280.512 Psychology of Urban Sustainability
This course is in all assigned curricula part of the STEOP.
This course is in at least 1 assigned curriculum part of the STEOP.

2019W, VU, 1.5h, 3.0EC, to be held in blocked form


  • Semester hours: 1.5
  • Credits: 3.0
  • Type: VU Lecture and Exercise

Learning outcomes

After successful completion of the course, students are able to

-        understand global sustainability trends and international agreements and how they relate to local planning and urban sustainability

-        use approaches  and aspects from environmental psychology in their work, integrating the user perspective to minimize the disconnect between plan and reality

-        use different sets of indicators to evaluate the sustainability of urban developments, plans, and projects 

Subject of course

Part I: Sustainable Cities and Urban Sustainability Trends across the Globe

  • Introduction to urban sustainability and international developments (green cities, eco-cities, sustainable cities, resilient cities, smart cities, etc.)
  • Urban policies and action agendas towards sustainability (global, national, and local levels), Paris Agreement, New Urban Agenda, UN-Habitat, city collaboration, etc.
  • Sustainable and green buildings and infrastructure (current trends and technologies, rating systems)
  • Presentation of best practice and other real-world examples from cities around the world

 Part II: The Human Factor of Sustainability and Planning-related Aspects of Environmental Psychology

  • The human factor of sustainability: examples from urban planning, architecture and related fields; why sustainability projects don’t always work out the way they were planned … (post-occupancy evaluations – POE, sustainability strategies, etc.)  
  • Introduction to environmental psychology (history and background, tragedy of the commons, etc.) (G. Hardin, E. Ostrom et al.)
  • Applied behavioral analysis and sustainable behavior, behavior change, missing correlation between environmental knowledge and environmental action, etc. (E.S. Geller, B.F. Skinner et al.)
  • Evidence Based Design, effects of environment and nature on people, biophilia / biophilic design / biophilic cities (E.O. Wilson, T. Beatley, R. Ulrich et al.)
  • Affordance-based design (J.J. Gibson, et al.)
  • Presentation of real-world examples and projects from around the world

Teaching methods

  • Lecture
  • Interactive discussions
  • Videos showing real-world examples
  • Group exercises during class

Mode of examination


Additional information

Course is held blocked in December 2019: 17. – 18.12.2019



Course dates

Tue09:00 - 17:0017.12.2019Seminarraum 280/1 VU
Wed09:00 - 17:0018.12.2019Seminarraum 3/4 VU
Course is held blocked

Examination modalities

Practice exercise in groups as final exam

Course registration

Begin End Deregistration end
02.09.2019 00:00 31.10.2019 23:55


Study CodeSemesterPrecon.Info
066 440 Spatial Planning


PowerPoint slides will be available for download.