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adopting positive behaviors.

Environmental psychologists apply their knowledge in many different ways, including:

Conducting research on messages that motivate people to change their behavior.
Spreading the word about environmental solutions.
Uncovering why people may not adopt positive behaviors.
Encouraging people to rethink their positions in the natural world.
Helping clients to live more sustainable lives

A recent application of environmental psychology comes to us from expert researcher Dr. Arline Bronzaft. She has been working with the Department of Environmental Protection of New York City to provide “interactive, multi-disciplinary, STEM lessons tailored to teach elementary, middle and high school students about sound and noise in their neighborhoods.” Her work has influenced the development of New York City’s noise code policy and raised awareness about the adverse effects of noise on humans

Another huge area of application for knowledge gained within the field is that of discovering how we can more effectively influence people and whole societies towards more ecologically and environmentally sustainable behavior

So far, we’ve found that using specific kinds of messages and framing things in certain ways are effective in encouraging better environmental behavior, along with promoting environmental responsibility as a social norm and offering educational programs to raise awareness .

Using Environmental Psychology in Design and Architecture
As you might have guessed, environmental psychology has a lot to say about effective design and architecture. Based on the studies we touched on briefly above, we know that places like botanical gardens with lush flora and colorful plants and flowers to view, help people restore their vitality and sense of peace. We also know that actively engaging with an environment is good for us, so designing interactive and engaging environments can boost our attention span.

Environmental Psychology Applied to Architecture
Photo by Matthew Henry from Burst

Findings like these barely scratch the surface of how we can apply environmental psychology to design and architecture, but they help form the basis of a broad range of knowledge on the subject. There are studies on every facet of human-environment interaction you can think of, including lighting, space planning, ergonomics, acoustics, branding, interior design, proportions, color scheme, and use of empty space.

The use of environmental psychologists in building planning isn’t too commonplace yet, but as the field grows and matures, you’ll see more and more psychologists consulting on the designing of buildings and spaces for a wide variety of purposes.