Applying Environmental Psychology in the Design of Domestic Violence Shelters


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

This conceptual article illustrates the potential of leveraging environmental psychology concepts in the physical design of domestic violence (DV) emergency shelters, enabling shelters to go beyond the role of secure structures, housing an array of services, to being buildings designed to increase psychological well-being of residents. The co-authors’ professional and scholarly backgrounds are in architecture and social work. Interdisciplinary collaboration in this article blends the theoretical and practical approaches of these fields, using environmental psychology to assert that the built physical environment is an overlooked element with potential to hinder or facilitate well-being of DV survivors. This article introduces environmental psychology and related design guidelines, successful in health care facilities, that might translate into shelter design and increase residents’ psychological well-being, especially with design strategies that increase sense of control, social support, and reduce environmental stressors. The article provides a blueprint for interdisciplinary collaboration to enhance DV shelter experiences.

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