


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

A marked rise in population around the world, and the physical and social realities of climate change, apply pressure to architects, planners, developers, and researchers alike to understand how best to design sustainable, efficient, and aesthetically-pleasing built environments. With this pressure comes an affordance for innovation in engineering and construction principles and practices. The scientific community has, in parallel, been stimulated to augment knowledge about the ways in which humans transact with built spaces. It is timely and prudent to communicate where and how these works intersect.

Environmental psychology is an interdisciplinary sub-field of psychology that studies, using both theoretical and practical frameworks, how people perceive, feel about, and behave in, a variety of built and natural settings. The body of environmental psychology literature concerning the mechanisms by which humans sense, perceive, navigate, remember, and find meaning in different spaces and places has not often merged with literature on building design and construction. However, in recent decades, journals in the fields of engineering, planning, and architecture, along with those dedicated to applied psychology research, have published findings that account for building users’ needs, preferences, and reactions to designs in a range of settings, from public centers, airports, offices, libraries, prisons, schools, residences, hospitals, and more.

Research that investigates concepts and methods appropriate to the social sciences, and environmental psychology in particular, often focus on human responses to levels of stimuli in an environment and their effect on users in a number of contexts (e.g., acoustics, lighting, air quality, thermal comfort; stress, productivity, health and wellbeing). Studies that investigate predictors of user controllability and satisfaction, as well as of participatory planning, sense of place, and attitude or behaviour change are becoming increasingly relevant as more modern buildings around the world are being designed or retrofitted with sustainability in mind.

The aim of this Research Topic is two-fold:

(1) to explore novel and promising strategies to help design and construction practitioners, and the general public, to understand building user needs and preferences concerning a variety of settings

(2) to communicate successful ways in which the principles and practices of environmental psychology have been utilized in an interdisciplinary design cycle. Papers that report ‘lessons learned’ from projects or studies are encouraged. We welcome original research, reviews, commentaries and perspectives on topics dealing with these issues, with a focus on advancing interdisciplinarity between design, construction science, and environmental psychology. In addition, we are especially interested in perspectives on new, but empirically-supported, approaches to teaching environmental psychology within the disciplines of sustainable engineering, design, architecture, and construction.


Keywords: User experience, behaviour, psychology, design, environment


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

10 August 2019 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

10 August 2019 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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