Alice Hollenstein

Founder & Managing Director, Urban Psychology, zurich, switzerland
SHE ADVISES PROPERTY DEVELOPERS AND MUNICIPALITIES ABOUT THE CREATION OF HUMANFRIENDLY ENVIRONMENTS

FACTS

company profile

Urban Psychology Consulting & Research is a Zürich-based scientifically driven consulting company that focuses on providing evidence-based, up to date information on the interplay between individuals and their built environment for real estate developers, architects and municipalities. We employ creative, multidisciplinary approaches of market research including online questionnaires, observation studies, behavior modelling and innovation workshops. Through our services we enable our clients to obtain an extensive understanding of human behavior patterns, perception and needs with a view to creating human-friendly environments.

www.urbanpsychology.com

about the topic Urban Psychology

Urban Psychology is a special field of psychology. It deals with the experience and behavior in the built environment. Its aim is to describe, explain, predict and (if necessary) change human experience and behaviour in this context. In this way she creates a human-centred view of buildings and settlement areas. Examples of questions are as follows:
Which house facades are perceived as beautiful by the users?
Which building characteristics make orientation easier for us?
How can pedestrian flows be predicted and controlled?
What measures are taken to promote local identity and commitment to a place?
How social and structural density must be in order to be perceived positively?
What characteristics of green spaces promote recreation?
History As part of environmental psychology, urban psychology is over 100 years old. In the course of industrialization, it was experimentally investigated at that time which environmental factors had a performance-enhancing effect on humans. In the 1960s and 1970s, a research boom was triggered by the rapid growth of settlement areas. In these years, the first empirical studies on topics such as building aesthetics, social and structural density, recreational areas and local identity were published. Urban psychology has made it possible to define, measure and influence soft factors – such as local identity – more precisely.

Methods of Urban Psychology
The methodological possibilities for a better understanding of the “black box human” are now very diverse: from qualitative interviews to the measurement of physiological indicators such as brain activity, eye movements or hormone secretions. Today, online questionnaires enable us to interview a large number of people within a short period of time and evaluate their responses statistically. New visualization techniques make it possible to measure human reactions to non-existent environments. What all methods have in common is that they strive to measure human experience and behaviour as objectively and validly as possible – as the basis for an evidence-based development of the built environment.

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BIOGRAPHY

Alice Hollenstein (1982) lives in Zurich and is the founder and managing director of Urban Psychology – a Zürich-based scientifically driven consulting company that focuses on providing evidence-based, up to date information on the interplay between individuals and their built environment for real estate developers, architects and municipalities. She is also the deputy managing director of the Center for Urban and Real Estate Management at the University of Zurich and lecturer for Urban Psychology at the University of Zurich and TU Berlin.

Previously Alice has worked in various market research companies and at the marketing department of Kraft Foods Europe. She holds a MSc in Psychology, Economics and Environmental Sciences of the University of Zurich.
Memberships: European Society for Opinion and Market Research (ESOMAR), International Association of Empirical Aesthetics (IAEA), Urban Economics Association, International Association for People Environment Studies (IAPS), Initiative Psychologie im Umweltschutz (IPU)