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Submit a Manuscript to the Journal
Cities & Health

For a Special Issue on
Planning for People and Health: Environmental Psychology in the City

Manuscript deadline
01 June 2022

Cover image - Cities & Health

Special Issue Editor(s)

Lindsay McCunn, PhD, Vancouver Island University, Canada.
[email protected]

Hannah Arnett, MSc, [email protected]

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Planning for People and Health: Environmental Psychology in the City

Aims of the Special Issue

Cities around the world are urgently seeking strategies to effectively handle complex challenges surrounding urban health and environmental issues. Creating and maintaining sustainable and resilient cities requires an understanding of human psychological processes and their implications for urban policy and practice.

This special issue titled “Planning for people and health: Environmental psychology in the city,” will publish and stimulate innovative, thoughtful, and influential environmental psychology investigations and commentaries in the context of cities. We will also address topics concerning the facilitation of pro-environmental behaviours to address climate change, social sustainability within the physical and social fabrics of urban forms, and ways to bolster mental health for city dwellers. All of these areas and more can be examined with interdisciplinary approaches that involve environmental psychology.

This special issue will also serve as an avenue to share the principles and practices of environmental psychology as they relate to city planning, urban design, and public health. We wish to receive submissions from scholars and practitioners across the globe who consider environmental psychology as they research urban issues and develop new methods, augment (and critique) interdisciplinary theory, and test practical applications at the city or neighbourhood scale.

We are excited by the scope of this special issue that will communicate innovative perspectives through a careful understanding of people-environment relations. We are also delighted to be able to partner with professional organizations in the development of this special edition. In particular, the Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA) is an international network helping to create environments responsive to human needs through an interdisciplinary network. Feel free to check out this year's conference held in Greenville, SC USA between June 1-4.

Integration of Environmental Psychology Perspectives in City Planning

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports that human activity is the unequivocal cause of rapid changes to the Earth’s climate. A clear need exists for governments, organizations, and individuals around the world to prioritize transdisciplinary thinking and innovative action in the realms of city planning and public health. This special issue aims to place the spotlight on environmental psychology as an evolving discipline by highlighting different methodological perspectives and successful, practical applications in the urban landscape that address shared global challenges.

A key goal of the discipline of environmental psychology is to understand human attitudes and behaviours in relation to the transactions between people and the physical environment. Ultimately, environmental psychology seeks to examine and facilitate psychological processes, such as environmental perception, spatial cognition, social dynamics, and personality development, that underpin human activity in the environments around us (Gifford, 2014).

The theories, research methods, and community practices of environmental psychology aim to improve human relations with the environments that people inhabit (Gifford, 2014; Steg et al., 2012). Since the mid 20th century, environmental psychology has been a growing field—its theories are applied and tested in a variety of built and natural settings, including cities (Proshansky et al., 1970; Steg et al., 2012). Arguably, environmental psychology’s role in preserving and protecting quality of life at the individual level, and public health at the community and city level, is crucial for policymakers to explore and understand now and for years to come.

The field of environmental psychology continues to evolve in its focus and has expanded to encompass the multi-layered and complex modern environments in which humans function: built, natural, and virtual. Thus, communicating connections between environmental psychology, cities, and health through this special issue will advance each of these arenas by motivating new ideas and networks among researchers and practitioners working in urban areas around the world.

Call for Contributions

The editorial team seeks original research papers, case studies, and scholarly commentary pieces that explore (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Environmental psychology as an evolving discipline
    How can environmental psychology as an evolving field contribute to solving urban-related and health-related problems?
  • Pro-environmental attitude and behaviour change
    To what extent can community pro-environmental attitudes and action programs address behaviour change in the context of cities and health?
  • Urban mental health and wellbeing
    What case studies exist that demonstrate applied research that supports healthy living and psychological wellbeing in cities concerning broad determinants of health at micro, meso, and macro levels?
  • Social sustainability
    How can environmental psychology advance our understanding of social inclusion, universal design, cultural safety, and diversity at the urban scale as part of an interdisciplinary approach?
  • Artificial intelligence and virtual or digital interventions
    What is the role of digital innovation and artificial intelligence in relation to the principles and practices of urban environmental psychology? How can the integration of virtual environments with physical and natural settings be used to understand human behaviour in urban virtual landscapes—and how can they support human health?

Other Cross-cutting Themes

Environmental psychology covers a wide variety of topics related to city living and public health that are also welcome in this special issue, such as:

  • Conservation
  • Nature and biophilia
  • Human interactions and perceptions with urban built environments, participatory planning and design, urban wayfinding and spatial cognition, and stimulation theory research
  • Place attachment at the city or community level

This special issue aims to reflect these and other broad topics in environmental psychology to share the global community’s experiences with on-the-ground examples that have worked (or that have not worked) and why. We expect that this issue will raise awareness of modern advances at the intersection of psychological science, urban planning, and public health and inspire additional connections among scholars and practitioners who generate and support sustainable and resilient cities around the world.

Partner Organizations: Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA): https://www.edra.org


Gifford, R. (2014). Environmental Psychology Matters. Annual Review of Psychology, 65, 541-79.
Proshansky, H. M., Ittelson, W. H., & Rivlin, L. G (1970). Environmental Psychology: People and Their Physical Settings. New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.
Steg, L., Van den Berg, A. E., & De Groot, J. I. M. (2012). Environmental Psychology: An Introduction. London, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.

Submission Instructions

Types of Contributions 

The journal Cities & Health was established to support human and planetary health by sharing the international research and practice for urban health and health equity. Our mission is to provide practitioners, researchers, and communities with a platform to share, discuss problems, and to shape solutions from a spatial planning, urban design, and physical city governance perspective. For more information about the journal, visit:


We especially welcome co-designed and co-produced research, particularly when jointly coordinated between academic and non-academic partners. For this special issue, we wish to particularly support the publication and dissemination of:

  • Original scholarship (empirical, methodological, conceptual) that develops the theoretical and practical application of environmental psychology
  • Reflections from interdisciplinary research, practice, and design
  • Commentary and debate

However, all types of contributions listed on the journal’s website are welcome.

Graphic illustrations and visual content are encouraged through the use, as appropriate, of diagrams, logic models, annotated plans, maps, figures, tables, and photos.

Instructions for AuthorsSubmit an Article

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