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The environmental psychology can make about 80% of the work of any environmental specialist and the rest of his work could be technical! The reason is people anywhere (company, organization, home, etc) don?? think that protecting the environment is not really important, and if even they think so; they don?? want to spend any money for, as after protecting & preserving the environment there will not be any return income (money) comes from this efforts, but untouchable income for everybody on our health, which is not particularly for the person who spend his money to protect the environment. Therefore, this dilemma has to be solved either by the environmental psychology or by other ways of our life in general. Dr. Wafik Noseir 


IAPS 19th International Conference, Alexandria, Egypt, 15th September 2006, 9-11 a.m.

Chairs Liisa Horelli, Helsinki University of Technology

           Pia Bjorklid Stockholm Institute of Education

Nineteen people participated in the workshop, from Australia, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden and Tanzania (see Appendix 1).

The lack of virtual teaching of environmental psychology

The aims of the workshop were to:

  • exchange experiences of virtual teaching of environmental psychology
  • discuss the need and interest of further development of shared EP courses either as an enrichment to ordinary teaching, as a special course or as an EP programme leading to a degree according to the new European educational structures
  • find out opportunities for funding virtual EP courses and teaching
  • take further steps in the implementation of our shared project

Liisa Horelli and Marketta Kyttä gave a short presentation of their course on virtual teaching of environmental psychology, at the Helsinki University of Technology. It is a special course (6 ects) comprising 19 lectures with power points and small texts as well as news and discussion groups, practical rehearsals and an exam. The running of the course requires about 40 hours work from the teacher and 100 hours from the webmaster-tutor (see attachment). Melanie Jaeger illustrated the structure and content of undergraduate teaching at the University of Magdeburg, Germany, in which out of 18 modules five can be chosen in environmental psychology (two lectures, two seminars and one applied project module). A masters course in environmental psychology will be implemented which will have five modules. It has been constructed in collaboration with the University of Surrey. Marino Bonaiuto told about the plans for a European level master in EP which would be synchronised with the new European educational structures. Aleya Abdel-Hadi claimed that the University of Alexandria does not have courses in EP, but there was an interest in the creation of a masters course.

Only few of the participants had had experience of e-learning methods, although several had experience of distance-learning. University of Barcelona has some teaching material in the web, but there were no representatives from that University. Suggestions were also made for alternative methods, such as slides on the internet and video conferencing.

Several participants emphasized the importance of shared courses and a certain willingness emerged to create a pool of shared teaching material, for instance on history, theory and methodology. This would further highlight the transnational and transdisciplinary approach of environmental psychology. In addition, it was stressed that such courses should not only be aimed at EU -members but also at those from non-EU countries.

The participants represented different fields, such as psychology, education, architecture and planning, technology etc. A quick survey disclosed that the themes that the participants could provide power point series or lectures in digital form are: general and architectural psychology, psychology of sustainability, Gibson´s ecological psychology, attitudes (towards sustainable development), social representations and cognition, perceptions (of nature) and culture, modern society, urban landscape, natural and social environments, environmental quality, privacy and crowding, environmental engineering, human technique interaction, behaviour and design, environmental analysis, influence upon the environment, participatory processes in planning, children (and the city, urban space, outdoor environment independent mobility, road safety, health and physical activity), methodology (behaviour mapping), internet techniques, contributions to developing countries, residential environments.

Environmental psychology – a fuzzy term!

Despite the interdisciplinary nature, environmental psychology is not fully recognized within different disciplines, nor is it regarded as an independent discipline. The participants felt that the term environmental psychology does not properly represent its true character. One suggestion was to label courses in environmental psychology as “environment behaviour (design) research” or as “Environment – Behaviour – Society”, like Gary Moore has done at the University of Sydney ( ).

The rejected COST –proposal

Last May a joint effort was made to create a COST –network proposal “Environmental Psychology as an Enrichment for Europe” (EPEE; see Appendix 2). The aim of Epee was “to consolidate the European approach to environmental psychology in its diversity, to make it more visible and to disseminate it more widely so that it can make a significant contribution to the improvement of European wellness.” The proposal was sent to the COST - European Co-operation in Science and Technology ( ), but it was rejected because “Cost Actions emphasize coordination of research rather than training activities and curriculum development”. In other words the proposal was not scientific enough. (See examples of accepted for the second round: ). However, it was stated that the proposal “will enhance the bridging of environmental psychology (EP) theory, research and teaching to environmental action and policy concerning the problems of everyday life and their settings.”

