General Session: The Next Environmental Revolution


Royal Ballroom

  • AIA CEU: 1. 0 LU


Most people appreciate that well-designed buildings, landscapes and streetscapes are more appealing than poorly designed ones. But several decades of scientific advances in cognitive neuroscience and environmental psychology have revolutionized our understanding of human cognition and perception, pointing to the conclusion that neutral built environments are a fiction. Good design demonstrably promotes healing, health, and wellbeing; child cognitive development and learning; productivity in the workplace; and prosocial conduct in neighborhoods and cities, and poor design retards or inhibits these important social values. This lecture will lay out the evidence for the Next Environmental Revolution and lay out some principles for human-centered design.

Learning Objectives

OBJ#1  Describe how the current Mind-Body concept is being superseded by a new paradigm of human experience -- Mind-Body-[Built] Environment – and understand its implications.

OBJ#2  Identify the role of scientific and social scientific research in developing Human Centered Design methodologies.

OBJ#3  Implement scientific and social scientific data when developing Human Centered Design priorities and decisions.

OBJ#4  Explain the centrality of Human Centered Design to built environments that prioritize the mental and physical well-being of people.


Sarah Williams Goldhagen, Writer and Critic; Contributing Editor, Architectural Record; Contributing Editor, Art in America,