The built environment, adaptations and networks

This section aims to illustrate one of the core themes in the PIE model; the way that the buildings we use provide not just convenience and shelter, but 'social spaces' - opportunities for person-to-person interactions - and how they can be thoughtfully designed to maximise these opportunities.

These 'social spaces' are not just the obviously communal areas - TV rooms or sitting rooms etc - intended for 'socialising'. They include all the kinds of interactions - staff to user, and user to user. The physical condition of the building and furnishings is then important - but it is only one aspect of the 'messages' that the building gives off.

We begin with two very handy checklists that can offer prompts to the imagination over how the building, lighting, signage and sound can convey an impression. These are followed by a string of examples of these ideas applied in practice.

For further background reading/listening/viewing

A growing selection of new and used material

NB: this collection of pages, and selection of examples, is incomplete. We are still gathering some of the material; but this will take some time; and these links and this material will be built up in stages. But the themes we propose to use are:

Introducing the PIE approach : HERE

    • The built environment and adaptations : HERE
    • Using the whole environment (1) : HERE
    • Using the whole environment (2) :  HERE
    • Outreach, pathways, environments without buildings : HERE
    • PIEs, communities and a sense of belonging : HERE
    • Clubhouses, cores, and campus models : HERE
    • PIEs in therapy settings : HERE
    • 'Psychologically informed business environments' : HERE
    • Whole system PIEs  : HERE
    • PIEs and ‘exclusion-informed research’ HERE

Trauma informed design: working with the built environment (video presentation with Q&A) : HERE 

Well-being through design - (the Boex brothers' original paper): HERE 

Proxemics : HERE

'Well-being by design: a guide' is a very useful handy tool, developed by Genesis Housing Association and based on earlier research by the Boex brothers on the impact of purposive design of the physical environment. It allows staff of a service to ‘walk through’ - usually literally - their building, to ask themselves how it would feel - and see it with new eyes.

Similar in intent, but sufficiently different for the two to complement each other, the 'checklist of Trauma informed Care principles in built environment design' produced by Jill Pable's Design Resources for Homelessness (DRH) in Florida uses the language of trauma, but is otherwise entirely in spirit.

NB: as a checklist, it also allows a numerical scoring, which some will find helpful.



Well-being by design -  the questions you might ask : HERE

A trauma informed design checklist: Design Resources for Homelessness, Florida : HERE

  • Trauma informed design (DRH follow up with illustrations) : HERE


Case studies

Highwater House annual report: HERE

Duneddin Canmore: colour coding spaces : HERE 

PIEs at the Wallich - rethinking the building : HERE

Simon Community - Glasgow Access Hub (short video) : HERE

Complex needs and building adaptation at King George's :  HERE   and HERE

Y Adapt - developing a PIE (with a Clubhouse  model):  HERE

A window on engagement : HERE


Also in the Library

Nudge psychology, using colour, and the Psychologically Informed Environment  : HERE