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Swedish Area Group in Environmental Psychology – SAGEP

The Swedish Area Group in Environmental Psychology consists of researchers from Sweden and other countries with a common concern for psychological aspects of human-environment relations.

They come from a variety of fields in addition to psychology, including architecture, landscape architecture, environmental science, urban horticulture, and health care. They recognize that diverse actors have a common need for staying up-to-date on theory and methods in environmental psychology. Current research covers for example strategies for the promotion of a wide range of pro-environmental behaviours, public acceptance of renewable energy sources and energy efficient technology, the ecological and psychosocial tradeoffs with increased residential densities in large cities, harmful effects of traffic noise, the design of transportation management strategies, and the design of environments facilitating human restoration and well-being.

The primary activity of the Area Group is the annual meeting. The meeting is typically well-attended by senior researchers, but with most of the presentations given by PhD students. The meeting is meant to provide an informal and supportive setting in which younger researchers can acquire experience and confidence in exercising their professional skills.

In their work, members of the Area Group address practical needs in Sweden and elsewhere, while also making theoretical and empirical contributions to national and international research literatures.

Group members have done research on a wide range of pressing topics. Examples of topics addressed by members in recent years include:

  • public acceptance of renewable energy sources and energy efficient technology
  • public acceptance of policies regarding large carnivores
  • strategies for the promotion of recycling and other pro-environmental behaviours
  • effects of noise in classrooms on cognitive capabilities
  • public acceptance of wind power and other energy sources
  • the ecological and psychosocial trade-offs with increased residential densities in large cities
  • effects of community noise on health, the design of transportation management strategies
  • psychological benefits of contact with nature
  • the effects of workplace environmental characteristics on the performance of work-tasks

Evident in this list of topics and the Swedish research more generally are the dual intentions of understanding the effects of physical environments on people and understanding the effects of people on environments. These core concerns of environmental psychology overlap with the concerns of various environmental professions, and this explains why the Area Group has always had an interdisciplinary character.

Members of the Area Group come from several academic and professional disciplines in addition to psychology. A complete list cannot be given here, but architecture and landscape architecture deserve special mention, given the particularly important role that representatives of those disciplines have played over the years. Urban horticulture, environmental medicine, ecology, nursing, medicine and numerous other disciplines have also been represented over the years.

The Area Group in Environmental Psychology was established in 1985 by leading members of the first generation of Swedish environmental psychologists, including Tommy Gärling, Rikard Küller, Birgitta Berglund, Staffan Hygge, Anders Kjellberg, Lars Sivik, and Gunnar Sorte.

The group has held annual meetings from the start, rotating among the main centers as follows: Stockholm (1985, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1999, 2004, 2008); Gothenburg (1987, 1992, 1996, 2001, 2005, 2009); Lund (1988, 1993, 1997, 2002, 2006, 2010); Umeå (1989); and Gävle (1991, 1995, 2000, 2003, 2007, 2011). 

The Area Group has had two previous chairs: Tommy Gärling (1985-2002), the founding chair, and his successor, Terry Hartig (2003-2010), Maria Johansson 2010-2012, Cecilia Bergstad Jacobsson 2013-. 

Over the initial years of its existence, meetings of the Area Group were sponsored by the Swedish Council for Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSFR). In recent years, support for the meetings has come from the Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning (FORMAS).

Cecilia Jakobsson Bergstad (chair person)

Department of Psychology 
University of Gothenburg 

Aslak Fyhri

Department of Safety and Environment
Institute of Transport Economics (TØ)
Norwegian Centre for Transport Research – Oslo

Website of the Institute of Transport Economics

Terry Hartig

Institute for Housing and Urban Research and Department of Psychology
Uppsala University

Caroline Hägerhäll

Department of Work Science, Business Economics and Environmental Psychology
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Research in environmental psychology -

Maria Johansson

Environmental Psychology Research Group
Department of Architecture and Built Environment
Lund University

Website of the Environmental Psychology Research Group at Lund University

Mats E. Nilsson

Gösta Ekman Laboratory
Department of Psychology
Stockholm University

Facebook page of the Gösta Ekman Laboratory 
Overview of research groups at the Department of Psychology at Stockholm University (in Swedish)

Annika Nordlund

Department of Psychology
Transportation Research Unit (TRUM)
Umeå University
Annika Nordlund's profile on Umeå University's website

Lars E. Olsson

The Service and Market Oriented Transport Research Group (SAMOT)
Service Research Center (CTF)
Department of Social and Psychological Studies
Karlstad University

Website of the Service and Market Oriented Transport Research Group (SAMOT) at Karlstad University
Website of the Service Research Center (CTF) at Karlstad University

Patrik Sörqvist

Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering
University of Gävle

Patrik Sörqvist's profile on the website of the University of Gävle

Kerstin Weimer

Environmental Psychology Research Group
Department of Psychology
Mid Sweden University
Campus Östersund

Website of Mid Sweden University

Page Manager: | 2022-11-08