The proposal was intensively discussed in the workshop and it was decided to go on with the working of an improved proposal. According to Pia Björklid it might be a good idea to emphasize that “The European EP is presently quite active and has its own characteristics, such as the long historical past, strong interdependencies between the built and natural environments and the diversity of cultural perspectives. A better coordination and integration of the various European research lines and research groups would enhance the development of a more specific European perspective within the international EP. It is also worth recognising the “triangle of learning” according to which education, research and innovation are the three pillars for European socioeconomic processes and growth. Education is the source of the other two. (”

In search of opportunities for funding shared EP research

Different sources for funding were discussed. Aleya promised to check the TEMPUS funds. The next call for Cost-proposals will open in January and close in March 2007. This means that we should start preparing for a proposal of 2-3 pages that focuses on a specific scientific issue (see one accepted proposal ). There are of course other funding opportunities, such as KFW, the EU 7th framework. I just heard that a new programme, called Life Long Learning, that succeeds Socrates and Leonardo, has been launched. The first call will be published at the end of 2006 and universities can apply in February/March 2007. It will comprise policy projects, modernizing universities, virtual universities, student mobility etc. The problem with, for example, the program for virtual campuses has been that the proposal requires a great deal of prior experience which the group does not so far have. So, hopefully this new programme might suit us. However, the procedures with EU funds are usually quite slow and bureaucratic. Lobbying in Brussels is a must.

The group decided to work on a joint proposal for COST. On the basis of a quick analysis of the specialities represented in the group, the shared theme could be research and promotion of “Healthy or active living environments”. Active living is quite close to healthy environments but concentrates more on the relationship between the physical and social environment and the active life-style of the individual and different groups (for instance in the prevention of obesity; see Sallis, James et al. 2006 An ecological approach to creating active living communities. Annual Review of Public Health, 27,1,297-322). The general theme could then be approached through different working groups focusing on E-B theory, concepts and methodology, urban quality for different groups (children, elderly etc.), planning, design and evaluation, as well as pedagogy, dissemination and embedding of active living environments. The latter would the comprise varying e-learning and virtual teaching techniques (Figure 1)

E-B theory,

concepts &


Figure 1. A preliminary model for a shared COST –proposal. 

Aslak Fyhri from Norway promised to develop the next draft of the proposal, but everybody has to give him a helping hand in the form of a few lines before he starts working with the proposal. Aslak also points out that INTERDICIPLINARITY is crucial. Therefore, a framework which consists only of environmental psychology in the traditional sense may not be enough. The subtasks or work packages should comprise representatives of both researchers, planners, practitioners and policy makers. Can someone check the COST homepage just to rule out that the theme isn't already covered? In addition, we still seem to need someone who is dedicated and who has less time and budget restrictions than Aslak, to finalise the proposal and "push it through the pipeline"


In terms of the aims of the workshop, the exchange of experiences of virtual EP teaching took place. Also the need for and interest in shared EP courses were discussed and unanimously approved of. The funding opportunities are still an open book and the various options should be further searched for, especially the Tempus, the new Life Long Learning and the COST -proposal. The next step will consist of all the members commenting these minutes and sending a few lines to Aslak Fyhri. We might also offer this text to the IAPS –bulletin and the web-page so that we would get more people involved. Collaboration with the IAPS –education network led by Necdet Teymur may also be useful.

Appendix 1.

Participants in the Alexandria workshop on virtual teaching

Abdul-Hadi Aleya, Fine Arts, Cairo,;

Björklid Pia, Stockholm Institute of Education,, +4687375573;

Bonaiuto Marino, University of Rome La Sapienza;

Boniface Bulamile Ludigija, Arch, University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania,;

Del Aguila Mark, Victoria University, Australia;;

Depeau Sandrine, CNRS. ESO. 6590, University of Rennes;,, +33-2-99-15-20-96;

Fornara Ferdinando, Dep Psychology, University of Cagliari (Italy);, 3343335358;

Frick Jacqueline, Swiss Federal Research Institute, WSL;, +41 44 739 2563;

Fyhri Aslak, Institute of Transport Economics;;

Gad Layla, Bibliotheca Alex,;

Horelli Liisa, Helsinki University of Techonology,, +358 40 730 5610;

Jaeger Melanie, Dep. of Psychology, Magdeburg, Germany; Melanie.Jaeger@GSE-W.Uni-Magdeburg.DE

Kyttä Marketta, Helsinki University of Technology;, +358 9 451 4098;

Myataz Mohamed, Alexandria University;;

Niit Toomas, Dept. of Psychology, Tallinn Univ.;;

Nordström Maria, Stockholm University;, +468164839;

Noseir Wafik, Dr.PHD, Egyptian Modern Center;;

Papapetrou Maria, Phd. Architect / Educator;, 00302310320265;

Yunis Feisal, Department of Psychology, Cairo University;, 002 0101034410;

E-mail list of potentially interested persons in the project:;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;Petra.Schweizer-Ries@GSE-W.Uni-Magdeburg.DE;;;;;;;;;; 

Appendix 2.

