An Interdisciplinary Look at Sustainable Architecture

A report (published by from an expert panel composed of architects, engineers, and behavioral scientists discusses how an interdisciplinary approach to sustainable design can help us overcome many of the environmental issues that the infrastructure industry faces. The report, entitled “Twenty Questions About Design Behavior for Sustainability,” asks and answers just that: 20 questions about how designers and behavioral scientists can come together and how behavioral science can impact design choices.

Over three dozen experts “from diverse fields—and spanning academia, practice and policy” (p. 3) were included in a discussion that took more than a year to culminate in this succinct and well-thought out document. Their main goal was to identify “ways to advance [the] current understanding and practice of design for sustainability in the environment” (p. 3).

Panelists looked at four areas of design: individual/interpersonal behavior, organizational processes, community engagement, and the impact of environment and policy and how those areas can be impacted by knowledge of behavioral sciences. The result was a cogent discussion about the need to consider how people use their spaces when designing and, conversely, how those spaces can in turn influence desired behaviors to produce sustainable outcomes.

To read the full report, please visit