Teaching Design With People in Mind: Social Factors at the College of Environmental Design

Exhibit dates: March 1 - May 20, 2016

The College of Environmental Design at U.C. Berkeley was the first in the U.S. to combine under one college the departments of architecture, landscape architecture and city planning, and to incorporate the concept of social and cultural factors into the curriculum of its architecture department. A product of the 1960s widespread protests of the “failure of the institution,” social factors in environmental design was a “response to a number of serious social problems as manifested in the physical design of our major institutions" (Lindheim, 1975).

The Social Factors program at Berkeley introduced social science methods to teach the design of buildings and environments more responsive to human needs. Previous curricula and teaching focused on the aesthetic and technical aspects of architecture and landscape architecture.

This exhibit explores the innovative approaches to design education that allowed students to translate socio-cultural values into physical forms. While highlighting the fertile years of the Social Factors program in the 1960s-1980s, the exhibit also conveys its long-term impact on scholars, designers, and students at (and beyond) Berkeley today.


Lindheim, Roz.  (1975).  Introduction.  In Social and Behavioral Factors in Architectural Education: Evaluation of a Training Program.  Berkeley, CA: College of Environmental Design.  


Curators: Raymond Lifchez, Caitlin DeClercq, Ayda Melika Exhibit Team: Chris Marino, Cailin Trimble, Jason Miller, Miguel Nieto