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Mission Statement

What is Moving Boundaries?

“Every organism is in one sense continuous with its environment across the boundary of its skin, exchanging matter and energy.”



– James Gibson

Our buildings, neighborhoods, and cities directly impact our health and well-being. This basic fact is appreciated increasingly across the full range of professions involved in the design and maintenance of the built environment. At the same time, we know little about how the relationship between people and environments works in detail: how exactly our experience and behavior, our emotions and engagement in the community, are all shaped by the built environment.

A number of scientific disciplines have been called to help us fill this gap. Most notably, they include the disciplines allied under the umbrellas of neuroscience and cognitive science. Encounters between scientists and design professionals produce an exciting new frontier of human knowledge; they lead to a new understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the designer. 

Moving Boundaries is an international and interdisciplinary initiative seeking to disseminate this new understanding by means of education and advocacy. The initiative operates at the interface of the just mentioned scientific disciplines and such design disciplines as architecture, urban planning, landscape architecture, and interior design. Based in San Diego and La Jolla, California, which is the home of the venerable Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture (ANFA), connected by an active network of collaborations with kindred schools of design around the world, Moving Boundaries is poised to curate a global community of students, professionals, and organizations that share our vision and values.

The 2023 winter course and workshop, titled “Moving Boundaries: Human Sciences and the Future of Architecture”, brings together a cadre of distinguished international speakers: scientists and architects, historians and philosophers, who will illuminate the many facets of the impact of the built environment on human
health and well-being. 


We selected Venice (and Umbria) as locations of the 2023 winter course because one of our goals is to investigate how effects of the built environment are grounded in the local culture and history of the place. The course will focus on the unique atmospheres of the region, home of some of the works by architect Carlo Scarpa. In addition to lectures and masterclasses, the course will feature field trips, sketching sessions and workshops, in which we will uncover the rich cultural heritage of the region, illustrating the sustainable and resilient relationships between the person, the community, and the place.

Over its two weeks, the program will provide each participant with numerous opportunities to interact with some of the best minds in architecture, urban design, philosophy and science — during classes, roundtable discussions, tours and workshops — but also during many social events. We will learn together, from one another and from the unique environment of this course, gaining the strength for transforming architectural education and practice the world over.

In its larger aspirations, Moving Boundaries is designed to serve as a platform for collaboration between educators and scientists, practitioners and students of architecture, as well as with institutions of design, research and learning, animated by ideas and creations of such notable architects as Richard Neutra, Frank Lloyd
Wright, Álvaro Siza Vieira, Louis Kahn, Alvar Aalto, Carlo Scarpa, Luis Barragán, Balkrishna Doshi and Juhani Pallasmaa. The collective legacy of these individuals demands that we view design from an uncompromisingly humanistic perspective, committed to personal flourishing, and centered on the individual’s physical health and psychological wellness.

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