DSGN07083 2019 Environmental Psychology for Design

General Details

Full Title
Environmental Psychology for Design
Transcript Title
Environmental Psychology for D
80 %
Subject Area
DSGN - Design
YADA - Yeats Academy Art Dsgn & Arch
07 - NFQ Level 7
05 - 05 Credits
Start Term
2019 - Full Academic Year 2019-20
End Term
9999 - The End of Time
Maeliosa O'Brien, Peter Scanlon, Claire Lorusso, Elaine Regan, Rowan Watson
Programme Membership
SG_DINTE_B07 201900 Bachelor of Arts in Interior Architecture and Design SG_VINTE_B07 201900 Bachelor of Arts in Interior Architecture and Design SG_DINAD_H08 202000 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Interior Architecture and Design SG_D3INT_H08 201900 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in 3Interior Architecture and Design

This module provides an accessible introductory bridge between the fields of Environmental Psychology and Design. Factors influencing human perception, experience and well-being within place are introduced along with key underlying principles and supporting theory. Lectures introducing such theory and principles are complemented by assignments that strengthen understanding of both personal environmental experience and of specific implications for design. These activities include (i) experiential mapping and (ii) a detailed functional case study analysis.  

The module extends and consolidates knowledge of environmental psychology acquired during prior modules such as Interior Architecture Studio, Design Fundamentals and Visual Material Culture.  The theory and activities within this module strengthen students’ understanding of the psychological relationship between place, activity and human experience, deepening their design sensitivity in anticipation of practice.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module the learner will/should be able to;


Discuss influential theories and developments in the human sciences and psychology and their implications for design.


Map and reflect on selected aspects of human behaviour and/or perception observed in a live setting.


Identify and interpret the design factors influencing human health, psychological well-being and efficiency for a specific functional setting.


Research and identify the ethical implications and parameters of a defined research activity.


Interpret personal design concerns considering information sourced independently from the human sciences.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

The module is delivered using a combination of lectures, group tutorials, individual tutorials.  An experiential and student centred approach promotes personal, reflective and active engagement with learning, fostering confidence and competence in the communication of ideas.  Clearly defined learning outcomes are constructively aligned with assessment criteria.

Module Assessment Strategies

Lectures introducing  theory and principles are complemented by assignments that strengthen understanding of both personal environmental experience and of specific implications for design. These activities include the following:

(i) experiential mapping;


(ii) a detailed functional case study analysis.  

Repeat Assessments

Repeat assessment will be dependent on failed components.  This will be confirmed at formal exam boards.

Indicative Syllabus

Week 1: Introduction to module topics and assignments (including methodologies and parameters):

  • Experiential mapping project- topic of the student’s choice;
  • Group research: Environmental psychology for a functional typology.

Lecture & discussion topics:

Weeks 2-4: Influential Concerns:

  • Culture and social learning;
  • Personality traits; evolution and gender;
  • Processing and managing information (perception, cognition, memory);
  • Gestalt Psychology;
  • Universal design.

Weeks 5-8: Psychology of behaviour within place:

  • Meanings of place;
  • Territoriality and defensible space;
  • Privacy, crowding, density and spatial composition with reference to proxemics, kinesics, chronemics and ergonomics.

Weeks 9-12: Perception of place:

  • Perception and the senses (with Gibson’s affordances);
  • Wayfinding;
  • Aesthetics and colour.

Weeks 13, 14: Seminars:

The students will apply the principles of environmental psychology to functional typologies such as the following:

  • Residential environments;
  • Schools, learning environments and places for the young;
  • Environments for the elderly and disabled;
  • Work place environments;
  • Health environments;
  • Retail environments;
  • Hospitality environments.

Students will share their findings in a seminar, which may be open to students and faculty from other years/programmes.

Please note that the topic order is indicative.


