Graduate students, faculty and alumni at the Faculty of Environmental Design will present a wide range of research topics on improving public space and the environment — from how streets can improve our mental health, to accommodating solar panels on the sides of apartment buildings — at the 2017 Faculty of Environmental Design Research Conference, March 30.
“A lot of the students are working on some aspect of sustainability,” says David Monteyne, associate professor and graduate program director at the Faculty of Environmental Design. “Whether that’s designing buildings or designing communities to be more walkable, a lot of big problems start with just how neighbourhoods and cities are laid out and how buildings are put together.”
The research conference, which is being organized by a student committee that held a call for abstracts, is the first event of its kind at EVDS. Professionals from the architecture, home-building and design industries will act as moderators and attendees will hear 13 presentations from students and faculty.
Ana Karinna Hidalgo, EVDS PhD candidate and graduate assistant, will discuss her work exploring how streets affect our well-being. Scholars as early as Hippocrates have pondered the question, looking at how sun, water and wind affect our physical health, but Hidalgo is one of the first to examine how streets affect our mental health.
“Natural and built environments can play a crucial role in our health by reducing stress,” she says. “If there’s a link between urban environments and psychological health, we need to ask how we can design streets to become public restorative environments and reduce people’s stress and mental fatigue.”
As well as the opportunity to share their individual research and get feedback on their presentation skills, the students will also benefit from hearing what their peers in the interdisciplinary field of environmental design are researching.
“Environmental design students are in a huge variety of different fields,” says Monteyne. “Often with a disciplinary grad program the students will all be going to the same conferences, but our students go to totally different events. They go all over the place and there’s benefit to gathering them all in the same room.”
All are welcome to attend and learn more about research into different facets of environmental design.
2017 Faculty of Environmental Design Research Conference
- When: Thursday, March 30, noon
- Where: PF 2160 & EVDS Gallery, Professional Faculties building