Adrian Young

Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Robert Ricketts

Second Advisor

Jeremy Szteiter


As a positive psychology practitioner and residential planner, I divide energy and effort into two distinct fields; one focused on human welfare and the other on optimal aesthetics and functionality of our physical surroundings. This text explores a philosophical shift in motivation for space design prompted by the experience and new potential that result from COVID-19. Rather than space as a means to epitomize style and serve utility, I urge considering the full complexity of the human experience and what would be most conducive to general well-being as a new leading priority. What influence can environmental design bring to generalized well-being? The paper reviews the intersecting potential of positive psychology within environmental psychology principles using social impact as the governing focus. The essay examines which conditions would be needed to invert our approach to the spatial environment and create a living feedback loop promoting greater human thriving —collaboration, creativity, and contribution as the supportive scaffold. I look at the influencing fields that will contribute to the post-COVID-19 reality of space design and future social norms that will affect social well-being, including social artistry, design thinking, environmental psychology, creative practice, and community impact. Finally, I conclude with a potential first step: a future space proposal bridging social well-being and space design as a community of practice situated in a physical environment.