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2010/1 Module Catalogue
Module Provider: Psychology Short Name: PS.M6
Level: M Module Co-ordinator: SPELLER GM Dr (Psychology)
Number of credits: 15 Number of ECTS credits: 7.5
Module Availability


Assessment Pattern
Module Overview


Module Aims
Learning Outcomes

1. To introduce students to the philosophy, historical foundations and development of the sub-discipline of environmental psychology.

2. To expose students to the major theoretical formulations and models in the area of environmental psychology in order to provide a conceptual underpinning to inform their approach to research and practice.

3. To provide the students with an awareness of the array of qualitative and quantitative methods employed in environment-behaviour research.

4. To raise the awareness of students to cognate disciplines, including but not exclusively, architecture, planning, design and environmental sciences in order that they are aware of the perspectives and orientations of these disciplines and can engage in a mutually informative dialogue.

5. To facilitate self-reflection in support of personal and professional development via constructive feedback.

6. To enable students to link theoretical and empirical questions to social and environmental issues with a view to understanding the practical applications of environmental psychological theories and empirical findings.

7. To impart procedures and practices for the ethical conduct of research.

Module Content

Week 1: Introduction. This provides a brief introduction to the origins of Environmental Psychology (EP) and its historical, theoretical and practical development; how EP is evident in many countries and is multi-disciplinary; and how the diversity of the research work in each country is shaped by different social, economic, political and environmental forces. It includes an introduction to different world views/paradigms, tracing the development from architectural determinism to interactional, organismic and transactional paradigms. 

Week 2: Privacy and Personal Space. How are these concepts defined? What are the important aspects? What are the functions of privacy and personal space? What theoretical perspectives have been useful in applications to environmental planning?
Week 3: Crowding and Territoriality. Key terminology and components of crowding. Main theoretical models of crowding. Main perspectives of territoriality, unique qualities of human territoriality; types of territoriality; infringement upon territory. Overview of the relationship between privacy, personal space, crowding and territoriality.

Week 4: Perspectives of Place. Taking an historical development, four main place perspectives will be examined: phenomenology; behaviour settings; psychology of place; and the people/place transactional view of settings. The work of key researchers for each perspective will be discussed and similarities and differences highlighted.

Week 5: Identity and Place. The concept of ‘Place Identity’ and its theoretical and empirical development will be outlined. An in-depth discussion of the relationship between spatial change and identity processes will focus on the need to include the spatial environment in psychological studies.

Week 6: The Concept of Place Attachment. Theory of Attachment and a brief historical development of empirical and theoretical work on the concept of Place Attachment. Discussion of current research evaluating the critical aspects of Place Attachment.

Week 7: Key Issues within Residential Environments. Key issues covered are residential satisfaction; sense of community; chosen and enforced relocation; current research on people’s sense of mobility; and empirical work on the meaning of home.

Week 8: Place and People’s Experience of Enforced Change. Brief explanation of EIA with the main focus on the need for SIA. What are the psychological responses to a major and/or sudden environmental change? Parkes’ (1971) concept of psycho-social transitions. The lack of a coherent theoretical framework which could be applied to each major environmental impact. Ways of easing the adaptation process for individuals and communities.

Week 9: Place-making using Public Participation. Definition, various models (e.g. Arnstein, 1969, Paris, 1979, Moscovici, 1976, etc.). Why is there a need for PP? What are the advantages/disadvantages of PP? What are the positive psychological responses; and which variables precede or mediate the PP process? How can a PP exercise be evaluated (from the participants’ and organisers’ point of view)?

Week 10: As part of the module assessment, students will have prepared their presentation of a theme addressed during the preceding 9 weeks and will present their work (as a training exercise in public speaking).

Methods of Teaching/Learning

Lectures, workshops and group discussions


Components of Assessment






Percentage weighting





Essay of 3000 words






Presentation including a 2000 word outline




Selected Texts/Journals

Bechtel, R.B. & Churchman, A. (eds) (2002) Handbook of Environmental Psychology. New York : John Wiley & Sons. Bell , P.A., Greene, T.C., Fisher, J.D., & Baum, A. (2001) Environmental Psychology (5th ed). Forth Worth, : Harcourt Brace. Bonnes, M. & Secchiaroli, G. (1995) Environmental Psychology: A psycho-social introduction.  London : Sage. 
Bonnes, M., Lee, T., & Bonaiuto, M. (eds.) (2003) Psychological Theories for Environmental Issues. Aldershot : Ashgate Publishing. 
Cherulnik, P.D.  (1993) Applications of Environment-Behaviour Research: Case studies & analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 
Duncan, J. & Ley, D. (eds) (1993).  Place/Culture/Representations.  London : Routledge. 
Gifford, R. (1997) Environmental Psychology: Principles and Practice.   Boston : Allyn & Baker. 
Lynch, K. (1960).  The Image of the City.  Cambridge, MA : MIT Press. 
Relph, E. (1976).  Place and Placelessness.  London : Pion Ltd. 
Sime, J.  (1999) What is environmental psychology? Journal of Environmental Psychology, 19, 2, 191-206. 
Stokols, D. (1995). The paradox of environmental psychology.  American Psychologist, 821-837. 
Stokols, D. & Altman, I. (eds) (1987) Handbook of Environmental Psychology. (Vols 1 & 2). New York : Wiley. 
Stokols, D. & Shumaker,   (1981) People in places; A transactional view of settings. In J.H. Harvey (ed) Cognition, Social Behaviour and the
, Hillsdale, NJ :  Erlbaum. 
Tuan, Y-F. (1980). Rootedness versus Sense of Place.  Landscape, 24: 3-8.

Last Updated
15th August 2006