Places of the Heart by Colin Ellard

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Finished books available


North America: Bellevue Literary Press, Sep 2015
China (mainland): Jiangsu Education Publishing House
Germany: Btb/Random House
Korea: Gilbut Publishing Company
Poland: Grupa Sztuka Architektury
Portugal: Bertrand
Russia: Alpina
Spain: Ariel
Latin American Spanish: Ediciones B Mexico


Colin Ellard (Photo: Diana Fleming)
(Photo: Diana Fleming)

An experimental psychologist at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, Colin Ellard's main interests are in animal behaviour, cognitive mapping, human navigation, neuroscience, urban planning, and environmentalism. His research in most of these areas has been supported by funds from national granting agencies and published in international scientific journals for more than twenty years. He has travelled widely for both research and pleasure, and has worked at several universities both in Canada and abroad. This is his second book aimed at a general audience.


Places of the Heart - Portuguese edition

Places of the Heart - German mass market edition

Places of the Heart
The Psychogeography of Everyday Life

by Colin Ellard


Places of the Heart cover

How does the organization of a workplace influence our feelings of well-being and productivity?

Why is it that some of us can’t wait to get home after work, while others dread the thought of home, no matter how much we enjoy the other people in it?

Why does our craving for certain neighborhoods send their property values sky high while other neighborhoods become desolate wastelands?

Psychogeography shows us how strongly our surroundings influence our feelings and our emotions.

Each chapter of Places of the Heart shows us how one type of space affects us emotionally, and how modern technology is altering this interaction. We discover that:

  • The balance between surveillance and privacy is a strong predictor of emotions; this balance is manipulated deliberately in places such as prisons.Places of the Heart - Spanish cover
  • Environments will soon be personalized so that they respond to your emotional state.
  • Nature is restorative, but simulated natural environments can be as restorative as real ones.
  • Places that inspire awe do so by evoking the notion of significance, and they produce positive changes in behaviour as a result.
  • Now that so much of our public sharing takes place over the airwaves rather than in real space, the rules of design are changing entirely.
  • There are simple tools for measuring your personal psychogeography.
  • Our environments are transforming from passive spaces in which we act out our existence to active participants in it.



Places of the Heart - Mexican Edition

“Aren’t architects and urban planners trained to design buildings and cities? Why should a psychologist have a say in this? Because Ellard brings tools to the design board that should help ensure more positive responses to urban environment, from a mundane alleyway to an awe-inspiring cathedral or city hall. . . . Places of the Heart should stimulate debate about how our cities are shaped and how they shape us.” — WATERLOO REGION RECORD

“A really great book.” — SCIENCE FRIDAY

“Wide-ranging and absorbing. . . . Powerfully and comprehensively written. . . . An exceptional introduction to a vital part of the human experience.” — COLORADO REVIEW

“From Neolithic monuments that awe to ‘playground casinos’ that empty wallets, Ellard argues that a scientific understanding of how our surroundings affect us must be the foundation on which we build the cities and homes of tomorrow.” — DISCOVER MAGAZINE

“A great read.” — RUDY MAXA

Places of the Heart - French cover

“Impressively written and exceptionally well organized, Places of the Heart: The Psychogeography of Everyday Life is as informed and informative as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking. Very highly recommended for the non-specialist general reader with an interest in the science of the brain and how it functions.” — THE MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW

“Wide-ranging and absorbing … powerfully and comprehensively written.” — CENTER FOR LITERARY PUBLISHING

“From Stonehenge to the African savannah, the book is filled with stories both personal and professional that offer profound lessons about the psychology of places…Ellard is most compelling when describing his own experiments and their results, producing gems that will help architects and urban planners in their everyday practice.” — SPACING MAGAZINE

“Meshing recent findings with thoughtful appraisals of their implications, Ellard looks at spaces and the awe, lust, boredom, affection or anxiety that they trigger. He is richly insightful, particularly on digital encroachments into the experience of place.” — NATURE

“He manages to write in a register that is both explicatory for a mass audience and nerdy enough for those familiar with the fields he glosses. Ellard’s greatest talent lies in sketching the contours of complex issues without overlooking their rough edges.” — QUILL & QUIRE

“Ellard breaks down psychological and neurological information in an accessible way … Highly recommended.” — BOOK RIOT

“This beautifully written book grabs the reader from the start, with personal stories from the author’s life interwoven with history, archeology, technology, and design.” — ESTHER M. STERNBERG M.D., author of Healing Spaces

“If you care about your city and your happiness, read every page of this fascinating book. Places of the Heart offers a thrilling journey through the pathways of our cities and the human mind. This is no flight of fancy. It's an evidence-based exploration of how the places we inhabit change our minds and bodies. Colin Ellard is one of the world's foremost thinkers on the neuroscience of urban design. Here he offers an entirely new way to understand our cities – and ourselves.” — CHARLES MONTGOMERY, author of Happy City


Author Colin Ellard giving psychogeographic tours of the streets of Moscow (July 2019)
psychogeographic tours (Russia) psychogeographic tours (Russia)




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