Coursework & Assessment Breakdown

Coursework & Continuous Assessment
100 %

Coursework Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Reflective Experiential Map of Place Continuous Assessment Assignment 50 % Week 5 2,4,5
2 Group research: Environmental psychology for a functional typology. Continuous Assessment Group Project 50 % Week 13 1,3

Full Time Mode Workload

Type Location Description Hours Frequency Avg Workload
Lecture Classroom Equipped for OLL. Theoretical input in digitally enabled architectural studio space 1 Weekly 1.00
Directed Learning Classroom Equipped for OLL. Practical, tutorial and workshop in digitally enabled architectural studio space 1 Weekly 1.00
Independent Learning Not Specified Independent learning 4 Weekly 4.00
Total Full Time Average Weekly Learner Contact Time 2.00 Hours

Required & Recommended Book List

Recommended Reading
1990 The Experience of Place Vintage
ISBN UVA:X002532562

Reprint. Originally published: New York: Knopf, 1990.

Recommended Reading
20/05/2019 The meaning of the built environment : a nonverbal communication approach. University of Arizona Press

Recommended Reading
20/05/2019 The perception of the environment: essays on livelihood, dwelling and skill Routledge

Recommended Reading
20/09/2019 Place advantage: Applied psychology for interior architecture John Wiley & Sons

Recommended Reading
20/09/2019 The shaping of us: how everyday spaces structure our lives, behaviour, and well-being Little, Brown Book Group

Recommended Reading
2012-02-29 Environmental Psychology for Design Fairchild Books
ISBN 1609011414 ISBN-13 9781609011413

How does a room affect an occupant's behavior and well-being? How does a building influence its residents' health? Environmental Psychology for Design, 2nd Edition, explores these questions with an in-depth look at psychosocial responses to the built environment. Awarded the 2006 ASID Joel Polsky Prize, the first edition served as an introduction to the discipline of environmental psychology and inspired readers to embrace its key concepts and incorporate them into their practice. This 2nd edition continues to analyze the interaction between environments and human behavior and well-being, while exploring how individual differences related to age, gender, and cultural background impact that interaction. The book provides many proactive initiatives designed to minimize stress and maximize user satisfaction, helping readers to create more comfortable spaces that will both satisfy the needs of the intended occupants and expand the scope of design.

Recommended Reading
1997-04-22 Color in Interior Design CL McGraw-Hill Education
ISBN 0070501653 ISBN-13 9780070501652

Publisher's Note: Products purchased from Third Party sellers are not guaranteed by the publisher for quality, authenticity, or access to any online entitlements included with the product. Create dazzling color schemes for any indoor space You'll quickly sharpen your color skills--and open the door to a more rewarding and profitable career with John F. Pile's Color in Interior Design. He takes the mystery out of working with color, showing you step-by-step how to plan color relationships in an organized and systematic way...prepare color schemes for interiors...make color charts...select materials...put together color samples...work with additive and subtractive color...understand the psychological impact of color...use color in functional spaces...and solve a wide range of practical color problems. This hands-on color design tool packs illustrations of the best color work by well-known professionals--plus a survey of color in historic interiors that will guide you through restoration and adaptive reuse projects.

Module Resources

Non ISBN Literary Resources

Augustin, S., Frankel, N., & Coleman, C. (2009). Place advantage: Applied psychology for interior architecture. John Wiley & Sons.

Bechtel, R. B., & Churchman, A. (Eds.). (2003). Handbook of environmental psychology. John Wiley & Sons.

Evans, G. W., & McCoy, J. M. (1998). When buildings don’t work: The role of architecture in human health. Journal of Environmental psychology18(1), 85-94.

Joye, Y. (2007). Architectural lessons from environmental psychology: The case of biophilic architecture. Review of general psychology11(4), 305-328.

Kopec, D. A. (2006). Environmental psychology for design. New York: Fairchild.

Rice, C. (2006). The emergence of the interior: Architecture, modernity, domesticity. Routledge.

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Additional Information