- Institute of Cognitive Science
- Department of Computer Science
- breckenridge intro slides
- #2010 (no title)
- Research Grants
- About L3D
Stories abound about how creative people¬†believe that the aspects of their settings ‚ÄĒ including the spaces they¬†inhabit¬†along with the tools and materials they use ‚ÄĒ are important to their creative¬†process. Anecdotes relay¬†how Immanuel Kant felt he¬†needed the church steeple view from his bedroom window to be creative, Proust¬†preferred to work in a cork-lined room, and Rudyard Kipling would only write¬†with obsidian black ink.¬†Despite the¬†appearance of idiosyncratic¬†behavior commonly associated with creative people, these stories suggest that¬†an¬†individual‚Äôs creative process may be intrinsically linked with the physical¬†setting. This hypothesis has informed¬†the design of buildings and the planning¬†policies of cities, yet there is little evidence that such design strategies¬†are based on more than anecdotal evidence or substantiated by post occupancy¬†analysis. Specifically, there is¬†little indication that empirical findings from¬†the psychology of creativity literature have been meaningfully¬†integrated into¬†architectural designs and urban plans. Conversely, the creativity literature¬†also largely ignores the¬†role of physical settings in creativity, focusing¬†primarily on either the mental processes of creativity or its social¬†context. As product designers, interior designers,¬†architects, and city planners spend considerable time and¬†money designing¬†artifacts of the physical environment to foster human creativity, they do so¬†with no common¬†theory to guide such practice.
My goal is to begin to address this gap in¬†the creativity literature by developing a functional theory about the role¬†of¬†the designed environment in people‚Äôs creative processes.¬†In contrast to normative theory, which focuses on¬†design¬†principles often associated with aesthetics and stylistic trends, functional¬†theory is based on empirical¬†knowledge and focuses on the principles of¬†environmental experience and the relationship between users and¬†their¬†environments. A functional theory about the role of the designed environment in¬†creativity is intended to¬†organize knowledge about person‚Äďenvironment¬†relationships during creativity in a framework that is useful and¬†appropriate¬†for informing environmental design strategies.
In this presentation I will defend¬†a hypothesis that creativity is a physically situated process (e.g. embodied¬†and¬†embedded) by presenting three creative contributions:
First¬†I will identify the different situated modes of creativity and describe the¬†relationship between them¬†through a multi-modal process model that describes creativity¬†as a situated practice.¬†The model is derived¬†from an¬†analysis of existing creative process models and uses as its starting point¬†Csikszentmihalyi‚Äôs¬†(1990)¬†work on creative flow and Sch√∂n‚Äôs¬†(1983)¬†theory of reflective practice. It is used to identify the ways¬†that features of the designed environment (from tools to cities) become part of¬†people‚Äôs creative¬†processes.
Next I will¬†illustrate¬†how people use features of the designed¬†environment to engender, sustain, and inhibit¬†different modes of creativity. I¬†will present a theoretical framework, grounded in¬†Gibson‚Äôs affordance¬†theory, which describes these relationships.
Finally¬†I will describe the implications the framework has for the design of settings¬†to support creativity¬†through the concept of¬†Rich Environments.
Laura Malinin is a licensed¬†architect and instructor in the College of Architecture and Planning at the¬†University of Colorado where she is also pursuing a joint PhD in Cognitive¬†Science and Design and Planning.¬†Her areas of interest include cognitive¬†studies of creativity and design processes; visual-spatial¬†representation and¬†reasoning; architecture and cognition, human/ social factors and the¬†environment, and¬†technology-supported environments for collaborative¬†design/social creativity. Laura holds a MEd from the¬†University of Texas and BA¬†in Architecture/ Art and Art History from Rice University. Prior to working at¬†the University of Colorado, she was a Design Architect/ Project Manager with¬†two Houston architectural¬†firms and has had her own practice since 1990. Laura¬†previously taught at Houston Community College¬†and the Art Institute of Houston¬†and developed the curriculum for a public high school architectural¬†program in¬†Texas.