Both in Sweden and in the Anglo-Saxon countries, environmental psychology was originally called architectural psychology, and the subject can be said to have grown out of the interface between architecture and psychology. One of the first doctoral theses by an architect in Sweden, Sven Hesselgren’s study of architectural expressions from 1954, was a compilation of psychological knowledge about people’s perceptions. In the 1960s, architects and psychologists started to collaborate, particularly in the UK, Sweden and the US. Such interdisciplinary projects were presented at architectural psychology conferences, which subsequently became formalised in international scientific associations, and journals focusing on environmental psychology started to appear.
From an early stage, environmental/architectural psychology gained a strong foothold in Sweden. In 1967, the first Swedish conference was held at the Department of Architecture in Lund, and two years lager a scientific society was formed to arrange recurring symposia. In 1973, an international conference was arranged in Lund, with participants from 13 countries. Internationalisation in the 1970s resulted in the formation in 1981 of the International Association for People-Environment Studies, IAPS. The first president was Rikard Küller, Lund.
In the 1980s, a fixed-term professorial chair was established in environmental psychology, and the holder of this position went on to become professor in perception and psychophysics at Stockholm University. A researcher with specialisation in environmental psychology became professor in general psychology at the University of Gothenburg in 1992. The first permanent professor in the subject was appointed at Lund University in 1998. This was followed four years later by the appointment of a professor at the University of Gävle. Today, environmental psychology research with various specialisations is carried out at most universities and university colleges in Sweden.
In May 2014, Maria Johansson and Thorbjörn Laike were appointed professors in environmental psychology at the Department of Architecture and the Built Environment, Faculty of Engineering, LTH, Lund University.