Neurocities: Psychological impact of actual built environments

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk


Several studies have explored the relationship between natural and built environments and their effect on mood, stress, and cognition (Moore, 1981; Ulrich et al., 1991). However bio-climatic impacts as well as spatial configurations on physiological perception lack investigation in the actual environment.

NeuroCities is experimenting in the actual urban environment and measures the aggregate entropy of a select number of urban areas in the Gold Coast Council area and relate those to empirical measures of psychological wellbeing obtained by human subjects in those areas. Psychological wellbeing will be measured via objective (i.e. heart-rate variability, cortisol levels, and electrodermal skin conductivity) as well as subjective measures (i.e. quantitative and qualitative self-reports). Once we have established the functional relationship between our bio-climatic and spatial environmental measures and the measures of psychological wellbeing, it will be possible to use our method to predict the anticipated psychological impact of draft urban designs before they are implemented. This method intends to provide a valuable additional source of scientific information that can be applied in the decision-making process alongside other relevant variables for the design and planning of healthful cities.

Additional information

On the 9th of September, CITIES in partnership with the NYUAD psychology department will host Dr. Daniela Ottmann and Dr. Oliver Baumann from Bond University, Australia. They will present their cutting-edge research on the relationship between natural and built environments and their effect on mood, stress, and cognition. Their innovative approach placed investigation and measurement in the actual environment, with a particular focus on hot environments such as that in the UAE.
Period9 Sept 2021
Held atCITIES: Centre for Interacting Urban Networks
Degree of RecognitionInternal