“A person can never walk on the same street twice. People recreate their city every time they experience it” – Nick Tyler, Neuroscience for cities 

Through the last few years, we have collected big data from every imaginable digital field. Data-driven design can be defined as a decision-making approach to the design process that heavily relies on collecting data about people’s behavior and attitude.

In order to measure how people experience urban space and as a consequence how they behave inside of it,  we need to understand the way they think, and how their brain functions. This is where neuroscience can help with the making of cities: understanding how people from a wide variety of perspectives can create their individual-yet-collective life in cities. With neuroscience we can discover how to help people respond to their sensorial perceptions so that this ecosystem can really work for them. 

One important aspect of our life in the cities is User Experience. User Experience is how a user interacts with and experiences a space. It includes a person’s perceptions of utility, ease of use, and efficiency. User experience is subjective but the attributes that make it up are objective. We can learn more about user experience by exploring the way we perceive our environments


This is a picture made by Arina Novikova, Juan Pablo Pintado Miranda and Stephania-Maria Kousoula for Theory of Cities in the Master in City and Technology 2020/21


Humans create cities based on their activities, while the city facilitates and limits our activities and behaviors. According to researchers from different scientific fields, buildings and cities have an impact upon the people – from physical to mental health, cognitive development and wellbeing to their levels of productivity. 

Neuroscience and neurotechnology can offer us new ways to explore this impact, by helping urban professionals to create places that promote urban health and wellbeing, while mitigating the negative impacts of the city environment as far as possible. 

In addition to this, new emerging digital technologies are offering us tools to work on bigger datasets. And for the first time in history many professionals from distinguishable disciplines are collaborating with the same objectives, working on new tools and new methodologies. 

“With Neuroscience we can have a data-driven and data centered approach in design because what you are measuring is human data. However, we may have to come up with a new term (ss. Rather than Human-Centered) to describe a process where we capture data and people and the system makes decisions. We need to have a new, human-system-oriented, data-driven and common decision framework; a new archipelago”

NEURO·D3 is a project of IAAC, Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia developed at Master in City and Technology in 2020/21 by students: Arina Novikova, Juan Pablo Pintado Miranda and Stephania-Maria Kousoula and faculty: Mathilde Marengo