The Facets of Place

  • David Canter
Part of the Advances in Environment, Behavior and Design book series (AEBD, volume 4)


This chapter will outline one theory aimed at integrating aspects of environmental psychology with issues in architectural design. The theory to be reviewed is broad in those characteristics of theory that Moore (1987) called their “form and scope.” This broadbrush, top-down approach is intended as a contrast with bottom-up attempts to specify the behavioral effects of specific aspects of design, such as lighting levels or size of spaces. It also contrasts with models that seek to answer immediate design problems. However, in Moore’s (1987) vocabulary, the theory to be outlined is more than an “orientation,” or “framework.” It is an “explanatory theory” that has been found to have considerable scope and to be open to direct empirical test.


Place Experience Architectural Style Place Evaluation Housing Satisfaction Adaptation Paradigm 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alexander, C. (1964). Notes on the synthesis of form. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Alexander, C., Ishikawa, S., & Silverstein, M. (1977). A pattern language. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Altman, I. (1975). The environment and social behavior. Monterey, CA: Brooks/Cole.Google Scholar
  4. Banerjee, T., & Southworth, M. (Eds.). (1990). City sense and city design: Writings and projects of Kevin Lynch. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  5. Barker, R. (1968). Ecological psychology: Concepts and methods for studying the environment of human behavior. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Borg, I. (1978). Some basic concepts in facet theory. In J. Lingoes (Ed.), Geometric representation of relational data (pp. 65–102 ). Ann Arbor, MI: Mathesis Press.Google Scholar
  7. Canter, D. (1977). The psychology of place. London: Architectural Press.Google Scholar
  8. Canter, D. (1983). The purposive evaluation of places. Environment and Behavior, 15 (6), 659–698.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Canter, D. (Ed.). (1985). Facet theory: Approaches to social research. New York: Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
  10. Canter, D. (1986). Putting situations in their place. In A. Furnham (Ed.), Social behaviour in context (pp. 208–239 ). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.Google Scholar
  11. Canter, D., Brown, J., & Groat, L. (1985). A multiple sorting procedure for studying conceptual systems. In M. Brenner, J. Brown, & D. Canter (Eds.), The research interview (pp. 79–113 ). London: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  12. Canter, D., & Lee, K. H. (1975). A non-reactive study of room usage in modern Japanese apartments. In D. Canter & T. Lee (Eds.), Psychology and the built environment (pp. 48–55 ). London: Architectural Press.Google Scholar
  13. Canter, D., & Rees, K. (1982). A multivariate model of housing satisfaction. International Review of Applied Psychology, 31, 185–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Donald, I. (1983). The multivariate structure of office evaluations. Unpublished M.Sc. thesis, University of Surrey, Guildford, England.Google Scholar
  15. Donald, I. (1985). The cylindrex of place evaluation. In D. Canter (Ed.), Facet theory: Approaches to social research (pp. 173–201 ). New York: Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
  16. Fishwick, L., & Vining, J. (1992). Towards a phenomenology of recreation place. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 12, 57–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Girouard, M. (1978). Life in the English country house: A social and architectural history. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Girouard, M. (1985). Cities and people. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Girouard, M. (1990). The English town. New Haven CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Giuliani, M. V., Bove, G., & Rullo, G. (1993). The spatial organization of the domestic interior: The Italian home. In E. G. Arias (Ed.), The meaning and use of housing. Aldershot, England: Avebury.Google Scholar
  21. Gombrich, E. H. (1950). The story of art. London: Phaidon.Google Scholar
  22. Jencks, C. (1982). Current architecture. London: Academy Editions.Google Scholar
  23. Kenny, C., & Canter, D. (1981). A facet structure for nurses’ evaluations of ward designs. Journal of Occupational Psychology, 54, 93–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Marans, R. W., & Spreckelmeyer, K. (1981). Evaluating built environments: A behavioral approach. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, Institute for Social Research and Architectural Research Laboratory.Google Scholar
  25. Markus, T. A. (Ed.). (1982). Order in space and society: Architectural form and its context in the Scottish Enlightenment. Edinburgh, Scotland: Mainstream.Google Scholar
  26. Markus, T. A. (1987). Buildings as classifying devices. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 14, 467–484.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Moore, G. T. (1987). Environment and behavior research in North America: History, developments, and unresolved issues. In D. Stokols & I. Altman (Eds.), Handbook of environmental psychology (Vol. 2, pp. 1359–1410 ). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  28. Omotayo, F. B. (1988). A cross-cultural comparison of space use in Hausa, Ibo, and Yoruba families of Nigeria. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of Surrey, Guildford, England.Google Scholar
  29. Proshansky, H. M., Fabian, A. K., & Kaminoff, R. (1983). Place identity: Physical world socialization of the self. Journal of Environmental Psychology,3, 57–83.Google Scholar
  30. Rapoport, A. (1982). The meaning of the built environment: A nonverbal communication approach. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  31. Relph, E. (1976). Place and placelessness. London: Pion.Google Scholar
  32. Saegert, S., & Winkel, G. H. (1990). Environmental psychology. Annual Review of Psychology, 41, 441–477.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Seamon, D. (1987). Phenomenology and environment-behavior research. In E. H. Zube & G. T. Moore (Eds.), Advances in environment, behavior, and design, Volume 1 (pp. 3–28 ). New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
  34. Seamon, D., & Mugerauer, R. (1985). Dwelling, place, and environment: Towards a phenomenology of person and world. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff.Google Scholar
  35. Shields, R. (1991). Places on the margin: Alternative geographies of modernity. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  36. Shye, S. (Ed.). (1978). Theory construction and data analysis in the behavioral sciences. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  37. Shye, S. (1985). Multiple scaling: The theory and application of Partial Order Scalogram Analysis. Amsterdam: North-Holland.Google Scholar
  38. Sixsmith, J. (1983). Comment on the “Phenomenological contribution to environmental psychology.” Journal of Environmental Psychology, 3, 109–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Stea, D., & Turan, M. (1990). A statement on placemaking. In M. Turan (Ed.), Vernacular architecture (pp. 102–121 ). Aldershot, England: Avebury.Google Scholar
  40. Tagg, S. (1974). The subjective meaning of rooms. In D. Canter & T. R. Lee (Eds.), Psychology and the built environment (pp. 65–70 ). London: Architectural Press.Google Scholar
  41. Wilson, M. A., & Canter, D. V. (1990). The development of central concepts during professional education: An example of a multivariate model of the concept of architectural style. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 39 (4), 431–455.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Wineman, S. (Ed.). (1985). Behavioral issues in office design. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.Google Scholar
  43. Winett, R. A. (1987). Empiricist-positivist theories of environment and behavior: New directions for multilevel frameworks. In E. H. Zube &G. T. Moore (Eds.), Advances in environment, behavior, and design (Vol. 1, pp. 30–58 ). New York: Plenum.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Canter
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of LiverpoolLiverpoolEngland

Personalised recommendations