Environmental Psychology: Origins and Development

  • Harold M. Proshansky
  • Timothy O’Hanlon


Historical analysis is never a simple matter. This is true whether it involves tracing the origin and development of an individual, a group, or, as in this instance, a new field of scientific inquiry. The intention to be “historical” in the premeditated sense of keeping an ongoing record of people, events, and activities seldom, if ever, occurs. And even if it did, the problems of how much should be recorded, what is relevant and what is not, and how to organize and interpret what is recorded are no less formidable problems. In this chapter, we shall be, of course, looking back at the origins and development of the recently developed field of environmental psychology, and in undertaking this task we were beset with all of these problems and even more. More in a number of ways: the field is interdisciplinary and so the sources of its origins and development range through not just the more established behavioral sciences but the design professions as well; modern communication and media technology have accelerated the accumulation and dissemination of information such that even in a short period of time, “new fields” show a remarkable accumulation of people, scientific papers, conferences, research programs, educational curricula, and other signs of scholarship and scientific inquiry; and finally we ourselves—as the “historians” in this case—have been part of and involved in the development of this fledgling field.


Behavioral Science Human Dignity Personal Space Physical Setting Environmental Crisis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harold M. Proshansky
    • 1
  • Timothy O’Hanlon
    • 1
  1. 1.City University of New YorkUSA

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