In addressing any urban design challenge, a city’s citizens are central to defining problems and informing solutions. Approaching the social-behavioral aspects of urban design challenges among citizens—including their active participation in shaping the city they call home—is critical to ensure the innovation is aligned with perceived needs and achieves its intended impact.
This requires an interdisciplinary approach involving researchers in the cognitive/behavioral and social science fields. The cognitive science approach has led to many important discoveries about how people perceive, process, and understand information in their environment. Cognitive scientists use a variety of tools to evaluate human thinking, such as participant reports, behavioral testing, and bio-physiological assessment. Such methods provide insight into the way in which people attend to information in their environment, the factors that promote comprehension and retention of new information, and how these cognitive processes interact with the environment to promote functional well-being.
UTC’s health-centric urban mobility research initiative blends health, transportation, environment, urban science, computer science, social science, computational science, and data science to identify innovative, sustainable and economically viable options to improve quality of life.