Our environment can have a huge impact on both how we behave and feel about ourselves. This may be in part physiological; too hot, too cold, bright or low light etc but much relates to what we perceive the environment tells us about the people who inhabit it, including ourselves. We constantly interpret our environment, reading social messages from the architecture, maintenance and customisation of the built environment around us – “Is this place for important people, wealthy people, the streetwise, or trendy?” And importantly “do I belong?”
Our ability to control and shape the spaces and places we inhabit has a significant effect on how we think about ourselves and therefore behave. In turn this will have an impact on our environment.
My research draws on environmental psychology theory and is primarily qualitative in approach. My recent research looked at the relationship between young people’s identity and the social housing where they lived in an inner London area of economic inequality and disparity (which was reflected through the built environment).
I am also a trained Playshaper trainer (www.playshaper.org.uk) and have delivered training and facilitation with planning officers, regeneration leads and local authority policy officers about the role of the built environment in encouraging play, children’s development and a more child friendly society.
I would love to hear from anyone interested in or working on similar issues. Please also get in touch if you would like more information about my work or a full copy of the research.