WEST ORANGE, NJ - Prominent West Orange social psychologist Dr. Mindy Thompson Fullilove has been named an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects. Despite the seeming disparate nature of architecture and social psychology, Dr. Fullilove's pioneering work, which has advanced architecture and urban planning, has helped architects form a broader understanding of the dynamic between the planning of cities and the health of its citizens.

Dr. Mindy Thompson Fullilove, Hon. AIA

Dr. Fullilove is a pioneer in the field of social psychology who has advanced architecture and urban planning through her expansive knowledge of cities and the relationship between the built environment and the wellness of society. As a global advocate for humane and holistic design, Dr. Fullilove has helped architects form a broader understanding of the dynamic between the planning of cities and the health of its citizens.

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It is a rare event when an individual can effortlessly bridge two seemingly disparate fields of study, but Dr. Fullilove’s groundbreaking research has helped shift the principals of practice for both architecture and psychology. Dr. Fullilove began her career by studying the ways in which H.I.V. and AIDS spread in vulnerable communities. After the realization that the epidemic was largely tied to neighborhood form and history, she shifted the focus of her work to study how the development of American cities has played a role in promoting society’s ills. Her work since has illuminated the way in which harsh urban environments create lasting detrimental effects on entire communities, and she’s measured the post-traumatic stress that arises when well-intentioned planning uproots communities and disrupts long-standing patterns of life. More importantly, she’s also incredibly concerned with how to fix those issues.

Dr. Fullilove’s has never shied from confronting uncomfortable truths and her seminal books, Root Shock: How Tearing up City Neighborhoods Hurts America, and What we Can do About it and Urban Alchemy: Restoring Joy in America’s Sorted-Out Cities challenge long-held notions and have reframed the way in which practitioners direct their interventions.

Through her service as the 2015 AIA National Board of Director’s Public Director and a member of the Strategic Council, Dr. Fullilove has provided a clear voice and unwavering moral compass that has steered the direction of the institute’s repositioning efforts. She’s encouraged new thinking on policy issues to repair social voids and called on architects and leaders to embrace their unique ability to shape the physical environment and commit themselves to the ideals of social justice and equitable development.

Additionally, Dr. Fullilove has promoted community emotional recovery in the aftermaths of devastating events, such as 9/11 and Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. She’s been recognized with a number of awards from the National Academy of Sciences, honorary membership in AIA New York, and was profiled this summer in the New York Times Magazine.

Both the profession and the AIA have already greatly benefited from Dr. Fullilove’s research and voice, and architects still have a great deal to learn from her vision, and commitment to excellence.