Life in Context: Fundamental Concepts in Environmental Psychology


This course will provide an introduction to the interdisciplinary social science of environmental psychology, which places human experience in the social, cultural, historical, political, physical, and nonphysical contexts that shape our individual and collective world views. Key topics will include framing the concepts of space, place, and environment; the social production of nature; public and private space; children, youth, and environments; neighborhood and community; therapeutic and restorative spaces; the built environment; and the digital environment. By the end of the semester, students will have a fundamental understanding of the field and be able to apply an interdisciplinary and spatial lens to the study of human experience. In addition to a broad range of readings from the social sciences, human geography, and urban studies, students will present an “environmental autobiography,” make several field trips, and maintain a journal throughout the semester that will be used to develop essays. This course lends itself to a wide range of conference work with an emphasis on engaging with the world, including participatory research, ethnographies, and visual and multimedia projects.