Architecture and Environmental Numbness

Document Type : علمی - پژوهشی


PhD Candidate, Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning, Shahid Beheshti University


The quality of living environment depends on users’ active response. Users’ unawareness and passive, insensitive and indifferent reaction to their surroundings—collectively called ‘environmental numbness’—adversely affects users’ wellbeing and will gradually lead to degradation and final evacuation of an environment. Several factors contribute to numbness, namely: users’ conformism to deficiencies in their environment; recurrent architectural kitsch; crowding and overload; lack of emotional stimulation; little spatial flexibility; limited user participation opportunities and lack of place attachment. This leads to the conclusion that low-cost and social housing are priority areas that demand urgent attention by architects to prevent environmental numbness.

  1. الکساندر، کریستوفر. معماری و راز جاودانگی: راه بی زمانِ ساختن. ترجمه مهرداد قیومی بیدهندی. چ3. تهران: دانشگاه شهید بهشتی، 1390.
  2. اهری، زهرا و اصغر ارجمند نیا و سید محسن حبیبی و فرهاد خسروخاور. مسکن حداقل. تهران: مرکز تحقیقات ساختمان و مسکن، 1376.
  3. Baumeister, Roy F. and C. Nathan DeWall and Kathleen D. Vohs. "Social Rejection, Control, Numbness, and Emotion: How Not To Be Fooled by Gerber and Wheeler." in Journal of Perspectives on Psychological Science, vol. 4, no. 5 (2009), pp. 489-493.
  4. Bernardi, Núbia and Doris C. C. K. Kowaltowski, "Environmental Comfort in School Buildings: A Case Study of Awareness and Participation of Users." in journal of Environment and Behavior, vol. 38, no. 2 (2006), pp. 155-172.
  5. Broto, Vanesa Castan and Kate Burningham and Claudia Carter and Lucia Elghali. "Stigma and Attachment: Performance of Identity in an Environmentally Degraded Place." in journal of Society and Natural Resources: An International Journal, vol. 23, no. 10 (2010), pp. 952-968.
  6. Davis, Sam. The architecture of affordable housing. California: university of California press, 1995.
  7. Eder, Andreas B. and Bernhard Hommel and Jan De Houwer. "How distinctive is affective processing? On the implications of using cognitive paradigms to study affect and emotion." in journal of Cognition & Emotion, vol. 21, no. 6 (2007), pp. 1137-1154.
  8. Gifford, Robert. Environmental Psychology: Principles and practice. Massachusetts: Allyn and Bacon, 1987.
  9. -------- . "Environmental numbness in the classroom." in Journal of Experimental Education, no. 44 (1976), pp. 4-7.
  10. -------- . "Environmental Psychology and Sustainable Development: Expansion, Maturation, and Challenges." in Journal of Social Issues, vol. 63, no. 1 (2007), pp. 199-212
  11. Kasarda, John D. and Morris Janowits. "Community Attachment in Mass Society." in Journal of American Sociological Review, vol. 39, no. 3 (1974), pp. 328-339.
  12. Kopec, Dak. Environmental Psychology for design. New York: Fairchild Publications, 2006.
  13. Neisser, Ulric. Cognition and reality: Principles and implications of cognitive psychology. San Francisco: W. H. Freeman and company, 1976.
  14. Roberts, Craig and Julia Russell. Angles on environmental psychology. United Kingdom: Nelson Thrones Ltd, 2002.
  15. Salling, Mark and Milton E. Harvey. "Poverty, personality and sensitivity to residential stressors." in Journal of Environment and Behavior, vol. 13, no. 2 (1981), pp. 131-163.
  16. Simon, Julian Lincoln. The ultimate Resource 2. New Jersey: Prinston University Press, 1996.
  17. Sommer, Robert. Design awareness, Michigan: Rinehart Press, 1971.
  18. Twenge, Jean M. and Roy F. Baumeister and C. Nathan DeWall and Natalie J. Ciarocco and J. Michael Bartels. "Social Exclusion Decreases Prosocial Behavior." in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 92, no. 1 (2007), pp. 56-66.
  19. Van Horn, Royal. "Thinking in other categories: Places for technology." in Journal of Phi Delta Kappan, vol. 76, no. 2 (1994), pp. 2-4.
  20. Voordt, Theo J. M. Van Der. "Quality of design and usability: a vetruvian twin." in journal of Ambiente Construido, vol. 9, no. 2 (2009), pp. 17-29.