I’ve submitted an abstract for Green Cities 2014. Hopefully it will be accepted to the program - I’m keen to try a TED-style 8-10 minute spot, which is not really a format I’ve spoken in before.
The abstract is based on an idea that’s been bubbling away in my brain for a while now. I’m keen to share it with a Green Star savvy audience and get some feedback. I must admit that I am not the first to draw this link – Bell et al (fellow QUT alumni) made the connection back in 2003 and it’s their paper that got me started down this path.
Here is the abstract:
Assessing Indoor Environment Quality via Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
Assessing the myriad dimensions of a building’s sustainability via point-scoring in rating tools like Green Star is a tricky process, to say the least. How does one objectively quantify the relative benefits of such dissimilar initiatives as, say, native landscape plantings to small car parking spaces? This difficulty is exacerbated in the area of Indoor Environment Quality, where many of the benefits may be either intangible or practically immeasurable.
One possible approach for the next generation of rating tools is to apply the concept of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to the indoor environment.
In brief, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (or theory of human motivation) posits that humans will seek to fulfil firstly their most basic physical and social needs; and having done so will seek to fulfil progressively higher and more abstract needs. Maslow’s Hierarchy is expressed as:
- Physiological needs;
- Safety needs;
- Love (social) needs;
- Esteem needs;
- Need for self-actualisation.
This Hierarchy may serve as a framework for considering the merits of an indoor environment, though some interpretation is needed to ‘map’ Maslow’s Hierarchy onto IEQ outcomes. One such mapping might be:
- Eliminate health & safety hazards;
- Eliminate performance impediments;
- Eliminate most discomfort;
- Provide universal comfort;
- Support positive health & social outcomes;
- Support enjoyment, happiness, and accomplishment.
An argument for this approach is presented, and contrasted with an alternative, productivity-based, approach. A hypothetical assessment based on the Hierarchy is presented.
Green Cities will be held in Melbourne from 18-19 March 2014. Submission of abstracts, and early-bird registrations, are open until Friday 16th August 2013.