Environmental Psychology as an Enrichment for Europe (EPEE)

Abstract Environmental psychology (EP), which is an interdisciplinary field of research and practice aiming at the understanding and application of person-environment transactions in different settings, has been taught and studied in several European universities for nearly thirty years. However, the remarkable compilation of knowledge has not become shared enough, especially among young people. The goal of the network is to consolidate the European approach to environmental psychology in its diversity, to make it visible and to disseminate it widely so that it can make a significant contribution to the improvement of European wellness. The goal will be achieved through the creation and dissemination of an e-learning structure that covers the field of EP and its application. The structure will eventually be linked to the process of constructing European virtual campuses.

Key Words:

Environmental psychology; contribution to European wellness; mobilisation of young researchers; transfer of knowledge and know-how between generations and countries; e-learning, virtual teaching and virtual campuses; improvement of neighbourhoods, housing and institutional settings; guidelines for urban planning, design and evaluation.

BACKGROUND AND PROBLEMS: Environmental psychology (EP) aims at the understanding and application of person-environment transactions in different socio-physical settings of everyday life experience, such as homes, neighbourhoods, offices, schools, hospitals, etc. EP is an interdisciplinary field of research and practice which includes a variety of different disciplines and research areas, e.g. education, psychology, sociology, architecture, anthropology, public health science, biology, social planning, and human geography. EP has been taught and studied in several European universities for nearly thirty years. The field of research has developed rapidly in search of solutions to different societal problems. The problem is that the know-how concerning theories on and models of environmental experience, behaviour and the construction of supportive, healthy settings, is not yet visible enough and too little widely shared in Europe. The European EP is presently quite active and has its own characteristics, such as the long historical past, strong interdependencies between the built and natural environments and the diversity of cultural perspectives. A better coordination and integration of the various European research lines and research groups would enhance the development of a more specific European perspective within the international EP.

As there is no other EU Framework Programme for EP, the proposed COST-network would give an opportunity to coordinate and make conspicuous the existing but dispersed knowledge of EP. Thereby it would be more easily available to traditional academic institutions as well as to practitioners and lay people.

The goal of the network is to consolidate the European approach to environmental psychology in its diversity, to make it more visible and to disseminate it more widely so that it can make a significant contribution to the improvement of European wellness.

BENEFITS: The goal of the proposal will enhance the bridging of EP theory, research and teaching to environmental action and policy concerning the problems of everyday life and their settings. The compilation and consolidation of European knowledge of EP will stimulate new synthesis of EP theories and concepts, which will contribute to the construction of better processes and substance in the planning and development of human-friendly and supportive environments. The latter are closely related to the wellness of citizens. The proposal will also benefit the transfer of knowledge and know-how between specific countries and generations (young and senior researchers), which will facilitate the spread of learning from leading scientific centres to the global community. Furthermore, the access to information and the technical resources of knowledge societies may enhance people’s sense of being part of a community at local, regional and national levels. Thus the proposal will definitively contribute to the strengthening of the European Research Area and the creation of the knowledge-based society.

OBJECTIVES, DELIVERABLES AND EXPECTED SCIENTIFIC IMPACT: The goal of the proposal will be achieved through three concrete objectives:

1. the creation of an e-learning structure, initially based on some 50 thematic series of power points that cover the field of environmental psychology and its application. Each series contains about 20-25 power points with 100 word explanatory texts in English or a recorded lecture (by the Camtas studio or other technique). The thematic series can be applied either as separate research-based courses, as part of face to face undergraduate or graduate teaching of EP (see the guidelines of the Bologna process) or as the basis for a virtual campus around environmental psychology.

2. the dissemination of the structure through the implementation of the work plan of the proposed network and through the biannual IAPS-conferences that gather some 500 participants (

3. the linking of the e-learning structure to the process of constructing European virtual campuses (see the European e-learning programme This will further increase the dissemination of the scientific results and their applicability to new audiences.

The deliverables will comprise

a. a holistic e-learning package of environmental psychology

b. schemas of how to integrate the body of EP-knowledge as part of undergraduate and graduate degrees of environmental psychology and

c. preliminary proposal for applying the holistic package as part of the virtual campus around European environmental psychology.

The scientific impact will be the construction of new concepts and a synthesis of the field. They will be tested in the conferences of IAPS, EDRA (Environmental Design Research Association in the US), the Association for Applied Psychology (IAAP, Division of Environmental Psychology),

and in the nationally based conferences, such as EPUK (Environmental Psychology in UK), the Spanish Conference and MERA (Man and Environment Research Association in Japan).

