Design Commission publishes report on how design shapes people’s behaviour 0

A new report from the Design Commission in partnership with the BRE Trust is the latest to outline how the design of the built environment influences the way people think and behave. The report has been published following an inquiry chaired by Baroness Whitaker and Professor Alan Penn, Dean of The Bartlett, University College London and is endorsed by Richard Rogers and Kevin McCloud. It calls on central and local government to escape their muddled thinking on the matter and instead create a policy framework that acknowledges the link between design and behaviour. It also suggests that more private sector organisations should wake up to the link and do more than merely comply with their legislative obligations.

The Commission claims it has come up with solid evidence in difficult areas about what in our built environment makes our lives better.  It has looked at what can make us healthier, what can make communities get on better with each other, what can preserve our air quality and save energy and what can enable higher productivity.

The Design Commission believes that ‘in designing and constructing the environments in which people live and work, architects and planners are necessarily involved in influencing human behaviour. Throughout this inquiry, the Commission showcase case studies and best practice examples of how infrastructure can be used to design for positive behaviours and how design-led planning policy can create environments in which individuals and communities thrive.’

The inquiry heard evidence on four specific areas that are believed to improve the relationship of citizens within the built environment. This report is structured around those four areas:

  • Healthy behaviours
  • Environmentally sustainable behaviours
  • Socially cohesive behaviours
  • Productive, innovative and creative behaviours


Image: RSHP