Human Behavior, Performance, & Built Environments

The disconnection of human interaction with the built environment in cities can lead to remote and isolated communities. For centuries, cities have evolved in many ways, ranging from suburban sprawls in developed countries to rural exoduses in developing nations. Irrespective of the nature of the urban issue, a commonly observed problem is the negligence of small, sensitive issues closer to human existence, like human behavior. Recently, urban growth has focused on problems of economic position at a global level that have given rise to Saskia Sassen’s translational man and Simmel’s individualistic metropolis man. But this can be addressed by improving the performance of the built environments. Human behavior and performance of the built environment contribute to social, cultural, economic, and health aspects of livable communities and sustainable cities. 


Built environments are created without much consideration to how it will affect human users. Although standards and policies exist for built environment design, not all of them tend to have a humanistic approach. How do we help to enhance these standards toward a human-centered design? Moreover, human behavior in the built environment is a complex phenomenon; highly subjective and difficult to generalize. We would like to question whether the traditional methods are enough, or do they limit our research? What are the possibilities of big data approach methods in human behavioral research? We know that human behavior is a key determinant to high performance of buildings. What simulation methods exist to predict human behavior and, hence, improve the building performance? Would simulation encompass all the complexities of human behavior and built environment performance? How do different components of building design (i.e., building envelopes, materials, and structures) and urban fabric (i.e., buildings, streets, and public spaces) come together to address human behavior and performance of the built environment?

We seek to gather answers to similar questions and many more through the 2020 International Graduate Student Symposium in its 5th consecutive year, organized by the Doctoral students at College of Architecture, IIT.  The conference ideates to bring together researchers and professionals to brainstorm to address the problems related to human behavior and performance of the built environments.

Selected full papers will be published in Prometheus Issue 05, the journal of the PhD program in Architecture at IIT. Authors of accepted extended abstracts will be invited to present their papers at the symposium.