The end users will comprise students of different grades and researchers within EP as well as those in architecture, urban planning and design, geography, gerontology, human factors, social work psychology, education and sociology. The end users will also comprise planners and designers, community workers and residential associations who will apply the compiled knowledge, for ex. by using guidelines for the creation and evaluation of human-friendly environments.

SCIENTIFIC PROGRAMME AND INNOVATION: The scientific programme is guided by the principle of applying fruitful dialectics to connect theory and practice, research and teaching, face to face and virtual encounters, national and transnational approaches, and young and senior protagonists within EP. The implementation is carried out by a series of network meetings in the form of seminars, workshops or conferences and by work-periods in the national universities or research institutions, enhanced by the on-going communication via the internet, phone or video conferencing. The latter prepare opportunities to take decisions over new innovative solutions and orientations, especially as the members come from different regions, cultures, ethnic groups, generations and genders (innovations are born on the borderlines of diversity). The scientific work will be implemented within four work groups which will contribute to the achievement of the objectives and the main goal:

Work group I deals with the discussion and elaboration of the (e)-learning objectives of EP courses in terms of knowledge, abilities and competences. According to the philosophy of the Common European Space of University Education, this stage is fundamental for the design of the learning process. The artificial divide between teaching and research will be bridged by linking teaching and research in the courses in order to involve younger students and researchers into this field. This group will strive to integrate the e-learning package with the undergraduate and graduate studies. Useful connections and models are provided by the Tuning Educational Structures in Europe which is a major contribution to the Bologna process (

Work group II deals with the mapping of the most important approaches and ´schools`of EP with relevant theories and concepts (for ex. ecological and phenomenological psychology, environment-behaviour –design research). The outlines will be discussed widely – also in the other work groups. After consensus, the preparation of the first examples of thematic series of power points with small texts will be produced, which will be discussed in the meetings and also commented on the internet.

Work group III is an expansion of the second one. It focuses on the application of theory to planning and design as well as on the evaluation of existing environments, from the perspective of wellness, children etc.

Work group IV deals with the expansion of the e-learning package and its transformation into a system of virtual teaching and later on into one of the European virtual campuses. This part has three objectives: a) to prepare students to become competent practitioners of EP; b) to offer a European reference of e-learning on EP to students of other regions around the world; and c) to contribute to the university excellence and competitiveness within the European Higher Education system.

ORGANISATION: A network organisation with flexibly evolving nodes and links will be the most suitable type of organisation for the EPEE-network. The core members are responsible for the mobilisation of students, young researchers and new members from other countries.

Irrespective of the chosen work group, every member has to produce at least one thematic series of power points. This allows getting hands on experience of what the social construction of environmental psychology means. The preparation of the holistic e-learning package of EP takes place in the members´ home bases. The latter will be done as part of the participants´ daily work and experience of the field.

A special workshop on e-Learning at the IAPS conference in September 2006, in Alexandria, provides a pre-kick off meeting for the network. It allows to set the stage and take decisions over the structure and outline of the work plan. The network meetings (seminars and conferences) will take place in April and December 2007, in the summer 2008 (another IAPS conference), in December 2008, in April and December 2009. The IAPS conference in summer 2010 will be a major event to evaluate the scientific impact of the network. In this way, the goal of the EPEE-proposal – the consolidation and dissemination of the European approach to environmental psychology - will be achieved, and it will generate a programme that can make a significant contribution to the wellness of Europe.


Liisa Horelli, Helsinki University of Technology, Finland

Marketta Kyttä, Helsinki University of Technology, Finland

Kalevi Korpela, University of Tampere, Finland

Pia Björklid, Stockholm Institute of Education, Sweden

Maria Nordström, University of Stockholm, Sweden

Marianne Lindström, University of Kalmar, Sweden

Géza Fischl, Lulea University of Technology, Sweden

Tony Craig, The Robert Gordon University, United Kingdom

Mirilia Bonnes, University of Rome "La Sapienza", Italy

Marina Mura, University of Cagliari, Italy

Ferdinando Fornara, University of Cagliari, Italy

Ricardo Garcia Mira, Universidade da Coruna, Spain

Sergi Valera, Universitat de Barcelona, Spain

Angela Castrechini, Universitat de Barcelona, Spain

Enric Pol, Universitat de Barcelona, Spain

Tomeu Vidal, Universitat de Barcelona, Spain

Andrés Di Masso, Universitat de Barcelona, Spain

Sandrine Depeau Université de Haute Bretagne - Rennes 2, France

Petra Schweizer-Ries, Otto-von-Guericke-Universität,Germany

Ellen Matthies, Ruhr-University Bochum,Germany

Liisa Horelli, PhD (Coordinator)

Associate Professor

Helsinki University of Technology

Centre for Urban and Regional Studies

Tel. 358-9-6848867

Tel. 358-40-7305010

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