Affordance, Enaction & Awareness


Innovative research and concepts from cognitive approaches are not only challenging the way we should tackle the relation among humans and with the built environment, but  are also providing points of connection for a better integration of all the diverse relevant disciplines. Many questions apply: how do we imagine and conceive space?, how do we find our way and navigate the built environment and the landscape?, how do we engage with the pressures of life in cities?, what can we say about the spatial and social aspects of a territory from observing behaviours, attitudes or emotions at the individual level? Or, even, how do we plan and design a building or a city?

Participants will profit from lectures and research workshops with highly renowned researchers. Barbara Tversky is a leading authority in the areas of visual-spatial reasoning and collaborative cognition. Juval Portugali integrates complexity and self-organization theories, environmental-spatial cognition, urban dynamics and planning in modern and ancient periods. Giovanna Colombetti is a philosopher of cognitive science. In her work she draws on philosophy, as well as theoretical and experimental work in psychology and neuroscience. Jacques Lévy is a geographer and an urbanist. His major concerns are social theory of space, urbanity, globalization, cartography, and the epistemology of social sciences. Mathis Stock’s research focuses on the notions of dwelling and spatial mobility in contemporary societies. He is especially interested in the spatial practices. Christoph Hölscher conducts research on spatial navigation in complex environments, providing insights into cognitive processes of design thinking and creativity.

Participants in the summer school do hands-on work in interactive workshops, profit from personalized and direct contact with world-renown scholars and researchers, develop teamwork transversal skills and improve their writing of interdisciplinary research projects.

Keywords : Spatial cognition; Spatial navigation; Perception of self; Affordance; Urban life; Planning; Complexity; Agency; Proxemics; Mental Mapping; Perception; Emotions; Landscape


Additional informations :


Date : 20th to 24th June 2016.

Institutions : EPFL Lausanne / ETH Zürich

Organization : Dario Negueruela del Castillo with the support of ETH Board, Conférence Universitaire de Suisse Occidentale, ETHZ and EPFL.


Collaborators : Prof. Barbara Tversky (Columbia), Prof. Juval Portugali (Tel-Aviv), Prof. Jacques Lévy (EPFL), Prof.Christoph Hölscher (ETHZ), and Prof. Giovanna Colombetti (Exeter)